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Poor women need more birth control information

July 03, 2006

Re: "The Birth Control Divide" [June 26]: Understanding the reality poor and uneducated women face is crucial to working with them to lower rates of unintended pregnancies. In recent focus groups conducted with low-income women of color, immigrant and young women in Los Angeles, we learned that they were seldom given information about the birth control prescribed to them. Similar to the Emory University findings, women told us that unexpected side effects were a major factor in their decision to stop using birth control.

Our research further indicates that women very much want and need linguistically and culturally appropriate information so that they can make birth control decisions for themselves. It is this lack of information, as well as a sub-par healthcare system that limits the time providers have to spend with their low-income patients, that contributes to poor and uneducated women having higher unintended pregnancies than affluent women.

BETHANY LEAL

Director,

Economic and Reproductive

Justice Projects, California

Women's Law Center

Los Angeles

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