September 25, 2014 — This week, we feature an infographic highlighting the impact of the Affordable Care Act's birth control benefit, as well as maps depicting state-mandated delays in abortion care and progress in reducing teen birth rates.
ACA Ends Birth Control Copays for Increasing Number of Women
Women with private health insurance are increasingly paying nothing out of pocket for their contraceptive method of choice, according to a Guttmacher Institute infographic and accompanying study.
Guttmacher researchers found that the impact of the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) contraceptive coverage benefit has been "substantial and rapid," but they noted that gaps in coverage remain, in part because of the grandfathered status of some health plans, insurers improperly charging copayments or deductibles in some cases, and exemptions for certain employer-sponsored plans on religious grounds (Guttmacher release, 9/18).
States Mandate Delays in Abortion Care
Missouri this month joined North Dakota and Utah in mandating that a woman wait at least 72 hours between when she first seeks an abortion and when she may obtain the procedure, although the specific requirements of the laws vary in each state.
Nationwide, 26 states have laws mandating delays of various lengths before a woman can obtain abortion care, according to this map from the Washington Post's "Gov Beat," based on Guttmacher Institute data as of Sept. 1. Some states also mandate that women receive in-person counseling, which can require an additional trip to the clinic and further complicate access. Mandatory delay laws on the books in Massachusetts and Montana are not enforced due to court orders, "Gov Beat" notes (Chokshi, "Gov Beat," Washington Post, 9/11).
Animation Shows Declining Teen Birth Rates by State
Nationwide, the teen birth rate has been on the decline for years, reaching record lows in 2012. However, as shown in this animation from @MetricMaps -- a Twitter and Reddit account specializing in "visualizing behavioral health data" -- the decrease in birth rates progressed more rapidly in some states and regions than others. Specifically, progress in southern states lagged behind other regions.
According to Mic, states that teach abstinence-only sex education also tend to have higher teen pregnancy rates (Essert, Mic, 9/15).