Changing reproductive health policies for the better

On this year’s International Women’s Day, global advocates and leaders are pledging to accelerate gender parity through leadership and concrete actions. The UCSF Bixby Center is proud to contribute to this movement by advancing women’s reproductive health and rights worldwide. Our research is helping policymakers make evidence-based decisions on issues like birth control access, abortion care and safe childbirth.

Birth control access
While many insurance plans limit a woman’s supply of birth control to a few months, a group of federal lawmakers is using our research to change this nationwide. A Bixby Center study found that a 12-month supply of birth control decreased unplanned pregnancies by 30 percent and reduced women’s odds of an abortion by 46 percent, compared with a supply of just one or three months. Oregon and the District of Columbia changed their policies to ensure residents have access to a one-year birth control supply. Now policymakers in Alaska, California, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin have introduced similar bills, and several Members of Congress have asked the Department of Health & Human Services to require this of health insurance plans nationwide.

Safe abortion care

Just last week, the US Supreme Court heard a case concerning abortion restrictions in Texas that could have far-reaching implications for women’s access to care. Bixby Center research is playing a critical role in the court room, offering rigorous evidence on the impact of abortion restrictions on women’s health, safety and well-being. Bixby investigators collaborated on research finding that women in Texas now report multiple barriers to obtaining safe abortion care, including increased travel time, longer waits for an appointment and greater costs. And when abortion access becomes impossible, many women resort to ineffective or dangerous methods to end their pregnancies. Whatever the court's decision, the Bixby Center will continue to train the next generation of abortion providers to ensure ongoing access to this essential health service.

Making pregnancy safer

Our Safe Motherhood Program is influencing global policies to make birth safer for women around the world. Our researchers pioneered use of a simple, easy-to-use first-aid device to stabilize women who are suffering from post-partum hemorrhage (PPH). Our extensive research on PPH has contributed to international treatment guidelines from the International Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, the World Health Organization and Global Library of Women’s Medicine. And in India, the national obstetrics & gynecology society and national government have added the device to their PPH management policies and protocols.

As advocates, researchers and policymakers advance women’s health and rights this International Women’s Day, the Bixby Center will continue to generate rigorous evidence that improves reproductive health policies and care globally.