Early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: findings from the 2020 Guttmacher survey of reproductive health experiences

Case Studies & Research
New York
Guttmacher Institute
13 p.

In this report, the authors examine new data collected from cisgender women in the United States on how they feel that the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced their SRH. They also examine women’s reports of pandemic-related economic challenges and how these challenges intersect with their sexual and reproductive experiences. Across these analyses, particular attention is given to longstanding social and economic inequities experienced by women based on their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or income level. To understand the scope and magnitude of these initial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, the authors compare them directly with the SRH challenges observed as part of the social and economic instability following the 2008 Great Recession. The authors conclude that, even in the short period covered by the survey, the COVID-19 pandemic has already had an impact on women’s sexual and reproductive lives. It has affected their ability to obtain needed SRH care and contraceptive services, raised their concerns about affording and accessing this care and shifted their fertility preferences. These effects have not been evenly distributed and tend to be felt by groups bearing the brunt of existing inequities. In this way, the pandemic has illuminated systemic failings that perpetuate health and social disparities.

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