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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GA Tech chapter.

Currently, there are several types of birth control methods available both over-the-counter and by prescription. The idea is that this wide selection will provide women with multiple options that they can choose from; however, recent studies have questioned the true availability of these methods to various groups of women. In particular, there is a concern amongst many medical and activist groups that there is a disparity between the availability of contraceptives to women of color and white women. This issue, however, has been difficult to access.


There is no doubt that a disparity exists. According to Power To Decide, a campaign dedicated to the prevention of unplanned pregnancies, this disparity may be caused by historical and present-day racism. When investigating their source for this claim, this study was featured citing 20th-century racist eugenics practices as a source of distrust amongst women of color with reproductive management. However, while this study does detail the possible benefits of afflicted populations using long-lasting contraceptives, it fails to consider the cultural values of different groups of people.


The Contraceptive CHOICE Project, a study focused on long-acting reversible contraceptives, indicated “women reporting discrimination were more likely to use less effective methods (e.g., barrier methods, natural family planning or withdrawal)” before the study enrollment when compared to women who did not report discrimination. This is important because long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs as often abbreviated) are considered to be the most effective methods of birth control, besides abstinence.


Yet, in a study over female veteran contraceptive use, Blacks and Hispanics were more inclined to choose methods that lacked hormone treatments and could prevent STDs. This is important to consider because the progesterone IUD, a hormone-coated intrauterine device, is thought to be the most effective LARC, given that it becomes effective immediately after insertion.


There are several ways to obtain contraceptives but these ways may not be achievable for everyone. The price and availability of certain contraceptives vary by state and may also vary by county. Generally, condoms and spermicides can be purchased at many common locations, such as drug stores or grocery stores. Certain clinics may offer these over-the-counter products for free. In Georgia and in many other states oral birth control can be obtained by visiting a family planning, public health or Title X clinic.


After consulting with a doctor, patients can receive a prescription without insurance. LARCs are more invasive and costly, requiring physical exams of the reproductive region and maintenance care. This difference may directly affect low-income women who may not be able to afford to have this procedure done.


Furthermore, the clinics for oral contraceptives may not be available in their area. Contraceptive deserts are states where “the number of health centers offering the full range of methods isn’t enough to meet the needs of the population” andF while Georgia isn’t one of them, they exist across the nation.


While there are many studies on why women differ in birth control use, it is important to remember that many factors go into this choice, both in and out of women’s control.

(pic of smiling women)

Bailee Jetton

GA Tech '22

Bailee Jetton is currently a 3rd year Literature, Media, & Communication major at Georgia Tech with a major focus in Media and Communications. She developed a passion for writing when she wrote competitively for a school creative writing team before beginning to focus on journalistic writing in her junior year of high school.