Contraception as Preventive Medicine

Updates in Clinical Care provided by The Ryan Center at the University of Chicago

An Ounce of Prevention 
Given the current climate of change and controversy surrounding contraceptive access, we should once again examine the importance of contraception as a tool for preventive medicine.

Contraception is the key to prevention.
More than half of all US women will experience an unintended pregnancy at some point in their lives, and nearly one-third will have an abortion (1, 2). Unfortunately, the rate of unintended pregnancy in the United States has seen no improvement in recent years, and there was a slight increase from 2001 to 2006, from 50 to 52 per 1,000 reproductive-aged women. Poor and low-income women are at even higher risk of unintended pregnancy: the rate for women at or below the poverty limit is 66 per 1,000 women, compared to 10 per 1,000 women who are at >200% of the poverty limit (1).

Although incorrect and inconsistent use of contraception account for some unintended pregnancies, the majority (52%) occur among the small percentage of women (16%) who are not using any contraception (3).

On a note of positive change, we have seen teen pregnancy in the United States decline significantly since the mid-1990s. Although abstinence has played a role, several analyses have confirmed that contraception is responsible for the majority of the decline in teen pregnancies (4, 5). To review some of the latest research in the area of contraception, see recent studies highlighted on our Reproductive Health & Justice Research blog.

Increasing access to contraception, especially highly effective methods of contraception, is a vital public health issue.

1.  Finer LB and Zolna MR, Unintended pregnancy in the United States: incidence and disparities, 2006, Contraception, 2011, 84(5):478–485.
2.  Jones RK and Kavanaugh ML, Changes in abortion rates between 2000 and 2008 and lifetime incidence of abortion, Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2011, 117(6):1358–1366.
3.  Gold RB et al., Next Steps for America’s Family Planning Program: Leveraging the Potential of Medicaid and Title X in an Evolving Health Care System, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2009.
4.  Santelli J, et al. Explaining Recent Declines in Adolescent Pregnancy in the United States: The Contribution of Abstinence and Improved Contraceptive Use, Am J Public Health, 2007, 97:150–156.
   5.  Teen Births at Record Low Thanks to Improvements in Contraceptive Use, New York: Guttmacher Institute, April 11, 2012, available at:


The Ryan Center & Contraceptive Care
We are pleased to announce two new exciting programs offered by the Ryan Center.

Carol’s Contraceptive Access Project (CCAP)
Due to a generous donation, we are now able to provide contraception for patients at the Ryan Center, regardless of insurance or ability to pay. We have low-cost options and financial assistance for:

  • Immediate insertion of intrauterine devices and implantable contraception (e.g. Implanon®)
  • Same-day injections of Depo-Provera®
  • Combined hormonal contraceptives (the pill, patch, and ring)

Center for Contraceptive Management
We offer the full range of contraceptive options, including, but not limited to:

  • Intrauterine device (IUD) and Implanon®/Nexplanon® insertion
  • Depo-Provera injections
  • Surgical and “no-cut” Essure® tubal sterilization
  • Prescriptions for: oral contraceptive pills, the contraceptive vaginal ring (NuvaRing®), the contraceptive patch (Ortho Evra®), and emergency contraception

      *We specialize in contraception for medically complicated patients.

Contact us at 773-702-6118 to make an appointment.


IUD Clinical Trial
Are you or your patient interested in receiving an investigational IUD for long-term birth control? Participants will be compensated up to $900 over the course of 5 years. Click here for more information. UPDATE: This study is now closed.

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