Early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: findings from the 2020 Guttmacher survey of reproductive health experiences

Case Studies & Research
New York
Guttmacher Institute
13 p.

This report provides an initial look at newly collected data on the emerging impact of the pandemic on women’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and reproductive autonomy in the United States. It focuses on the following indicators: Childbearing preferences; Contraceptive use; Access to contraception and other SRH services; Telemedicine for contraceptive care; Exposure to intimate partner violence. The authors conclude that, even in the short period covered by the survey, the COVID-19 pandemic has already had an impact on women’s sexual and reproductive lives. It has affected their ability to obtain needed SRH care and contraceptive services, raised their concerns about affording and accessing this care and shifted their fertility preferences. These effects have not been evenly distributed and tend to be felt by groups bearing the brunt of existing inequities. In this way, the pandemic has illuminated systemic failings that perpetuate health and social disparities. The impacts analyzed in this report are fairly immediate to the current conditions of the crisis; in the longer term, the pandemic is likely to have larger and more varied effects.

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