This collection examines issues related to reproductive health, including the legality of reproductive services (reproductive rights), access to those services (reproductive health), and how societal factors such as race or social status impact access to and decisions about reproductive health (reproductive justice). This includes everything from contraception and comprehensive sex education, to abortion and pre-natal and pregnancy care, as well as other issues that inform a person’s full reproductive autonomy. This special collection brings together knowledge and insights from organizations addressing reproductive health related issues and explores the impact foundations and nonprofits are having on this work.

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Behind the Counter: Findings from the 2022 Oral Contraceptives Access Survey

September 26, 2022

Over the Summer of 2022, Advocates for Youth surveyed 243 people from 43 different states about their experiences trying to access birth control pills as young people and young adults. The findings paint a concerning picture that we believe every policymaker should read.For the 55% of respondents who couldn't get on birth control due to the constraints of the current prescription-only system, one in five experienced an unintended pregnancy. Many more suffered unnecessary stress, lost wages, and more.It is time the United States join more than 100 countries around the world and bring The Pill over-the-counter and onto the shelves for all ages, covered by insurance. 

Women's Issues Are Community Issues: 2023 Status Report on Women and Children in Central Texas

March 8, 2023

Austin Community Foundation believes that ensuring the economic security of women and children is essential to closing the opportunity gap in Central Texas, and we know we cannot do this without addressing the racial wealth and health divide faced by women of color. In this report, we explore indicators that point to the well-being of women in Central Texas through the building blocks of economic security: child care, education, housing and women's health.

Reproductive Rights Include Bodily Autonomy for Trans and Intersex Youth

August 9, 2022

This fact sheet provides information on advocating for bodily autonomy and reproductive rights for trans and intersex youth.

Resourcing Adolescent Girls to Thrive: A report exploring where is the money for adolescent girls’ rights using an ecosystem approach

April 20, 2022

Working within feminist, women's rights movements and adolescent girls' and young feminist activism, it was evident to the research team that the funding landscape for adolescent girls is not well understood or developed. Searching for the money that flows to adolescent girls often feels like wandering a valley floor within the mountains, crossing a stream every now and then, and seeing only the features of the landscape within the immediate view. The larger picture and its interconnectedness is obscured, shrouded by the lack of clear and consistent data and tracking, like an incomplete map. Despite adolescent girls being a unique population, there is a disconnect between girls' expressed needs, and the resources flowing for their work and activism. This was corroborated by funders who resource adolescent girls from a feminist perspective and see girls as agents of change – and so this research was commissioned. It seeks to offer sensemaking of the adolescent girls' funding landscape to stimulate a conversation and reflection about how to resource adolescent girls to thrive. It does so using a feminist approach to funding adolescent girls as the way to bring about long-lasting transformation in their lives as the point of departure.Methodologies included three workshops with 31 girls (10 countries), a survey and two workshops with 13 feminist girls' funders, complemented by a literature review (49 resources), public data review of 71 actors, six data collecting entities, and 21 key informant interviews. All of the findings from these methods were then further sensemade through virtual workshops and desk reviews with nine Working Group members.

Technical Brief on Comprehensive Sexuality Education for Adolescents in Protracted Humanitarian Settings

January 10, 2022

In line with the IPPF Humanitarian Strategy 2018–2022, we present promising practices to guide IPPF Member Associations and partners in the provision of CSE, specifically when operating in protracted humanitarian crisis environments and call the humanitarian community to action to recognize and adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) needs and rights in emergency response programming.

Winning New Rights for Lactating Workers: An Advocate’s Toolkit

November 30, 2021

Most lawmakers know very little about breastfeeding and lactation, much less about the needs of lactating workers. Your involvement in the advocacy process as a breastfeeding advocate or lactation expert is critical to educating lawmakers and the public about why legal rights for lactating workers are important – for maternal and child health, health equity, family economic security, and the fair treatment of women in the workplace. This toolkit is designed to support you in your advocacy journey.This toolkit shares information, model language, and tools to aid your fight for better protections in your state, no matter where you're starting. It is our hope that this toolkit will serve you as would a good nursing bra: by giving functional support, promoting access, and uplifting you in a way that makes your hard work a little easier.

Nurturing a Healthy Dyad: The Importance of Maternal and Infant Mental Health

October 5, 2021

Mental health affects how individuals understand, respond and interact with the world around them and evidence suggests that addressing it is key to a healthy mother-child relationship. Maternal mental health can impact how mothers engage with their children, which has a lasting and profound influence on a child's development and overall health (1). During pregnancy, maternal stress can decrease the placenta's capacity and ability to protect the baby from elevated stress hormones (1). Exposure to these elevated stress hormones in utero has the potential to cause issues throughout the lifecourse,including difficulties in learning and developing healthy relationships (2). Parents or caregivers who experience untreated depression, anxiety, and/or significant stress may be less likely to engage with their children in positive and interactive ways which is vital in promoting healthy brain development, behavioral functioning and ensuring protective relationships. The mental health of those caring for the youngest members of a family (parents and caregivers) needs to be a priority to ensure healthy families now and across the generations. In Michigan, on average, about 40,000 mothers per year are affected by perinatal anxiety and/or depression. Effective individualized tools and interventions that can help ensure parents and infants have a healthy start exist but most women with a perinatal mood disorder go untreated (17, 16). Combining interventions like early and frequent screening, relationships with trained professionals through prevention-based activities like home visiting, or interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can provide mothers with tools to cope, and the therapy needed, to provide nurturing environments for their children. In this brief we explore measures to help address mental health for the mother or caregiver and infant dyad while highlighting some of the solutions currently in place that help mothers, infants and families start and stay on a healthy track. 

Comprehensive Sex Education for Youth with Disabilities: A Call to Action

May 3, 2021

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international human rights treaty of the United Nations, states that Youth with Disabilities (YWD) should be afforded the same range and quality of sexual and reproductive health services—including sex education—enjoyed by youth without disabilities. To date, school-based efforts toward inclusion and integration of YWD in classrooms and social activities has not extended to sex education. Further federal and state regulations are needed to ensure that YWD have access to free and appropriate public education on sexual health and can achieve health equity with their peers

Reimagining Perinatal Care

March 1, 2021

Perinatal healthcare is the care a woman receives before, during and after delivery. Prenatal care is the widely used routine source of preventive care, pregnancy education, and support for expectant families in the United States, but the delivery of this care has remained largely unchanged since the 1930s. As a result, standard prenatal care delivery presents barriers to younger individuals, people of color, those living in poverty, individuals where English is their second language, and other marginalized groups (22). Currently, prenatal care focuses on medical interventions such as prenatal screening and managing chronic conditions, without consistent focus on mental health and social determinants of health. Women are generally recommended identical care regardless of risk or their individualized needs and preferences. This one size fits all model has failed to prevent adverse health outcomes such as preterm birth and maternal morbidity, particularly among racial-ethnic minority, low-income and rural women.

Body of Knowledge: Improving sexual and reproductive health for India's adolescents

March 1, 2017

Comprising one-fifth of India's population, adolescents are a significant demographic transitioning into adulthood. Adolescents making this transition experience rapid change and heightened vulnerability. The onset of puberty is a period wrought with challenges that impact an adolescent's sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Dasra's report, Body of Knowledge, highlights the challenges that adolescents face, the efforts of key stakeholders and the specific steps implementing organizations are taking on the ground to improve outcomes for adolescents. During this research, Dasra mapped 192 organizations working to improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes in India. This report profiles 22 organizations, whose work effectively represents the scope and breadth of the adolescent SRHR sector in India.

Contraceptive Use in the United States

September 1, 2016

WHO NEEDS CONTRACEPTIVES?There are 61 million U.S. women in their childbearing years (15–44). About 43 million of them (70%) are at risk of unintended pregnancy—that is, they are sexually active and do not want to become pregnant, but could become pregnant if they and their partners fail to use a contraceptive method correctly and consistently.Couples who do not use any method of contraception have an approximately 85% chance of experiencing a pregnancy over the course of a year.In the United States, the average desired family size is two children. To achieve this family size, a woman must use contraceptives for roughly three decades.WHO USES CONTRACEPTIVES?More than 99% of women aged 15–44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method.Some 62% of all women of reproductive age are currently using a contraceptive method.Ten percent of women at risk of unintended pregnancy are not currently using any contraceptive method.The proportion of women at risk who are not using a method is highest among 15–19-year-olds (18%) and lowest among women aged 40–44 (9%).Eighty-three percent of black women who are at risk of unintended pregnancy currently use a contraceptive method, compared with 91% of their Hispanic and white peers, and 90% of their Asian peers.Among women who are at risk of unintended pregnancy, 92% of those with incomes of 300% or more of the federal poverty level are currently using contraceptives, as are 89% of those living at 0–149% of the poverty line.A much higher proportion of married women than of never-married women use a contraceptive method (77% vs. 42%), largely because married women are more likely to be sexually active. But even among those at risk of unintended pregnancy, contraceptive use is higher among currently married women than among never-married women (93% vs. 83%).Unmarried cohabitors fall between married women and unmarried women who are not cohabiting with their partner: Ninety percent of at-risk cohabitors use a method.Contraceptive use is common among women of all religious denominations. Eighty-nine percent of at-risk Catholics and 90% of at-risk Protestants currently use a contraceptive method. Among sexually experienced religious women, 99% of Catholics and Protestants have ever used some form of contraception.Knowledge about contraceptive methods is a strong predictor of use among young adults: In a 2012 study among unmarried women aged 18–29, for each correct response on a contraceptive knowledge scale, women's odds of currently using a hormonal or long-acting reversible method increased by 17%, and their odds of using no method decreased by 17%.WHICH METHODS DO WOMEN USE?Sixty-seven percent of women who practice contraception currently use nonpermanent methods, primarily hormonal methods (the pill, patch, implant, injectable and vaginal ring), IUDs and condoms. The rest rely on female (25%) or male (8%) sterilization.The pill and female sterilization have been the two most commonly used methods since 1982.

Linking Changes in Contraceptive Use to Declines in Teen Pregnancy Rates

December 24, 2015

Using a unique microsimulation tool, Teen FamilyScape, the present study explores how changes in the mix of contraceptive methods used by teens contributed to the decline in the U.S. teen pregnancy rate between 2002 and 2010. Results indicate that changes in contraceptive use contributed to approximately half of the decline in the teen pregnancy rate during this time period (48%) and that a little more than half of this "contraceptive effect" was due to an increase in teen condom use (58%). The remaining share of the contraceptive effect can be attributed to an increase in the use of more effective hormonal (pill, patch, ring) and long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC)/injectable methods (Intrauterine Devices (IUD), implant and injectable). Results from an additional counterfactual analysis suggest that the contraceptive effect was driven by the fact that the percentage of teens using no birth control fell during the study time period, rather than by the fact that some teens switched from less effective methods (condoms) to more effective hormonal and LARC/injectable methods. However, very high typical use failure rates for teen condom users suggest the need for a two-pronged approach for continuing reductions in teen pregnancy for sexually active teens: first, targeting the youth most at risk of not using contraception and helping them choose contraception, and second, increasing the effectiveness of method use among existing contraceptors.