Lessons Learned from The Right Time Show How to Advance Reproductive Health During COVID-19 and Beyond
Missouri Foundation for Health
- The Right Time, implemented in Missouri a year before the pandemic and in operation during the pandemic, made significant changes and adjustments to meet its goal of ensuring comprehensive contraceptive access to all people, regardless of their circumstances.
- Curbside contraception and integration of sexual and reproductive health services with other social services reduced barriers to contraceptive uptake among TRT patients because people had a venue for safely obtaining contraception.
- TRT demonstrated that the shift away from providing contraceptive care only in person has expanded access for many people, particularly those living in contraceptive deserts.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted reproductive health systems across the world, it offers researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and communities the opportunity to identify innovative strategies that promote access to contraception. This brief presents lessons learned from The Right Time, a multipronged reproductive health initiative in Missouri that supports policy, service delivery, and people-centered innovation. Drawing on 47 interviews conducted in summer 2021 with clinic staff, patients, and community partners, the brief discusses the changes COVID-19 brought to the reproductive health landscape in Missouri and how The Right Time adjusted its strategy to ensure access to comprehensive contraceptive care. It also provides insight into how continuing the reproductive health strategies developed by The Right Time during the pandemic—particularly at the levels of policy, health and social service delivery, and community—can expand contraceptive access and advance people’s autonomy in making decisions about their reproductive health throughout the pandemic and beyond.