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Letter to the Editor: Missourians want greater access to birth control

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It’s been over a year since Missouri banned abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, yet health care providers and advocates alike continue to face an uphill battle correcting misinformation in the fallout from the decision.

A recent survey by The Right Time, an initiative of the Missouri Foundation for Health and led by the Missouri Family Health Council Inc., found that 84% of respondents (82% of Republicans, 90% of Democrats and 85% of Independents) support people having access to all methods of birth control, including emergency contraception.

EC is birth control taken after unprotected or underprotected sex – it’s a safe and reliable method to prevent pregnancy, but over half (53%) of Missourians polled do not believe or do not know EC is legal. EC is not the same thing as a medication abortion.

In an effort to reduce financial and geographic barriers to EC while addressing this misinformation, Missouri Family Health Council launched its Free EC project in June. Free EC offers completely free emergency contraception to anyone of any age who requests a kit on MFHC’s website. Kits are also available at over 50 community distribution partner locations across the state.

While Free EC is an important and vital project, further investment in the health care safety net is needed, especially at this time when reproductive health care is already in deep crisis. Seventy-two percent of Missourians believe the state legislature should pass policies that make birth control more affordable and accessible, according to the survey by The Right Time.

Lawmakers must make increasing contraceptive access a priority in 2024. It’s what constituents want and what Missouri deserves.

—Michelle Trupiano, executive director of Missouri Family Health Council Inc.

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