Last week, the Tri-City Herald ran an op-ed by Sue Birch, Health Care Authority Director and Upstream Washington Advisory Committee member, arguing that a global pandemic doesn’t change the need for access to birth control services. In fact, providing convenient, streamlined access to birth control is more important than ever.
Recent data illustrates what many on the ground already know: access to reproductive healthcare is not equal, and those patients who have historically faced challenges in access face heightened barriers in the midst of a pandemic.
This study from the Guttmacher Institute shows that a third of women have had to delay or cancel their visits for reproductive healthcare, including birth control. These numbers are even higher for women of color. Washingtonians deserve reproductive healthcare that prioritizes patient autonomy and choice. As Director Birch states:
“Choices about pregnancy are some of the most significant healthcare decisions women make, and access to contraception should not be a barrier in that process. As we face the most significant public health crisis of our lifetime, we must continue to close the gaps and disparities that exist in reproductive care. As healthcare providers, we must keep our doors open–whether that’s physically or virtually–and prioritize reproductive health.”
Thank you to frontline workers and our Upstream partners working to ensure that the pandemic doesn’t get in the way of patients receiving essential healthcare. And thank you, Sue, for sharing this important message!