Young people who face structural inequities are less likely to use their preferred method of contraception

New research, using data from Beyond the Pill’s ongoing randomized control trial in community colleges, found that young people facing structural inequities face greater barriers to using their preferred contraceptive method.

The conference paper led by University of Texas at Austin researcher Kristine Hopkins and co-authored by Beyond the Pill researchers Jennifer Yarger and Cynthia Harper, studied the impact of structural inequities, as measured by race and ethnicity and language spoken at home, on use of preferred method of contraception in a diverse sample of 1,805 community college students ages 18-25. 

While use of preferred method was low for all young people in the study, it was lowest among Latinx, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian and Multi racial participants, with less than half using their preferred method. After controlling for race and ethnicity and other sociodemographic characteristics, those who spoke a language other than English at home were less likely to be using their preferred method. The mismatch between preference and use was especially high for those methods requiring a clinic visit. 

The findings suggest that contraceptive care that prioritizes method preferences, with a range of affordable options, can help to address reproductive health inequities and improve reproductive autonomy for young people.