Equitable and Accessible Contraception Access Highlighted in Special Issue of AJPH Sponsored by ASTHO

July 12, 2022

ARLINGTON, VA—The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) is pleased to announce the publication of a timely special issue in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) on efforts to expand contraceptive access, particularly statewide initiatives. The issue is available online.

This AJPH special issue, sponsored by ASTHO in collaboration with the Coalition to Expand Contraceptive Access, puts into context the unique role statewide contraceptive access initiatives play in addressing barriers to access, and highlights innovations, lessons learned, and future directions. Leaders from several statewide initiatives—including Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, New Mexico, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Utah—contributed articles to the issue describing the conceptualization, implementation, and evaluation of these contraceptive access projects.

“With the national dialogue on contraception access becoming extremely polarized, this special edition is timely,” said Michael Fraser, PhD, ASTHO CEO. “ASTHO supports programs and policies that take an evidenced based approach to assuring contraception access at the state level to help individuals and families make informed decisions about family planning and live healthy lives throughout the lifespan.”

ASTHO’s efforts to engage statewide contraceptive access initiatives began in 2014 when the association convened a learning community to assist state health agencies in implementing Long Acting Reversible Contraception in the postpartum care delivery setting. ASTHO later broadened the scope of this effort and convened 27 states and territories to participate in the Increasing Access to Contraception Learning Community from 2016-2018, with funding and support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of Population Affairs, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Several of the statewide initiatives that participated in ASTHO’s Learning Community contributed articles to the AJPH special issue.

“Statewide contraceptive access initiatives offer new and innovative efforts to expand access to contraception, advance person-centered care, and improve health outcomes,” said Ellen Pliska, ASTHO senior director of family and child health. “This special issue also offers broader intervention highlights, including considerations for wide-ranging policy implications for contraceptive access and how we get people the care they want where and how they want it. Our hope is that this issue will encourage decision-makers to explore strategies for fostering and supporting equitable and accessible contraceptive access policy and initiatives.”

Learn more from ASTHO’s Reproductive Health Services Policy Statement.

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ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and Freely Associated States, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.