This is discussion about Instant Birth Control.
Dear Ms. Milner:
This program appears to set Planned Parenthood onto its next incarnation and into the next generation. If indeed women are able to be prescribed online, this could lead to the potential of the ability to prescribe other medicines. This platform could indeed be truly disruptive. The main concern is that what are the true potentials of this project scaling up and expanding into other states? We can imagine the regulatory framework as it stand, so contentious over the issue of birth control, it can greatly limit the growth of this initiative. Certainly women across the U.S. can appreciate this, what is PP's work in the policy realm to help expand such access nationwide? Also, is there a component to this program to ensure that women are also receiving the annual gynecological exam?
Thank you in advance for your response!
Expansion into Other States
Instant Birth Control already has a track record of successful expansion. The service launched in Oregon in 2004, after over a year of negotiation with Oregon’s Boards of Pharmacy and Nursing. PPCW immediately began negotiations with Washington State regulatory bodies and Planned Parenthood affiliates. In May 2006, PPCW began providing contraception online to women in Washington State, through a shared inter-affiliate revenue and expense model and common web infrastructure housed in Portland. We are confident that, with more time and resources, we can expand Instant Birth Control to serve millions more women.
Making Instant Birth Control available to women in states beyond Oregon and Washington will require partnerships with Planned Parenthood Federation of America, independent Planned Parenthood affiliates, and public policy decision makers in each state.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is committed to making Instant Birth Control available to women all over the nation through a common, national online health center. Many affiliates have expressed an interest in making Instant Birth Control available to women in their areas. We are exploring business models for federation-wide partnerships. PPFA has also pledged financial support for updating Instant Birth Control’s current user interface, to more closely replicate an online shopping experience.
PPCW is already in conversation with several other states with favorable regulatory environments for Instant Birth Control. We need to conduct a national analysis of regulatory and legislative environments affecting expansion. This analysis will identify state-by-state requirements of the Boards of Nursing and Pharmacies.
Currently the only reimbursement option for Instant Birth Control is self-pay, creating a barrier for teens and low-income women. This state-by-state analysis will identify opportunities to include online health care as a covered service by state and federal family planning programs for teens and low-income women.
The result of this analysis will be a 50-state plan for Instant Birth Control Expansion. We require approximately $500,000 for the legal and public affairs work necessary to expand coverage of Instant Birth Control by public family planning programs, and expand Instant Birth Control to serve women in other states.
Annual Gynecological Exams
Instant Birth Control maintains a balance between emphasizing the importance of an annual gynecological exam, and removing barriers to reliable birth control based on anxiety about the exam. Opening up access to contraceptives via the internet has the potential to encourage women to seek and use other Planned Parenthood health services, because they receive compassionate, quality counseling and education online.
We have many outreach opportunities for encouraging Instant Birth Control clients to obtain an annual exam. Some Instant Birth Control clients get annual exams have other regular providers, but choose to get their birth control online due to its convenience, or fear of judgment from other medical providers. Some teens and low-income women purchase birth control online, choose to pick up their medication at a health center, and learn that next time they will be eligible for free services and supplies with an in-person visit and annual exam. Currently, about 25 percent of women who come to us for Instant Birth Control later schedule an annual exam with Planned Parenthood.
I applaud the efforts to provide intelligent services to those who are unable to understand or take necessary steps to create healthy, planned families.
You'll have my vote. The fact that birth control exists is not enough. Women need easy access to the prescriptions and methods of birth control that are right for them. Too many women don't have this. If you live in a rural area, it could be hours to the nearest clinic. If you are stretched thin working for minimum wage and raising children, even if you live five minutes from a clinic, you may never see the building during open hours. I would love to see this program expanded across the states!