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Presidential election may have swayed women's choice of contraception, Pitt survey shows

Ben Schmitt
| Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 9:45 a.m.
President Donald Trump
AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump

The Trump era could be influencing women's birth control choices, according to a University of Pittsburgh survey published Wednesday.

Researchers surveyed 2,158 women since mid-January and found 42 percent have become worried about contraception access since the 2016 presidential election.

About 10 percent of women began a new method of birth control after the election, and 5.3 percent had obtained a long-acting reversible contraception option, such as an intrauterine device.

Of those women switching options, 65 percent said the election influenced their decision “a great deal.”

Pitt's Center for Women's Health Research and Innovation conducted the survey. The center published results online in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

“Citing concerns for increased costs and restricted insurance coverage, women advocated for contraceptive methods that would outlast an administration perceived to be hostile to reproductive health, and news media outlets amplified these concerns,” the authors wrote.

Dr. Sonya Borrero, director of the women's health research center and Pitt medical student Colleen Judge, developed an anonymous online survey to note changes women made in contraceptive methods and concerns about future access to birth control. The survey targeted Facebook advertising to reach American women between ages 15 to 44.

Half of the women surveyed identified themselves as Democrats, 36 percent as Republican and 13 percent as Independent. The remaining 1 percent did not list a political affiliation.

“Political party affiliation was associated with concerns about future access to contraception and method changes,” Borrero said in a news release Wednesday. “While this study cannot be generalized to all reproductive-aged women in the United States, it does reinforce the anecdotal evidence of fear-based contraception decision-making following the 2016 election. It remains just as important as ever that physicians provide counseling for their patients to make sure they are using the contraception option most appropriate for them.”

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.

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