EC Not Available At All Teen Health Clinics In NYC
Emergency contraception only is available at 15 of the 38 teen health clinics operated by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation despite a campaign that aimed to increase accessibility, according to a report released Sunday by the city's Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, the AP/WNBC reports (AP/WNBC, 9/23).
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in April 2005 announced a $3 million initiative to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the city through expanded access to EC and family planning services and improve maternal and infant outcomes. Under the Healthy Women/Healthy Babies Initiative, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene spent $1 million on the Emergency Contraception Education and Outreach Campaign to increase awareness of EC, which can prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 5/25/05).
For the report, Gotbaum and her investigators called 38 teen health clinics and 11 health department clinics in the city to learn if the facilities were providing patients with EC, birth control pills and female condoms. The report found that more than 60% of the clinics do not have EC available, 73% of the health department sites do not provide birth control by prescription and that seven of the 38 teen health clinics had female condoms available.
The corporation in a statements aid Gotbaum's report confuses "teen" health clinics that provide pediatric care with adolescent health centers where reproductive and adolescent medicine is practiced. The corporation said it would conduct additional training for staff who might be asked about the availability of EC but added, "In the case of Child Health Clinics, the staff correctly advised that access to EC was not available at those locations." The city health department also disputed Gotbaum's report and said that it "makes many incorrect assumptions and its conclusions are unfounded" (AP/WNBC, 9/23).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org.