"Without bodily autonomy we are not free": exploring women's concerns about future access to contraception following the 2016 US presidential election.


OBJECTIVE: Following the 2016US presidential election, social media posts and news stories amplified concerns about the potential for reduced access to contraception under the incoming administration and urged women to seek long-acting reversible contraception. We aimed to describe women's concerns about future access to contraception, in their own words.

STUDY DESIGN: A social-media-based, anonymous online survey assessing thoughts and concerns about future access to contraception was distributed to reproductive-aged US women for 1 week in mid- January 2017. Participants who were concerned about future access to contraception could share their thoughts and feelings in an open-ended comments box. We qualitatively analyzed 449 written responses for content and themes, with the goal of characterizing key concerns.

RESULTS: Women who provided written comments had a mean age of 28years; 85% were white, 88% had at least a college degree, and 93% identified as Democratic or Democratic-leaning. Women were highly concerned about future affordability of contraceptive methods due to potential loss of insurance, reduced insurance coverage for contraceptive methods and reduced access to low-cost care at Planned Parenthood. Many also worried about increased restrictions on abortion. Participants' concerns regarding access to contraception and abortion centered around themes of reproductive and bodily autonomy, which women described as fundamental rights.

CONCLUSIONS: Women in this study expressed considerable fear and uncertainty regarding their future access to contraception and abortion following the 2016US presidential election. The potential for restricted access to affordable contraception and abortion was viewed as an unacceptable limitation on bodily autonomy.

IMPLICATIONS: As the future of US health care policy is debated, many women are concerned about the impact of policy changes on their ability to access affordable contraception and abortion, which many view as essential to the preservation of bodily and reproductive autonomy.

Judge C, Wolgemuth TH, Hamm ME, Borrero S. “Without bodily autonomy, we are not free”: Exploring women’s concerns about future access to contraception following the 2016 US Presidential Election. Contraception. 2017; 96(5):370-377. PMID: 28801054.


Date Published

November 2017