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Presidential Election Influenced Women’s Contraceptive Decisions, Pitt Analysis Finds

PITTSBURGH, May 17, 2017  ̶  The 2016 presidential election and political party affiliation appears to have influenced the decisions many women made about their contraception choices, a new survey from the University of Pittsburgh Center for Women’s Health Research and Innovation (CWHRI) found. Results were published online in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
 
CWHRI director Sonya Borrero, M.D., and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine student Colleen Judge, developed an anonymous online survey to identify changes women made following the election in their contraceptive methods and concerns about future access to birth control. The survey, which was available on social media networks in mid-January 2017, used targeted Facebook advertising to reach women in the United States aged 15 to 44.
 
Of the 2,158 women surveyed, 42 percent were concerned about access to contraception following the election. Nearly 10 percent of women had started a new method of birth control in the two months following the election, and 5.3 percent had obtained a long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) option, such as an intrauterine device (IUD). Of the women who switched to a LARC option, 25 percent indicated that the election influenced their decision “somewhat,” and 65 percent indicated that it influenced their decision “a great deal.”
 
Half of the women surveyed identified as Democratic-leaning, 36 percent as Republican-leaning and 13 percent as Independent. The remaining 1 percent did not provide their political party affiliation. Of the Democratic-leaning women, three fourths of those surveyed expressed concerns about their contraception options following the election compared to 3 percent of Republican-leaning women.
 
“Political party affiliation was associated with concerns about future access to contraception and method changes,” said Borrero. “While this study cannot be generalized to all reproductive-aged women in the United States, it does reinforce the anecdotal evidence of fear-based contraception decision making following the 2016 election. It remains just as important as ever that physicians provide counseling for their patients to make sure they are using the contraception option most appropriate for them.”

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