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Contraception and abortion in times of COVID-19: access, policy responses and groups most affected in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay

Javiera Fanta Garrido, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting access to family planning services in low- and middle-income countries. In Latin America in particular, the health crisis is undermining progress towards ending the unmet need for contraception by 2030. Indeed, the percentage of women with an unmet need for modern contraception in the region could raise, on average, from 11,4% to 17,7% between 2020 and 2021 (UNFPA, 2020). The objective of this research was to identify the factors that have determined access to contraception and abortion in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay during the COVID-19 pandemic. 23 interviews to key informants and stakeholders from the concerned countries were conducted between October and November 2020. The work discusses how pre-existing conditions on sexual and reproductive health shape access to family planning services during the pandemic. In addition, the study identifies the population subgroups most at risk and suggests recommendations for policymaking. In those areas with solid primary health care systems and cross-cutting policies, fewer access barriers to contraception and abortion services were detected. With regards to the impacts on fertility, while global fertility levels could maintain their downward trend, adolescent fertility is likely to experience significant increases, especially in Chile

Keywords: COVID-19, Family planning and contraception, Gender

See paper.

  Presented in Session 120. COVID-19 and Sexual and Reproductive Health