ST on Health: Upstream USA, Women's Health, and Full (and Fully Informed) Access to Contraceptives

Jan 14, 2016

On this edition of ST on Health, we speak with Mark Edwards, the co-founder of Upstream USA, a newly formed nonprofit that aims, as noted at its website, "to change healthcare so that all women receive the highest quality services and can conveniently access the full range of contraceptive methods, including IUDs and the implant." Indeed, as stated further at the Upstream USA site: "Fully half of all pregnancies in the United States are accidental. Many of these pregnancies occur to women who are using a birth control method that doesn't work well for them. There are new methods of contraception -- the new IUDs and implants -- that are 20 times more effective than the pill, safe, convenient, and recommended by the major medical governing bodies in the field, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Recent research shows that many women prefer these methods if they receive accurate information and can get them easily that same day. Unfortunately, many U.S. health centers don't offer these methods. In fact, a recent George Washington University study found that only 36 percent of community health centers offered implants at their largest site. Upstream USA's mission is to change contraceptive counseling and care in health centers so that clients have easy access to the best contraceptive methods. When women can plan their pregnancies, they are more likely to achieve other personal goals -- finishing school, finding and keeping a good job, and selecting a life partner for the right reasons."