The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included family planning as one of its "Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century." Rightfully so, as it is difficult to overstate the continuing and positive impact of contraceptive use on our society. On average, women will spend about three decades being sexually active but trying to avoid pregnancy. For most, that is possible only through reliable, effective contraception. Whether trying to avoid pregnancy or plan a family, access to birth control and reproductive health services is a necessary component of basic health care for women and families.
Enabling women and couples to determine whether or when to have children has contributed greatly to improved public health. Widespread use of contraceptives has been the driving force in reducing unintended pregnancies. Family planning has also improved maternal and child health and helps women participate fully and equally in society.
Yet, access to contraception is under attack in Congress and across the states. Funding for vital family planning programs is in jeopardy. At the same time, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 provides unprecedented opportunities to expand contraceptive availability and affordability. The National Partnership is working to ensure that public support for family planning programs continues and expands so all individuals have access to safe, affordable and reliable contraception.