Recognizing inequality in access to reproductive healthcare and helping to close the gap

Reproductive health is more than family planning. The ability to plan if and when to have children is fundamental to the health of women and critical to the equal functioning of women in society. Access to reproductive healthcare is important to help women have autonomy and become fully engaged in every aspect of society.

There are three things that empower women: access and control of economic resources, education and the ability to regulate their fertility. The interesting thing is that by improving the ability to plan a family we help women to educate, build careers and remain in the labor force.

As a healthcare provider of women I know how important is investing in sexual and reproductive health services. I see the benefits in my patients, their families and our communities.

Unintended pregnancy, unintended birth, abortion and adolescent pregnancy differ across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. These disparities contribute to the cycles of disadvantage experienced by specific demographic groups when women are unable to control their fertility as desired.

My experience as a provider is that women want reproductive health options but access and availability remain limited in many communities. The Title X family planning program, Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women and the most recent Affordable Care Act have had a positive impact in inequalities in reproductive health. But although they have reduced some of the inequalities faced by many disadvantaged women, they have not eliminated disparities altogether. What is even more concerning is the fact that more women are in need of publicly funded family planning services but states are restricting funding and regulating reproductive health providers out of existence.

Addressing disparities in access to reproductive healthcare is critical in the solution to gender inequality and elimination of poverty. Empowering women and couples to take control of their reproductive future is critical to achieve social justice.

The future of  reproductive health will require that we as a society tear down barriers and help women find access to reproductive healthcare regardless of age, race or socioeconomic status. We must implement concrete actions including major involvement of women in decision making positions to ensure that governments respect, protect and fulfilled the reproductive rights of women on the basis of equality.

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To help you plan your reproductive future contact Ginecología Integral at 939-261-2222.

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