The March of Dimes released the following statement from Chief Medical Officer Paul Jarris, MD MBA, regarding the importance of access to contraception in promoting healthy pregnancies and healthy babies:
“Access to contraception allows women to become as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant. The availability of contraception is vital for all women of childbearing age, whether they are women seeking to postpone pregnancy or women and their partners seeking to plan their family.
“Access to family planning information and services, including contraception, helps women make informed decisions about the timing and spacing of childbearing. A significant body of evidence shows that spacing pregnancies at least 18 months apart results in better birth outcomes and lower rates of preterm birth, birth defects and infant mortality. Currently, however, about one-third of all repeat pregnancies in the U.S occur in less than 18 months.
“For all of these reasons, policies that restrict women’s access to contraception are cause for concern, due to their likelihood of increasing rates of unintended pregnancy, closely-spaced pregnancies, and the associated adverse birth outcomes.
“Each woman should consult with her health care provider to select an approach to family planning and birth spacing consistent with her needs and beliefs. The March of Dimes strongly recommends a prepregnancy health care visit for every woman and supports access to affordable family planning services for all women of childbearing age, regardless of income.”