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Survey: TN Young Adults Concerned about Birth-Control Access


Friday, December 9, 2022   

A new survey shows many young people are worried about losing access to birth control.

The survey from the nonprofit Power to Decide found that about seven in 10 young adults think the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protected the right to an abortion, will also limit access to birth control. Federal lawmakers have stepped in with the "Right to Contraception Act," which passed in the U.S. House but stalled in the Senate.

Tara Mancini, director of public policy for Power to Decide, said the fate of the bill rests in part with people demanding some action on it.

"If they're interested, they could also ask their senators to bring this to the floor and pass this bill," she said, "which I'm sure the president will sign if it comes to his desk."

In 2018, Tennessee approved the Comprehensive Contraception Act, to provide insurance coverage for birth-control drugs, devices and products approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Mancini added that more funding for the Title X program could help, so more clinics can offer family planning and STI testing services.

In the survey, about half of people ages 18 to 29 said they believe birth control is going to be harder to get in the future. Mancini pointed out that increased funding for Title X could also reduce the number of "contraception deserts," including in parts of Tennessee.

"We know that millions of people in the country already live in areas where there's not reasonable access to the full range of contraceptive birth control methods," she said, "including over 406,000 women in Tennessee."

Mancini added that there's still a stigma associated with birth control, including the myth that it's easy and inexpensive to access, or that one method is best for everyone. She said her group works to ensure that people have access to a wide range of options.

"Another myth is that birth control is just for preventing pregnancy," she said. "Obviously, that's the main reason that people use it, but people use it to help control different health conditions as well. So, that's important - that people also have access to it for whatever reason they need it."

Mancini said she feels hopeful about the future of birth control, since the survey found it is widely accepted across ethnicities and the political divide.

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