FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2023
Missouri Family Health Council, Inc. Contact: Leslie Pritchard | 573-694-4898
Missouri Foundation for Health Contact: Daniel Waxler | 314-345-5580
There is considerable confusion about the legality of birth control in Missouri and many are worried about future access, according to a new survey of state residents. One in four (25%) Missourians do not believe or do not know that birth control pills — the most used form of contraception in the U.S. — are legal in the state. More than half (53%) do not believe or do not know that emergency contraception is legal, and four in 10 (40%) do not believe or do not know that IUDs are legal.
In addition, many in Missouri are concerned about the future availability of birth control. Fully half of survey respondents (50%) — including 44% of Republicans, 48% of Independents, and 66% of Democrats — are concerned that elected officials in Missouri will enact laws that restrict people from getting the birth control method they want.
The survey of 1,000 Missouri residents was conducted as part of the Missouri-based The Right Time initiative. Through this effort, health centers across the state are improving access to contraception by providing free or low-cost birth control in 34 locations. The Right Time provides training, assistance, and funding to expand access to the full range of contraceptive methods. The initiative is focused on offering patients same-day access to all methods of birth control and has resources that make it easier for people in Missouri, including those who are uninsured or underinsured, to receive quality contraceptive services.
"The fallout from the Supreme Court's Dobbs ruling on abortion has had expected and unexpected consequences," said Michelle Trupiano, Executive Director of Missouri Family Health Council, Inc. "One unexpected result is that health centers across the state report that many patients are confused about the legality of birth control because of the June 2022 decision. The message is simple: Abortion is banned in Missouri; birth control is not."
Other survey findings include:
- 72% of respondents — including 74% of Republicans, 72% of Democrats, and 73% of Independents — think the Missouri state legislature should pass policies that make birth control more affordable and accessible.
- More believe that elected officials in Missouri are not supportive of birth control (36%) than those who believe legislators are supportive (26%).
- 84% of respondents — including 82% of Republicans, 90% of Democrats, and 85% of Independents — support people aged 18-35 having access to all methods of birth control.
- More say they do not know how to get birth control online (48%) than those that say they are aware of online ordering (39%).
The Right Time is improving information about, and access to, quality contraceptive services by reducing costs and improving access and knowledge. TheRightTime.org provides residents of Missouri with access to free and low-cost birth control, trustworthy information on birth control, and video testimonials about services and contraceptive methods.
"Our initiative is based on the simple belief that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue the future they want, including if, when, and under what circumstances to become pregnant," said Kathleen Holmes, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Missouri Foundation for Health. "Removing barriers to quality contraceptive information and care is foundational to The Right Time effort. The polling released today makes clear that correcting misperceptions about the legality of birth control is both important and urgent."
About The Right Time:
The Right Time is an initiative of Missouri Foundation for Health and is led by Missouri Family Health Council, Inc.
Missouri Foundation for Health is building a more equitable future through collaboration, convening, knowledge sharing, and strategic investment. Working in partnership with communities and nonprofits, MFH is transforming systems to eliminate inequities within all aspects of health and addressing the social and economic factors that shape health outcomes.
Missouri Family Health Council, Inc. champions access for every individual to culturally sensitive, quality sexual and reproductive health education and services. Correcting misinformation about the legality of birth control, including emergency contraception (EC), is one of MFHC's primary goals with its newly launched Free EC contraceptive access project which offers free emergency contraception to Missourians. Free EC kits can be picked up at over 40 locations throughout the state, or requested by mail on the MFHC website: MFHC.org/EC.
The Right Time initiative seeks to empower individuals to take control of their own health by improving information about, and removing barriers to, contraceptive services, recognizing that decisions always rest with the patient. The Right Time is committed to addressing persistent health disparities that exist around unintended pregnancy and marginalized populations. Visit TheRightTime.org for more information.
About the Survey: The results presented here are based on an online survey of 1,000 Missouri residents fielded between April 27 and May 3, 2023. The survey was conducted by AYTM, an independent research organization and has a margin of error of +/- 3.58% at the 95% confidence level.