About This Work
Access to the full range of contraceptive options is essential to having control over our bodies and our lives. NIRH is committed to expanding access to contraception through lifting policy barriers and expanding insurance coverage, so that all individuals can make the decisions necessary to lead healthy reproductive lives.
NIRH supports policies that ensure access to the full range of methods of contraception and non-coercive, inclusive contraceptive counseling, and is committed to increasing knowledge of and access to underutilized contraceptive options in ways that center and honor patient autonomy and decision-making. NIRH also supports policies that ensure that all insurance coverage, whether offered privately, by employers, or through the government, provides coverage all methods of contraception and non-coercive contraceptive counseling with no cost-sharing on the individual and without barriers or delays.
NIRH is committed to partnering with organizations to remove barriers to contraceptive access using a framework that centers around patient autonomy and choice. Many forms of contraception, such as long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), have been historically underutilized because of lack of provider training, lack of public education, and high cost to providers and consumers. Although public health officials in some areas have encouraged LARC use, they have frequently targeted their efforts at marginalized communities and particularly women of color, who have historically experienced many forms of reproductive oppression, including forced sterilization, and may view such programs with warranted distrust.
To ensure reproductive freedom, it is important that reproductive coercion in any form be eliminated, and every person must instead be provided with comprehensive, scientifically accurate information about the full range of contraceptive options in a medically ethical and culturally competent manner.
NIRH is committed to expanding access to underutilized forms of contraception, including IUDs and implants. Though offering immediate postpartum LARC to patients who want this method is considered a best practice, barriers including policy, reimbursement, and lack of education for both providers and patients, and the challenges of implementing this service, have made it so that the majority of hospitals do not provide this service.
With the support of NIRH, partners like Young Women United, Southwest Women’s Law Center, Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains and the New Mexico Perinatal Collaborative in New Mexico, Vanderbilt University, SisterReach, and University of Tennessee-Knoxville in Tennessee, and […]
Implementation is an integral part of expanding access to contraceptive coverage after successful advocacy for a policy change. Too often, a new policy is passed but its enactment is limited due to the difficulty that comes with vital work like ensuring that systems are created or updated and key stakeholders and informed and educated. As more states have worked with their public and private insurers to allow long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), including IUDs and implants, to be covered in a postpartum setting, work to ensure the services are actually offered to patients is vital. This includes revising systems for billing […]
In 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo and his agencies issued four different regulations that affirm access to insurance coverage for abortion and contraception in New York State, protect access to insurance coverage for all New Yorkers if the federal government repeals or restricts the ACA, and improve conditions for women who are incarcerated. The abortion and contraception regulations are wide-ranging and, when implemented, will ensure that women have full access to those services in the state without having to pay coinsurance or copayments or meet a deductible. Under these regulations, doctors in New York can instruct pharmacists to dispense 12 months of birth control at once, […]
Since the 1990s, many states have required insurers to provide “contraceptive equity,” meaning that insurance plans that cover prescription drugs must also cover contraception. However, insurance companies often limited the types of contraception that were covered or charged high copays for some or all forms. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) addressed some of these barriers by requiring coverage for all FDA-approved forms of female contraception with no copay. Many advocates and legislators worked to enshrine this requirement in their state law and to broaden the coverage guarantee even further, such as by including over-the-counter and/or male forms of contraception. In […]