Improving access to long acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) to prevent unplanned pregnancy, improve health and create greater opportunity for women and their families. 

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Empowering Saint Louis women to pursue the future that they want with the ability to control if and when they become pregnant.  Providing time to complete an education or start a career. Time to find the right partner.  Healthier babies and kids.  More women with improved economic security and opportunity for themselves and future generations.  Learn more

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Unplanned pregnacy and poverty

A child’s chance of growing up in poverty is nine times greater if the mother gave birth as a teen, the parents were unmarried when the child was born and the mother did not receive a high school diploma than if none of these circumstances are present.

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Each year in the United States, nearly half of all pregnancies and 38 percent of births are considered unintended, defined as a birth that a woman was not intending or actively trying to achieve.  The ability to effectively control if and when to become pregnant has significant importance on the health and opportunities of women and families. 

 

  •  When young people become accidental parents it disrupts educational plans, derails economic prospects and greatly decreases their unplanned child's opportunities for success. 

  • The mothers of unintended pregnancies are twice as likely to suffer postpartum depression.

  • Unintended babies are two-thirds more likely to have low birth weights.

  • Unintended children have decreased physical health, are less likely to do well in school and are more likely to experience violence. 

  • Women below the federal poverty line are at increased risk for unintended pregnancy and most unintended babies are born into poverty. 

  • Given the effects on social mobility for mothers, fathers, and family members, unintended pregnancy remains both a symptom and a cause for inter-generational poverty.   

  • Nearly half of unintended pregnancies end up in abortion.  Since roughly 90% of the abortions in America stem from unintended pregnancies, helping women prevent these pregnancies would greatly reduce abortions. 

 

Our mission is to improve public health by creating an environment where women in Saint Louis have access to all forms of birth control including long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) such as intrauterine devices (IUD's) and the implant (small hormone rod placed under the skin on the upper arm).

Real world studies have shown LARC methods to be twenty times as effective at preventing unintended pregnancy as the pill, patch and ring.

For reasons such as misinformation, poor patient counseling and upfront costs many women do not have access to the most effective types of contraceptives.  For these reasons and more, low income women are 5 times more likely to experience an unintended pregnancy than their more affluent peers.  Brighter Futures Foundation is addressing these inequalities.  

 

Having the power to decide if and when to get pregnant increases young people's opportunities to be healthy and to purse the future they want.  Every person, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much they earn deserves this.

 

 

 

 
 

DOING WHAT WORKS

The Brighter Futures Foundation is using research, studies and existing programs with proven success to reduce unintended pregnancies and maximize our impact in Saint Louis. Two of the biggest influences have been a program in Colorado called LARC4CO and a study in Saint Louis called the Contraceptive CHOICE project.

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From their January 2017 Report.

 

The Colorado Family Planning Initiative drove a 50 percent reduction in teen births and abortions, avoided nearly $70 million in public assistance costs and empowered thousands of young women to make their own choices on when or whether to start a family.

 

A private donor’s investment in the state health department’s family planning program allowed them to train health care providers, support family planning clinics and remove the financial barriers to women choosing the safest, most effective form of contraception.

 

Highlights
 

Thanks in large part to the Colorado Family Planning Initiative: 

  • Teen birth rate was nearly cut in half.

  • Teen abortion rate was nearly cut in half.

  • Births to women without a high school education fell 38 percent.

  • Second and higher order births to teens were cut by 57 percent.

  • Costs avoided: $66.1-$69.6 million.

LARC4CO has been so successful in helping Colorado women and families that the Colorado state legislature decided to publicly fund the program when the wealthy donor's private funding ended. The Brighter Futures Foundation does not have a wealthy donor nor existing funding support from the Missouri legislature and will be depending on contributions from people like you!  Please help us spread the word, host a fundraiser or donate directly to the Brighter Futures Foundation.  

Contraceptive CHOICE Project

By Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri

 

Aside from the Colorado model, we are using the lessons learned from a groundbreaking study called the Contraceptive CHOICE Project that was conducted in the Saint Louis region by Washington University between 2007 and 2015.  With 9,256 participates the project tested if women were educated about LARC methods such a intrauterine devices (IUD's) and sub-dermal hormonal implants, and had cost barriers removed would they choose these LARC methods over other forms of birth control (the pill, hormone patches or ring). 

Nationally, LARC options are used by around 10% of the population and is growing.  In the Contraceptive CHOICE Project after learning about all birth control options and having cost barriers removed, nearly 75% of these participants choose a LARC option.  LARC methods provide up to 10 years of safe, reversible and highly successful birth control.  Much of LARC's improved success is that they require almost nothing from the user after insertion such as taking a pill at the same time everyday, trips to the pharmacy to refill prescriptions or for the man to put on a condom.  Typically once a LARC method is placed, nothing more is required until it is time to replace the device or remove it because the woman is ready to start a family.  A woman's fertility cycle returns to normal immediate after removal, which is done in a quick and simple office visit. 

In the Contraceptive CHOICE project, participates that used the pill, patch and ring (non-LARC options) had a rate of unintended pregnancy that was a stunning 20 times higher than participants that had chosen one of the LARC options.  Women that choose LARC methods also reported being more satisfied than those that had chosen non-LARC methods.


We are proud to have some of the same doctors and clinic partners in the Contraceptive CHOICE project involved with the Brighter Futures Foundation. 
  

Contraceptive CHOICE Project Findings

The Contraceptive Choice Project  http://www.choiceproject.wustl.edu

 

Our plan and goals

Brighter Futures Foundation is improving access to contraception, including safe and highly effective LARC options, to more women in the Saint Louis region. 


​Most health centers do not offer counseling about IUDs and implants as potential options, or make LARC methods available on-site.  Some women face high copay's for the devices or require multiple visits to the clinic to receive the most effective family planning option. There is also misinformation within the public and within the healthcare industry about different methods of contraceptives. We know if we address these issues, we can dramatically cut the rate of unintended pregnancy and empower more women with power to decide if and when to start a family.

 

Our areas of focus. Increasing access to highly effective and safe LARC methods. Helping build capacity for the same day treatment and counseling.  Advocacy to improve awareness and build support.  A campaign to engage young people about the health and economic benefits of contraception.  Raising money through fundraisers, online donations and through the business community to help reduce or eliminate the cost barriers for women to access the best birth control option for them.

We are committed to empowering Saint Louis women to pursue the future that they want with the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances they become pregnant. Providing time to complete an education or start a career. Time to find the right partner.  Healthier babies and kids. More women with improved economic security and opportunity for themselves and future generations.

 

We need your help!

Share us on social media, host a fundraiser or donate directly.

 

The Issues

 

In 2010 alone, 1.5 million unintended babies were born nationwide. Each year, nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States and 38 percent of births are unintended, defined as a birth that a woman was not intending or actively trying to achieve.  

 

When young adults become accidental parents, it disrupts educational plans, derails economic prospects, and greatly diminishes their unplanned child’s opportunities for success. Pregnancy and parenthood remain among the leading reasons why young people drop out of high school and community college. And, most unplanned children are born into poverty.  These babies are two-thirds more likely to have low birth weights. Their mothers are twice as likely to suffer from postpartum depression. Given the effects on social mobility for mothers, fathers, and family members, unintended pregnancy remains both a symptom and a cause of intergenerational poverty and inequality.

Moreover, unintended pregnancies cost federal and state taxpayers between

$9.6 billion and $12.6 billion annually in medical costs.

Today, just half of all unmarried and sexually active adults (ages 15 to 44) say they use contraception each time they have sex—yet many report that they do not want to become pregnant within the next year.

Even the sexually active adults who do use contraception find it failing them more than they expect. Over one year, the failure rate for condoms is one in five (when calculated by typical use) and one in for 10 for the pill.  That rate only increases over time of use. Indeed, many women who become unintentionally pregnant say they were using some form of contraception when they conceived. In part, this is due to a lack of information about how to get and use birth control. The pill is the preferred method of contraception in the United States, yet unless it is taken properly, it is often ineffective. Unintended pregnancies can also stem from a lack of access to and information about the most effective forms of contraception: intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the birth control implant, which are called long-acting reversible contraception (LARC).

IUDs and the implant require no daily effort, essentially eliminating issues of compliance. These contraceptive methods last from three to 10 years and have less than a 1 percent failure rate. Research shows that women have higher satisfaction rates with IUDs and the implant than other methods of contraception. That, in turn, leads to higher continued-usage rates. However, many women, especially those who are low income, cannot get IUDs or the implant due to issues with both access and awareness. Only 19 percent of federally qualified public health centers (FQHCs), an essential part of the medical safety net for the poor, make all methods available on site. Only 30 percent offer counseling

on IUDs and the implant as potential options. Local health departments, other Title-X funded clinics, and private providers who accept Medicaid are equally inconsistent in their administration of LARC.

Even when a woman opts for long-acting contraception, she may have to visit the doctor’s office one or two additional times before receiving it, steps that are medically unnecessary and greatly diminish the likelihood of getting and using the device. By contrast, a woman can usually receive contraceptive pills in one visit. Worse still, until recently, many health insurance providers did not cover either IUDs or the implant, forcing women to pay as much as $800. Though far cheaper over time than the pill, they are cost-prohibitive for many low-income women.  In addition, many women receive little to no guidance about contraception options and little help in separating myth from fact. Numerous states still provide

abstinence-only sex education in schools, and only 47 percent of low-income women are even able to get family planning services from publicly funded clinics including FQHCs, health departments, and some hospitals. Furthermore, a large majority of primary care providers report that they do not discuss

reproductive health or pregnancy with patients. This educational failure has resulted in 77 percent of people of reproductive age saying they know “little or nothing” about the implant. Sixty-eight percent say the same of IUDs.

In addition, 27 percent of women and 34 percent of men believe hormonal methods of contraception will cause serious health problems like cancer, despite clinical evidence to the contrary.  The result: Many women and men, especially those who are low income, are left in the dark about effectively preventing pregnancy.  And overall, just 10.5 percent of women ages 15 to 24 who take contraception use LARC.  The high rate of unintended pregnancies stems from a confluence of causes: poor knowledge about contraception options, a lack of high-quality counseling in the healthcare system about contraception, and uneven access to its safest and most effective forms.

Information taken directly from The Bridgespan Group.  For more information, resources and links go bridgespan-social-mobility-unintended-pregnancies-paper.pdf

 

Birth control options

Brighter Futures Foundation will help Saint Louis area women that are not wanting to become pregnant upgrade to one of the more effective LARC methods of their choice.  

LARC methods

Non-LARC methods

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