Women need access to a range of effective contraceptives so they can choose the method that works best for them. But globally over 222 million women have an unmet need for contraception. In many developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, effective contraceptive method use remains low, myths about the side effects or health risks of contraception are pervasive, and women have access to a limited range of methods. In the United States, the Affordable Care Act has the potential to expand women’s access to more methods, but not all women will be able to reap the benefits of the new law. In addition, many women do not know about all of the methods, and current guidelines and clinical practice do not reflect the best evidence about eligibility and provision.
Our priority areas of work include coordination of the effort to move oral contraceptives (OCs) over the counter (OTC) in the United States, and targeted research to increase access to a wide range of contraceptive methods in family planning services and programs. We recently began working in Uganda to examine the impact of contraceptive stockouts. We are also exploring new ways to address barriers to accessing long-acting and permanent contraceptive methods.