Established in 2007, World Contraception Day (WCD) not only raises awareness about contraception, but brings us together to talk about why contraceptive care access is important, and reflect on the impact it can have in communities and organizations. If you missed our WCD event, I encourage you to watch it here.
I founded Upstream because, time and time again, I would hear from young people about how their lives were made more challenging by unintended pregnancies. By reflecting on examples of our work in places like Delaware, I truly believe our work has an impact on people’s lives. Guttmacher 2021 data shows trends that unintended pregnancy decreased by nearly 20% in Delaware from 2014 to 2017. This decline is more than twice the average for all states included in the report. Looking back at how far we have come, and how far we still have to go, our mission is more urgent than ever before.
From our partners, we also know about the challenges involved in providing same-day, patient-centered access to the full range of contraceptive methods. It is a true pleasure to work in partnership with these health centers to assist them in providing patients with the best-in-class, non-coercive contraceptive care they deserve. This day isn’t about Upstream but about hearing and honoring stories from everyone, including our partners and staff, about why contraceptive care matters to them. I want to share a couple highlights from the webinar that really resonated with me.
“High quality, conscious care is necessary to create the success of your dream. It’s about the founding principles of our nation, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness for all people. Contraception is about women and people at risk of pregnancy and timing the number of pregnancies that they would like to have, but it’s also more than that. It’s about partners. It’s about families being able to create the life of their dreams. Contraception is essential to the success of our nation. It helps people share their talents, so as individuals, we feel fulfilled and happy.” – Dr. Emily Godfrey, CLC Member, Located in WA
“I did not know this when I first started working in women’s reproductive health, but contraception access was something I actually truly did care about and I found that it was one of my core values. I’ve been working in reproductive healthcare for over a decade now. I worked as a front desk health care assistant, also as a medical assistant doing that actual direct patient centered care, and I loved it. I literally saw how in a five-minute conversation somebody can get something they need, and their life changes. Everybody deserves this!” – Felicia Hernandez, Upstream USA
“I keep coming back to the contraceptives idea, as revolutionary as it may seem for some, that we are not empty vessels waiting to become impregnated. We are people who have hopes, dreams and aspirations. Contraceptive access is an important piece that helps us reach those goals whether they be to delay pregnancy for a period of time or over the course of a lifetime.” – Stephanie Avila, Providence Community Health Center.
“I share my experiences today, because ultimately this is the kind of decision that I want all women and patients to have and it’s not one that many people have the privilege of having. But through the work at Upstream, I have seen the difference that our healthcare center partners can make in patients’ lives, and that patients can also decide how they want to shift their life. This is why I’m so passionate about contraceptive care and contraceptive access. This is why I do what I do!” – Ellen Freeman, Upstream USA
The stories and thoughts shared during our WCD event are a poignant reminder of why the work of ensuring equitable access and contraceptive care matters and the impact it can have on our communities. I am forever grateful to the primary care providers for being part of the ecosystem that offers contraceptive care, all while still meeting the demands of COVID. We are humbled and grateful to be able to partner with these agencies to ensure they can meet their patients’ contraceptive needs.