This Birth Control App Is The Solution To HHS Gutting Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs

You may have recently heard the news that the Department of Health and Human Services, headed up by anti-choice Republican Tom Price, is making drastic cuts to a slew of teen pregnancy prevention programs. In fact, the Trump administration announced cuts to 81 programs in total, pulling the plug on the 5 year grant program that was started under President Obama.

That amounts to $213 million nationally, and although the current round of funding was supposed to last until the end of 2020, program directors around the country were shocked even further to learn the money would be gone as soon as 2018. It is a massive blow to the gains that were slowly being made under Obama, but it also shouldn’t be a surprise given the regressive appointments being made at the HHS.

Most notably, there was the announcement of Teresa Manning, the anti-abortion activist who claims birth control doesn’t work, and that family planning should occur between a husband and wife and God.

An overwhelming amount of data actually shows increased birth control availability and use has been a major factor in reducing pregnancy, and therefore the need for abortions, so it’s baffling and frustrating to see anti-choice people being appointed to major government positions, peddling false information that harms youth.

In fact, despite the United States having one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the developed world, according to the CDC, comprehensive sex education and access to birth control has enabled the national rate to hit a record low as recent as 2015.

Yet here we are, 8 months into a regressive administration that is not concerned with keeping youth safe and healthy, which is why it is important to look at some of the exciting developments happening in the telemedicine world. We’ve already introduced our readers to NURX, the San Francisco-based birth control app currently available in 12 states. Around the same time the HHS teen pregnancy prevention programs announcement was made, NURX made an announcement of their own – they are now available in the iOS store.

They are making it even easier for people to get their hands on numerous types of birth control, whether you have insurance or not (prices start as low as $15), right from your iphone. The iOS app is HIPAA compliant, and while it should not eliminate consultation with your regular GP, there are certified medical doctors available on call who guide users to help them get the best medical advice and prescription for their needs.

NURX is solving a problem in our current healthcare landscape. High cost and distance from a medical provider are major barriers to contraceptive access. The new mobile app helps eliminate geographical and economic barriers that create disparities in health care. A Harvard study, Paying for health care with time, found that the average visit to the doctor takes about two hours. The researchers also found that the average opportunity cost per visit was $43, in addition to an average out-of-pocket cost per visit of $32.

The opportunity cost is the value of time spent doing an activity, based on the income that an individual would earn working the same amount of time. For many low-income women, this is unaffordable. It is no wonder that the unintended pregnancy rate among women living in poverty is more than five times the rate among women with incomes of at least 200% of the federal poverty level.

Geographic barriers also play a part in restricting contraceptive access. In rural areas, far too often, women have to travel for hours just to get birth control, which can be an insurmountable barrier to care. One reason for this is because about half of the 3,143 U.S. counties lack an obstetrician–gynecologist. With NURX’s birth control app, users can start the process in just 15 minutes without leaving the comfort of their home or office.

“Health care in the United States is in need of a huge disruption. Our new mobile app allows women to access birth control on their own terms,” said Nurx COO and co-founder, Dr. Edvard Engesaeth, MD.

Disruption is an understatement, especially considering the amount of conservatives in power arguing specifically against the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare”. But there is a coalition of reproductive health groups and activist organizations working state-by-state to make birth control more easily available over the counter, skipping the doctor’s office altogether. So far only 8 states have such a law in place, which means we have a long way to do. NURX is essentially your virtual over-the-counter if you don’t happen to live in one of those states.

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has strongly recommended that the pills be made available over-the-counter, as is common internationally. The pill remains prescription-only throughout the United States today, but with our app, we’re making birth control more accessible than ever.” said Nurx’s Medical Director, Dr. Jessica Knox.

Reproductive healthcare is important, access to birth control at a reasonable price is also important. NURX knows this and now with the release of the iOS app, customers have an alternative way to get the right prescription for them. The sign-up process is easy and streamlined. Refills are automatic, and shipping is free. If you want to learn more about the app and have questions, we encourage you to check out the NURX website.


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