Nearly 40,000 Women In North Dakota Live In Contraceptive Deserts

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According to data released by Power to Decide, an estimated 38,770 women living at or below 250% of the poverty level in North Dakota live in contraceptive deserts, counties in which there is not reasonable access to a health center offering the full range of contraceptive methods

“In North Dakota, nearly 40,000 women must overcome significant barriers to access the contraception they need and deserve in order to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child,” said Raegan McDonald-Mosley, MD, MPH, CEO of Power to Decide.

According to data released by Power to Decide, an estimated 38,770 women living at or below 250% of the poverty level in North Dakota live in contraceptive deserts, counties in which there is not reasonable access to a health center offering the full range of contraceptive methods. Nationally, more than 19 million U.S. women in need live in contraceptive deserts.

“In North Dakota, nearly 40,000 women must overcome significant barriers to access the contraception they need and deserve in order to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child,” said Raegan McDonald-Mosley, MD, MPH, CEO of Power to Decide. “Women in these deserts struggle with transportation and childcare costs as well as taking unpaid time off from work just to access basic health care.”

Despite the challenges, family planning providers are making every effort to provide contraceptive services to patients across the state. Still, North Dakota can take additional proactive steps to expand access to contraception. This is more important than ever, as the pandemic continues to devastate people’s lives in various ways.

North Dakota has already expanded Medicaid to adults with low incomes, which helps decrease the percentage of uninsured women, and by extension, gives them the contraceptive coverage they need to live healthy lives. In addition, North Dakota could enact policies to protect insurance coverage for the full range of contraceptive methods without cost-sharing and require coverage for an extended supply of contraceptives. Further, allowing pharmacists to prescribe contraception would also help increase access to some methods.

More information about these policies can be found here. In addition, information about North Dakota’s telehealth policies relevant to contraceptive access can be found here.

Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Please visit us at http://www.PowerToDecide.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Paloma Zuleta
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