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Ore. Initiative Seeks Improved Data on Contraceptive Use

Ore. Initiative Seeks Improved Data on Contraceptive Use

December 3, 2014 — Oregon next month is launching an initiative to gather better data on contraceptive use and to encourage health care providers to talk with women who wish to avoid pregnancy about the most effective methods to do so, OPBNews reports.

Currently, the state's only way of tracking which methods women are using is through insurance claims data. However, that approach does not accurately measure whether women who wish to avoid pregnancy are using effective contraceptive methods because it does not account for whether women wish to become pregnant or not, according to the Oregon Health Authority's Lori Coyner.

To help better advise women on their contraceptive options, health care providers are being encouraged to ask their female patients about their pregnancy intentions and to discuss the full range of contraceptive methods -- including the most reliable methods -- with women who wish to avoid pregnancy.

The state will consider methods such as birth control pills, intrauterine devices and hormonal injections to be among the most reliable methods, but it will not count methods such as condoms and withdrawal in the metric, according to OPBNews.

Helen Bellanca, chair of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, noted that "a huge number of women that are at risk of unintended pregnancy are using ineffective methods." Unintended pregnancies can "derail women's education plans, ... employment or job opportunities," she added (Foden-Vencil, OPBNews, 12/1).