Special contribution in the Austin American Statesmen on Border Contraception Access Project.

September 2010

September 3, 2010 – Ibis Senior Associate Dr. Daniel Grossman and colleague Dr. Joseph Potter from the University of Texas lament the limits of the new health care reform law which does not extend coverage, including contraception, to unauthorized or recent immigrants in a special contribution to the Austin American Statesmen. They write in response to recent press coverage of a report showing a relatively high birth rate among unauthorized immigrants; this trend has been characterized as an effort for “anchor children” who can help their chances of becoming legal residents. Grossman and Potter point out that it is worthwhile to look at research evidence which shows a high proportion of unwanted pregnancies among immigrant populations, and to consider the barriers to access to contraception which contribute to this outcome. Ibis and the University of Texas recently published research in the American Journal of Public Health examining experiences obtaining contraception among women living on the US-Mexico border. The main focus of the research was to compare women who obtain oral contraception at clinics in the US and those who obtain their pills at pharmacies in Mexico. However, a surprising finding from the study was that over half of all women surveyed, and more than 60% of Latina pill users, wanted no more children and would rather be sterilized than take oral contraceptives. Potter and Grossman point out that many women are denied access to this highly effective and cost-effective birth control method because they do not have insurance to cover the procedure. Learn more about this research here.