Kavita Shah Arora, MD, MBE, MS from the UNC Health Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology was invited to speak at the Biden-Harris Administration hosted roundtable discussion this month discussing the barriers to contraception access in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Xavier Becerra, hosted the roundtable discussion to hear from medical providers, reproductive health experts, and data scientists to understand barriers to reproductive health research following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision.
Dr. Arora spoke on the Medicaid sterilization consent policy, a known barrier to care for postpartum sterilization. “Approximately 30-50% of patients with Medicaid who desire postpartum sterilization do not receive it due to a number of barriers, including the federal policy, and almost 50% of those who do not receive it become pregnant in the following year,” said Dr. Arora. “I spoke about policy-level changes that could be implemented to ameliorate this barrier.”
Secretary Becerra was joined by Jennifer Klein, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Gender Policy Council. Both leaders emphasized the need to support those who are seeking reproductive care and contraception, as well as those providing care.
Dr. Arora outlined additional barriers to contraception access including lack of information regarding the various options, insurance limitations, implicit bias, lack of trained providers, clinic and hospital closures, and lack of Medicaid expansion and 12 months of postpartum Medicaid coverage. “It is important that each person have access to comprehensive contraceptive care,” said Dr. Arora.
This roundtable marked the 4th meeting in a series hosted by the Secretary’s Task Force on Reproductive Health in response to President’s Biden’s executive order on securing access to reproductive and other healthcare services, which directed the HHS to consider ways to measure the impact of access to reproductive health care on maternal and other health outcomes.
Dr. Kavita Shah Arora is the Director of the Division of General Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Midwifery, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UNC Health. Her clinical, research, and education interests center around reproductive justice and ensuring evidence-based and equitable reproductive health policy, with a focus on sterilization disparities. She has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has been funded by the NIH, HRSA, Greenwall Foundation, and the Society for Family Planning. She was named a 40 under 40 leader in minority health by the National Minority Quality Forum.