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Bonamici, Oregon Reproductive Health Leaders Work to Empower Patients to Make Informed Decisions, Improve Health Outcomes

November 28, 2017
Press Release
EQUIP Act Builds on Successful Oregon Program


HILLSBORO, OR [11/28/17] – Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Oregon reproductive health leaders held a discussion about legislation the Congresswoman introduced to improve maternal and infant health outcomes and reduce rates of unintended pregnancy.

The Enhancing Questions to Understand Intentions for Pregnancy (EQUIP) Act supports evidence-based pregnancy intention screening initiatives that facilitate important, patient-centered conversations between women and their health care providers. These initiatives prepare health care providers to routinely ask female patients of child-bearing age whether they want to become pregnant in the upcoming year, and subsequently provide appropriate pre-pregnancy or contraceptive care and counsel. The EQUIP Act will create a grant program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement and evaluate pregnancy intention screening nationally.

“Families and communities thrive when women are able to have healthy, planned pregnancies,” said Bonamici. “Pregnancy intention screening is brilliantly simple and effective, but it requires a commitment and education for health care providers. Studies show that empowering women and their health care providers to have a conversation about pregnancy intention improves maternal and infant health outcomes and reduces rates of unintended pregnancy. I’m proud to promote Oregon’s success with pregnancy intention screening and advance the implementation of similar initiatives nationally.”

“Congresswoman Bonamici is a champion for women’s health care. We are pleased that she recognized the importance of pregnancy intention screening in offering patient-centered care for women, regardless of their family planning needs,” stated Grayson Dempsey, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon and the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health. “During this time when there are so many attacks on women’s health care, this is legislation we can all agree on. The EQUIP Act is an important step in increasing positive maternal and infant health outcomes as well as ensuring that all women have access to reliable contraception methods.”

“As the Family Planning provider for Washington County Public Health since September 2015, Neighborhood Health Center was pleased to host Congresswoman Bonamici and the roundtable discussion on the EQUIP act, new legislation in support of women’s reproductive health issues designed to empower women and create programs that support health choices and options for women. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici has been a strong advocate of women’s issues, particularly those centered around women’s reproductive health, values at the core of NHC’s mission and vision,” said Jeri Weeks, CEO of Neighborhood Health Center. NHC is a community health organization with seven clinics in the Portland area serving over 14,000 patients, and 50 percent or more are women.

Bonamici modeled this legislation on One Key Question™, a pregnancy intention screening initiative developed by the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health that has already led to positive outcomes. For example, an early pilot at Washington County, Oregon Family Planning clinics in 2013 confirmed that sixty percent of the 2,500 women screened were happy with their current method of contraception—but 23 percent received new contraceptive services after discussing options with their provider. Another 12 percent of the women were given pre-pregnancy care and advised to start folic acid, which leads to healthier pregnancies and improved birth outcomes. The pilot also improved providers’ ability to provide services and referrals to address other conditions identified during discussions with patients about pregnancy, such as intimate partner violence, mental health disorders, and substance abuse. Further pilots are yielding similar results, and this model is now being implemented at sites in at least 30 states.

You can read a summary of the EQUIP Act here.