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Birth Control Pill Turns 50

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The birth control pill became available to women 50 years ago.
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The birth control pill became available to women 50 years ago.

By Kelsey Snell

Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill. Across the country, many low-income women lack access to the pill or other contraceptive devices. But according to the Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive health, the District does much better than average in that regard.

In Washington, many uninsured women rely on local government to provide them access to contraception drugs. The D.C. Healthcare Alliance, created by city council, provides services to an estimated 80 to 90,000 District residents each year.It provides low-cost birth control to uninsured women across the city.

Dr. Mark Hathaway, the director of OB/GYN Services for Unity, says one of the biggest challenges for the alliance is reaching out and letting more women know that services are available.

"We have what we call family planning care associates who do work in schools and churches and beauty salons. Their role is to try to educate women about contraceptive methods and family planning methods and then assist them in getting in to see one of the clinicians," says Hathaway.

Dorothy Wilson, who has been a patient at Unity Health Carefor two years, says "Care is very good. Family planning. I can really use that, yes."

Dr. Hathaway says the clinics offer women lots of reliable birth control options, many of which didn’t exist 50 years ago.

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