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Study: Election Of Trump Triggered 22% Spike In Birth Control Implants In US

Executive Summary

The surprise election of Donald Trump to the nation's highest office in 2016 spurred many US women to be implanted with long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), a study published Feb. 4 in JAMA Internal Medicine contends.

A large number of US women rushed to have a contraceptive intrauterine device (IUD) implanted after the 2016 US presidential election ushered Donald Trump into the Oval Office, a study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine contends.

Authors Lydia Pace, Stacie Dusetzina, Mara Murray Horwitz and Nancy Keating studied women aged 18 to 45 who had commercial health insurance 30 days before and 30 days after Nov. 8 in 2015 and 2016.

They discovered that the IUD implantation rate was 13.4 per 100,000 women 30 days before the Nov. 8, 2016, election, and 16.3 per 100,000 30 days after – a sharp increase of nearly 22%.

That's "700 additional insertions per day in association with the 2016 election, above the approximately 4,716 insertions per day that would have been otherwise predicted," the authors wrote.

For comparison, in 2015 the rate of IUD implantation was 12.9 per 100,000 women 30 days out from Nov. 8 of that year, and 13.7 per 100,000 30 days after. That's an increase of only 6%. (There was no national US election in 2015.)

"Our findings could reflect a response to fears of losing contraceptive coverage because of President Trump's opposition to the ACA," the study's authors write.

There has been other evidence that Trump's unexpected win in November 2016 led to an increase in IUD use. To wit: There was a significant uptick in sales for IUD-makers Alleran PLC and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. in the fourth quarter of 2016, and there were reports from AthenaHealth and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America that more women were requesting IUD inserts from their OB/GYNs and from Planned Parenthood community-based clinics shortly after the election. (Also see "Leap In US Sales Of IUDs Linked To Trump Election, ACA Repeal Efforts" - Medtech Insight, 27 Feb, 2017.)

The new study pins the increased use of IUDs on concerns by women at the time about the policies of the soon-to-be Trump administration – particularly, the gutting of the Affordable Care Act.

"The ACA's contraceptive coverage mandate is an important strategy to reduce unintended pregnancies. The Trump administration has weakened this mandate," the authors wrote. "Our findings could reflect a response to fears of losing contraceptive coverage because of President Trump's opposition to the ACA."

The authors go on to say that "an association of the 2016 election with reproductive intentions or LARC awareness" were other likely factors for the increased use of IUDs.

LARC is an anacronym for long-acting reversible contraceptives; IUDs can prevent pregnancies for up to 12 years.

The authors concede, however, that their study has limitations.

"We lacked information about important covariates, including race/ethnicity; we studied a short period after the election; and we only studied women with commercial insurance," they wrote, noting that 2017 data was not available when the study was conducted – although they suggested they could repeat the analysis for that year in the future.

From the editors of The Gray Sheet


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