Many people come to know RHAP through our resources and the “Your Birth Control Choices” fact sheet is one of our most popular resources. Each year, RHAP picks one content area – abortion, miscarriage, or contraception – and goes through all of our resources to determine what needs updating, what we’re missing, and how we can expand. This year we are working on our contraception resources and we started with the “Your Birth Control Choices” fact sheet.
Reproductive Justice advocates have highlighted the need to think carefully about how health care providers discuss and present contraceptive options. We know that people make decisions on which contraception to use based on so many different factors – hormones, ease of use, feeling in control of the method, efficacy, cost, accessibility, impact on sex life and bleeding, and more. Generally, when you look around at the fact sheets available on contraception, the methods are in order of efficacy, with LARC methods at the top. This can signal to patients that certain methods are, overall, “better” than others. However, we all know that the best method of contraception is the one that you will use consistently and that feels right to you. We felt that ordering our fact sheet by efficacy might be playing into some of these influential, or even coercive, forces so we, very intentionally, looked at how we structured this fact sheet.
We started this exploratory process by first speaking with a consultant working in the Reproductive Justice field. They were extremely helpful in providing feedback, a new frame to look at this resource, and some starting points to help reformat the organization of the sheet. We also elicited feedback from over 35 individuals from around the country to see what they liked and did not like about our sheet. We asked questions about possible changes that we were thinking of making to the format and information included. Once we created a draft that included all of this feedback, we put it through our standard field testing processes. We included the additional feedback from field testing, and that is the version you see today on our website.
Some of the changes we made included:
- Organizing by alphabetical order (objective) vs. efficacy (subjective)
- Adding in permanent methods which required us to increase the length of the sheet
- Removing “pro vs. con” language
- Including pertinent information from our “Birth Control Across the Gender Spectrum”
We believe the changes we have made better reflect our values and the information that patients are looking for when making a decision around contraception. We hope that, after getting acquainted with the new format, you will come to love and use this resource as you did the previous iteration. These changes were also the result of listening to requests from the community, which we will continue to do! If you would like to send us your feedback or any questions about the new version of “Your Birth Control Choices,” please reach out! You can also check out our Contraceptive Pearl on the edits.