Birth Control Surge Puts Pressure On Local Wyoming Clinics

Nov 29, 2016

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Following the election, family planning centers in Wyoming say they saw a sharp increase in women seeking long-term contraceptives. But that surge has not been accompanied by increased funding for the cash-strapped clinics.

Nationwide, donations have poured into reproductive health organizations like Planned Parenthood, but in Wyoming, there is only one Planned Parenthood clinic, in Casper.

In the rest of the state, the Wyoming Health Council oversees the funding for nine family planning centers under Title X, a federal law that funds health services to low-income people. Council Executive Director Susie Markus said the clinics' budgets can be tight, making it difficult to handle a surge in demand for expensive long-acting contraceptives like IUDs and implants. 

“When they hear that access to reproductive health care and birth control that are publicly supported might be at risk, then they are more likely to want to try and get that now and have it last,” said Markus.

But Markus is hoping to raise additional funds to help cover the recent surge in demand. Some clinics in the state have seen a slight uptick in donations in recent days.

“So it was very exciting, because I didn’t expect it,” said Markus. “So, yesterday we started getting emails from our PayPal account, that donations were coming in. But they weren’t from Wyoming, they were from across the country.”

Markus said because federal funding is not available to clinics that offer abortions, Wyoming's family planning clinics do not provide that service.  Markus said they do, however, provide preventative care, like breast exams and cancer screenings.