DARKE COUNTY — A 2015 Guttmacher Institute report shows that in 2010, 55 percent (109,00) of all pregnancies in Ohio were unintended.
The report shows the following data concerning public cost of unintended pregnancy in the state in 2010: 44,800 or 68.7 percent of unplanned births were publicly funded, compared with 68 percent nationally; federal and state governments spent $824.6 million on unintended pregnancies; of this, $605.8 million was paid by the federal government and $218.8 million was paid by the state; the total public costs for unintended pregnancies in 2010 was $369 per woman, aged 15–44 in Ohio, compared with $201 per woman nationally.
Making contraception more accessible is one way to reduce unintended pregnancies, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The most effective way to reduce abortion rates is to prevent unintended pregnancy by improving access to consistent, effective, and affordable contraception, the ACOG said.
According to the Guttmacher report, as of 2015, out of the 88 counties in Ohio, only 20 of them meet the needs of their populations. Sixty counties had only two or less publicly funded clinics, which includes: federally qualified health centers, hospital-based clinics and Planned Parenthood clinics, according to the National Campaign.org
The Guttmacher report shows that Darke County has four publicly funded clinics and they are federally qualified health centers. According to a U.S. Census, in 2010, Darke County had an estimated population of 52,962 with 50 percent being female and about 9,000 of those between the ages of 15 to 44.
Hans Gangeskar, ceo and co-founder of Nurx, a telemedicine start-up based in San Francisco, said research shows the easier and more affordable birth control is, the more women will use it. In response, Nurx focused on making birth control and Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) more accessible to everyone through an app, launched November 27.
“Nurx’s birth control app makes this a reality, by reducing the barriers to access often times at little or no cost to the patient,” Gangeskar said.
With the app, users can get a prescription from a doctor and have their medication delivered to their door, according to Nurx. After choosing their birth control type and brand, users answer medical questions online, and then enter their shipping and insurance information for a licensed physician to review. Once an online review is complete, the doctor will issue and fill the prescription, which will be delivered to their home, according to Nurx’s Medical Director Dr. Jessica Knox, of San Francisco, California.
Nurx has three providers licensed in Ohio, with more pending approval, directed by Dr. Knox. In addition to Knox, those providers include Dr. Nancy Shannon and Dr. Anne Chung. Knox said that women should not have to jump through unnecessary hoops just to access birth control.
“The (birth control) pill remains available by prescription only throughout the United States today, but with our app, we’re making birth control more accessible than ever,” she said. “We are making access easier, but we are not doing it by cutting corners. When you visit our website and take our survey, we are asking many of the questions doctors are asking at their offices. But many times we are asking questions they are not asking at doctor’s offices. Our service is completely adherent to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for prescribing birth control. We are working to improve access to birth control, but in a safe way that people can feel comfortable about.”
Knox added that some patients are fully on board with the app and some are more skeptical, as they want to be sure they are doing something safe online.
“I tell them to go to the state’s medical and pharmacy boards’ websites to look up our providers for verification,” she said.
Dr. Knox said, in addition to providing prescriptions and help choosing the prescriptions, Nurx provides ongoing follow up counseling for its patients, including questions about medications, or sexual health.
“A lot of people are more comfortable asking questions through messages and through our platform,” Knox said. “We offer a lot of education in addition to the prescriptions being delivered.”
According to Nurx, the app is available in Ohio, Indiana, Texas, California, New York, Washington state, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Virginia, Florida, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota and the District of Columbia. Nurx also plans to expand to more than 20 states in the coming weeks. For more information, visit Nurx.com.
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