Black health

Seventy-six percent of Missouri residents, including large majorities across the political spectrum, believe the state legislature should increase access to birth control for Missourians, according to a new public opinion survey. 

Three-quarters of Missouri residents believe more should be done in their communities to improve access to all methods of birth control, including 86% of Democrats, 78% of Independents, and 69% of Republicans.

The survey of 750 Missouri residents was released as part of the Missouri-based The Right Time initiative. 

“The Right Time aims to help those seeking quality contraceptive services, with special attention to eliminating health inequities by reducing cost, access, and knowledge barriers, and focusing on equity for those who are uninsured or underinsured, geographically isolated, or low income,” Missouri Foundation for Health Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Kathleen Holmes, said. 

The Right Time partners with a variety of health centers across the state to provide training, technical assistance, and funding to expand access to the full range of contraceptive methods, according to a statement. There are currently 12 partner health centers for the Right Time in 33 locations in Missouri.

“It is encouraging that a broad majority of Missourians recognize that birth control is health care and strongly support increased access to contraception for all,” Holmes said.

Partner health centers in The Right Time network offer all methods of birth control , and all methods are free or low-cost to those who want them. The survey says 72% of Missouri residents support the privately funded initiative’s provision of free or low-cost birth control. 

Regarding insurance coverage of contraception, eight in 10 residents believe that birth control is a basic part of health care that should be completely covered by health insurance, including 87% of Democrats and 80% of both Republicans and Independents.

This polling shows Missouri residents want the legislature to focus on increasing access to birth control,” Michelle Trupiano, executive director of Missouri Family Health Council, said. “We hope the legislature will support proactive measures that increase access to contraception and allow people to take control of their own health.”

Additionally, other survey findings include cost (41%), lack of time to get birth control (38%), and lack of a nearby clinic (30%) as the top three factors that have made it hard for Missouri residents to get the method of birth control they wanted. 

An additional 23% cited concerns about COVID-19. Respondents could choose more than one answer.

Three-quarters (74%) believe birth control gives individuals the power to make their own plans on their own schedule and on their own terms.

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