The Coronavirus pandemic has made it more difficult for women in England to access contraception, a report has found.
Today, Thursday September 10, a group of MPs on an all-party parliamentary group published their findings from looking into contraception services in the country over the past few years - with new evidence being gathered in recent months in the wake of Covid-19.
The report, from the Faculty of Reproductive and Sexual Healthcare group (FRSH), found that the pandemic has forced many GPs and sexual health clinics to 'limit provision of contraception', particularly when it comes to Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs) such as the implant, coil and injection.
The group found that more than a third of women surveyed (38%) said they had faced challenges in getting their contraception during Coronavirus, running the risk of an increase in unwanted pregnancies.
The report acknowledged that while there have been some digital services in lieu of face-to-face appointments for contraception, this runs the risk of excluding people living in rural communities, isolated people like those living with an abusive partner and in poorer communities where they can't afford the internet - stressing the need for walk in and face-to-face clinics.
Services also said they had noticed a 'drop' in the number of young people from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds requesting care, 'leading to concerns that these marginalised groups may have been particularly affected by restrictions in access to care.'
Though the Covid-19 pandemic has inadvertently worsened the situation, there was very real and strong concerns about fair and ready access to contraception in England before these latest findings.
The report notes that due to the cuts in public health grant given to local authorities, sexual health and contraception services have been the victims of slashed spending, with the sexual health budgets cut by 12% between 2015 and 2017 and contraception budgets cut by 13% amounting to £25.9 million.
Last year, ELLE investigated how Brexit could also affect our access to contraception, following reports of shortages of several types of contraceptive pill which were imported from Europe.
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