Along with many community partners, the Allyn Family Foundation is building a local movement to encourage and support young women and their partners to have complete information about all contraceptives and be able to choose the method that is right for them, without any cost or access barriers. We are strongly committed to reproductive justice, woman-centered care, dispelling myths, and changing social norms to empower young women with positive self-images and independent choice.
Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. That means that one out of every two pregnancies is to a woman who did not want to have a child, or was not ready to have one yet. Among teenage, low-income, African American, and/or unmarried women, the percentage of unintended pregnancies is even higher.
Unintended pregnancy can have a significant impact on the mother and baby: births resulting from unintended or closely spaced pregnancies are associated with poor maternal and child health outcomes, such as delayed prenatal care, premature birth, maternal depression, and negative physical and mental health effects for children.
While unintended pregnancy is a deeply personal experience, it also impacts the entire community: it is associated with decreased educational attainment and lower labor-force participation rates among women and lower academic, economic, and health outcomes among the affected children.
“When young adults become accidental parents, it disrupts educational plans, derails economic prospects, and greatly diminishes their children’s opportunities for success... Unintended pregnancy remains both a symptom and a cause of intergenerational poverty and inequality.” “Billion Dollar Bets” to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies: Creating Economic Opportunity for Every American, The Bridgespan Group, August 2016.
The high rate of unintended pregnancies stems from many factors: poor knowledge about contraception options, lack of high-quality counseling in the healthcare system about contraception, and limited access to its safest and most effective forms, the IUD and implant.
Many women in Central New York experience unintended pregnancy, with rates around 40%, which is a little better than the national average. Yet, just like at the national level, the rates are significantly higher among some members of our community, especially women on Medicaid, and African-American women.
At the same time, all Central New York counties are designated “contraceptive deserts,” according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Contraceptive deserts are defined as a county where the number of public clinics with the full range of methods is not enough to meet the needs of the county’s population, with at least 1 clinic to every 1,000 women in need of publicly funded contraception.
In Onondaga County, an estimated 32,210 women aged 14-44 need publicly funded contraceptive services, yet these women have “limited access” to publicly funded contraception, with only 6 publicly funded sites that offer the full range of birth control options. In Cayuga County, 3,910 women aged 14-44 need publicly funded contraceptive services, with only 4 sites that offer all forms of birth control. Click here to see the full U.S. map of contraceptive deserts.
To help support young women and their partners to make informed, empowered choices about contraception, we are working with our partners to:
Increase the number of providers who offer the full range of birth control options
Increase capacity at our publicly-funded clinics
Design a community-wide education and awareness campaign
Improve coordination among local outreach and education