Day of Learning Events

The State of the Science and Policy on Contraception

On May 25, the Reproductive Bridges Coalition held its inaugural event titled, “Day of Learning: The State of the Science and Policy on Contraception.” The presentation slides are available below, as well as some resources and research publications referenced during the presentations and the open dialogue.

State of the Science and Policy on Contraception Slides


Publications Cited


Number of Oral Contraceptive Pill Packages Dispensed, Method Continuation, and Costs

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the effect of the number of cycles of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) dispensed per visit on method continuation, pill wastage, use of services, and health care costs.

METHODS: We used paid claims data for 82,319 women dispensed OCPs through the California Family PACT (Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment) Program in Jan- uary 2003 to examine contraceptive continuation and service use.

RESULTS: Women who received 13 cycles at their first visit in January 2003 received 14.5 cycles over the course of 2003 compared with 9.0 cycles among women receiv- ing three cycles at first visit. When client characteristics are controlled, women who received 13 cycles were 28% more likely to have OCPs on hand and twice as likely to have sufficient OCP cycles for 15 months of continuous use compared with women who received three cycles. Oral contraceptive pill wastage was higher among women initially dispensed 13 cycles (6.5% of the cycles dispensed) than among women who received three cy- cles (2% of cycles). Despite having one fewer clinician visit, women dispensed 13 cycles were more likely to receive Pap and Chlamydia tests and less likely to have a pregnancy test than women initially dispensed fewer cycles. Over the course of the year, Family PACT paid $99 more for women who received three cycles and $44 more for women who received only one cycle than it did for women who received 13 cycles at their first visits of 2003.

CONCLUSION: Dispensing a year’s supply of OCP cycles to women is associated with higher method continuation and lower costs than dispensing fewer cycles per visit.


Number of Oral Contraceptive Pill Packages Dispensed and Subsequent Unintended Pregnancies

OBJECTIVE: To estimate how number of oral contracep- tive pill packages dispensed relates to subsequent preg- nancies and abortions.

METHODS: We linked 84,401 women who received oral contraceptives through the California family planning program in January 2006 to Medi-Cal pregnancy events and births conceived in 2006. We compared pregnancy rates for women who received a 1-year supply of oral contraceptive pills, three packs, and one pack.

RESULTS: Womenwhoreceiveda1-yearsupplywereless likely to have a pregnancy (1.2% compared with 3.3% of women getting three cycles of pills and 2.9% of women getting one cycle of pills). Dispensing a 1-year supply is associated with a 30% reduction in the odds of conceiving an unplanned pregnancy compared with dispensing just one or three packs (confidence interval [CI] 0.57–0.87) and a 46% reduction in the odds of an abortion (95% CI 0.32–0.93), controlling for age, race or ethnicity, and previous pill use.

CONCLUSION: Making oral contraceptives more accessible may reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy and abortion. Health insurance programs and public health programs may avert costly unintended pregnancies by increasing dispensing limits on oral contraceptives to a 1-year supply.


Effect of Removal of Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women’s Health Program

BACKGROUND: Texas is one of several states that have barred Planned Parenthood affiliates from providing health care services with the use of public funds. After the federal government refused to allow (and courts blocked) the exclusion of Planned Parenthood affiliates from the Texas Medicaid fee-for-service family-planning program, Texas excluded them from a state-funded replacement program, effective January 1, 2013. We assessed rates of contraceptive-method provision, method continuation through the program, and childbirth covered by Medicaid before and after the Planned Parenthood exclusion.

METHODS: We used all program claims from 2011 through 2014 to examine changes in the number of claims for contraceptives according to method for 2 years before and 2 years after the exclusion. Among women using injectable contraceptives at baseline, we observed rates of contraceptive continuation through the program and of childbirth covered by Medic- aid. We used the difference-in-differences method to compare outcomes in counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates with outcomes in those without such affiliates.

RESULTS: After the Planned Parenthood exclusion, there were estimated reductions in the number of claims from 1042 to 672 (relative reduction, 35.5%) for long-acting, reversible contraceptives and from 6832 to 4708 (relative reduction, 31.1%) for injectable contraceptives (P<0.001 for both comparisons). There was no significant change in the number of claims for short-acting hormonal contraceptive methods during this period. Among women using injectable contraceptives, the percentage of women who returned for a subsequent on-time contraceptive injection decreased from 56.9% among those whose subsequent injections were due before the exclusion to 37.7% among those whose sub- sequent injections were due after the exclusion in the counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates but increased from 54.9% to 58.5% in the counties without such affiliates (estimated difference in differences in counties with affiliates as compared with those without affiliates, −22.9 percentage points; P<0.001). During this period in counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates, the rate of childbirth covered by Medicaid increased by 1.9 percentage points (a relative increase of 27.1% from baseline) within 18 months after the claim (P=0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: The exclusion of Planned Parenthood affiliates from a state-funded replacement for a Medicaid fee-for-service program in Texas was associated with adverse changes in the provision of contraception. For women using injectable contraceptives, there was a reduction in the rate of contraceptive continuation and an increase in the rate of childbirth covered by Medicaid. (Funded by the Susan T. Buffett Foundation.)


Taking the Unintended Out of Pregnancy

In 2008, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) secured funding from a private donor to launch the Colorado Family Planning Initiative (CFPI), an expansion of the Family Planning Program that would provide training, operational support and low- or no-cost long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) to low-income women statewide. LARC methods are de ned as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants.

By the middle of 2015, the initiative provided LARCs to more than 36,000 women. Between 2009 and 2014, birth and abortion rates both declined by nearly 50 percent among teens aged 15-19 and by 20 percent among young women aged 20-24. Public assistance costs associated with births that were averted among women aged 15-24 totaled between $54.6 and $60.6 million for four entitlement programs.