EVIDENCE TO ADVANCE
JUSTICE NOW AND ALWAYS
RIGOROUS RESEARCH. BOLD IDEAS. IMPROVING WOMENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S LIVES.
At Ibis Reproductive Health, we believe in the power of research to push forward strong, evidence-based policies and effective, highquality reproductive health information, services, and product innovations. We work with our partners around the world to identify the research questions that need answers, and to generate evidence that can be used to improve the sexual and reproductive health of women and communities. As we face a hostile political climate in the United States, we will need to be even more creativeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and we are up for the challenge. We have seen the concrete effects that the right research at the right time can have, and hope that you will take a moment to read about some of the highlights from our work in 2016 in the following pages. Now more than ever, it is essential to document the effects of harmful policies, and to understand what it means to individuals and communities when needed services are out of reach. Though politics may not always be driven by science, our work has shown us time and time again that people are hungry for the facts and that ultimately evidence can and will drive positive change. Please support our ambitious plans for 2017 by making a donation to Ibis. The need and opportunities for rapid action using rigorously collected data are often unpredictable, and it is critical that we continue to have the ability to quickly respond to events and circumstances as they occur. Our commitment to addressing urgent, under-researched reproductive health issues is all the more important. We look forward to working with our colleagues, our partners, and our donors to build evidence for a new era.
1. POSTER FRIENDS PRINT A1.pdf
In South Africa, we have broadened the reach of our mmoho campaign, informed by our research, which is being rolled out by partners in Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Western Cape, and Limpopo provinces. Mmoho uses a positive, rights-based approach to change the conversation about teenage pregnancy and to advocate for comprehensive and accessible sexual and reproductive health services for young people. We have engaged youth around the country to tell their stories, gained new campaign partners, and held media workshops to educate journalists and transform how they understand and write about teenage pregnancy and abortion. These workshops were covered in national newspapers and radio outlets.
Working with a diverse group of dynamic partners, we are building the movement to move a birth control pill over the counter (OTC) in the United States. We provided research and technical expertise on OTC contraceptive coverage to our Maryland partners to help pass Maryland’s Contraceptive Equity Act, signed into law in May 2016. By guaranteeing that OTC birth control medications are covered off the shelf with no prescription needed, this law will enable Maryland women to fully benefit from OTC access to emergency contraception—and a future OTC birth control pill. We are sharing information about the potential of an OTC pill with a wide audience through freethepill.org, which provides updates on accessing birth control without a doctor’s prescription and invites readers to share how an OTC pill can impact them. Our latest resources include an overview of how OTC access differs from new pharmacist-prescribing provisions in California and Oregon and other states, and a guide to all of the web and phone apps that are now available to help people to get a prescription for the pill online, without a doctor’s visit.
As a part of the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP), we demonstrated the importance of rigorous research to fight unnecessary restrictions on reproductive health and promote reproductive justice. The Supreme Court victory in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt was grounded in evidence produced by TxPEP and other researchers. TxPEP work was repeatedly cited in the arguments and the Court’s opinions and was instrumental in illustrating the harms that sham abortion restrictions in Texas have caused women in the state. Our results showed that women whose nearest clinic closed due to the Texas restrictions faced substantial burdens compared to those whose nearest clinic remained open, including increased travel distances, high out-of-pocket costs, and decreased access to medication abortion. We also showed that burdens from clinic closures prevented some women from being able to access a wanted abortion.
Photo credit: Mike Morgan
We have produced groundbreaking research on the serious harm caused by restricting public funding for abortion. Worldwide, we found that the US policy restricting public funding of abortion is a global outlier; the vast majority of the countries with liberal or liberally interpreted abortion laws like the US either fully or partially cover abortion care using public funding. We also joined with Ipas to produce a comprehensive review of the Hyde and Helms Amendments—linking domestic and international funding restrictions—and how they harm access to abortion, and supported All* Above All with research during the Hyde Week of Action. Our research briefs highlighted data on the impact of public funding restrictions, like the fact that women typically pay 70-80% of the total cost out-ofpocket for an abortion before 20 weeks. Public funding for abortion where broadly legal Full funding Partial funding Exceptions only No funding Abortion not broadly legal
Grossman D, Grindlay K, Burns B. Public funding for abortion where broadly legal. Contraception. 2016; 94(5): 453-60.
We continue to lead the efforts to use telemedicine and novel mobile approaches to increase access to abortion services. Our work has demonstrated that telemedicine strategies can improve access to safe, effective, high-quality abortion careâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;especially in remote or rural settings where access to services can be limited. And we are working on a smartphone application that will put information directly into the hands of women who need it.
We have deepened our pioneering work to bring research methods to bear on critical measurement issuesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;like how to assess quality of abortion care. This year, we completed research on quality of reproductive health care in Ghana and South Africa, identifying indicators that matter most to women. We also continue to provide technical assistance to five service-delivery organizations around the globe to document and evaluate interventions that aim to reduce abortion stigma among women and providers. Finally, we launched a new study to both better understand womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experiences with and to document the prevalence of abortion outside of formal sector services in South Africa, piloting a novel sampling strategy: Respondent Driven Sampling. As the first study of its kind, our results have the potential to improve upon and inform global abortion research methods.
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