Washington, DC—Hal C. Lawrence, III, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), released the following statement regarding recent research showing the value of access to family planning clinics:
"As the medical society representing women's health physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists certainly recognizes the value of contraception to women and the importance of access to contraception to a woman's well-being.
"As an evidence-based organization, ACOG welcomes data that helps to quantify that value. The recent study by Texas researchers published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrates that access to long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) and availability of Planned Parenthood clinic services have a real impact on women's lives.
"We know that Planned Parenthood clinics provide important services to women, including access to effective birth control; that many of the women who use Planned Parenthood are otherwise underserved; and that our health care system is not equipped to simply replace Planned Parenthood clinics with other providers.
"It's not a surprise that reduced access to LARC methods is associated with an increase in childbirth. These birth control methods are among the most effective ways of preventing unplanned pregnancy. Excluding qualified clinics from being able to provide LARC and other birth control methods can make family planning inaccessible for many low income women, inevitably driving up rates of unintended pregnancies, with all their attendant costs and concerns.
"This study is evidence that halting government reimbursement of health services provided by Planned Parenthood has a terrible impact on the ability of low income women to get the care that they need. Our patients need government policies that support and protect their access to care.
"Medical reimbursement decisions should be based on ensuring high quality care, not on political agendas. We thank the authors of this important study for their work in helping to demonstrate that restrictions on access to health care, including contraceptive care, ultimately hurts the patients who we are trying to help. We hope that future work in this field is not subject to the political pressures that might compromise the value of the data."
ACOG's Committee Opinion on Access to Contraception can be found here.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation's leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. www.acog.org