Clinics provide birth control to millions

May 24, 2012 at 12:57 AM
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NEW YORK, May 24 (UPI) -- Publicly funded family planning clinics help millions of U.S. women avoid unintended pregnancies and plan the timing of wanted pregnancies, researchers say.

Lead author Jennifer Frost and colleagues at the Guttmacher Institute in New York said more than half of publicly funded clinics reported offering their clients at least 10 of 13 reversible contraceptive methods in 2010, an increase from 35 percent in 2003.

Many offer on-site provision of the most widely used contraceptives and have implemented protocols to make it easier for women to initiate and continue use of their chosen method, Frost said.

"Publicly funded family planning clinics play a critical role in providing millions of women basic sexual and reproductive health services," Frost said in a statement. "This care allows women and couples to avoid unintended pregnancies, plan their families and obtain a wide range of preventive care services that protect their health and well-being."

In addition to contraceptive services, publicly funded family planning clinics reported providing other important healthcare -- 99 percent offered pregnancy testing, 97 percent provided testing for sexually transmitted infections, 95 percent provided treatment for STIs, 92 percent provided HIV testing and 83 percent provided cervical cancer screening, the report said.

The report found many clinics struggle to meet clients' needs. For example, nearly six in 10 clinics reported they have trouble stocking the full range of contraceptive methods because of cost.

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