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Study Shows Pelvic Exams Not Necessary to Prescribe Birth Control

A new study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) summarizes a decade of research that shows while clinical pelvic and breast examinations are important to women’s’ healthcare, additional exams are not necessary and should not be required before doctors prescribe hormonal birth control. The study, led by Dr. Felicia H. Stewart, shows that a woman’s medical history provides sufficient information to determine if the woman should avoid hormonal contraceptives.

A yearly gynecological exam at a doctor’s office includes a pelvic exam, Pap Smear, breast exam and blood pressure test and costs between $80-$220, depending on the doctor or clinic. Requiring the exam in order to receive birth control often poses a significant financial burden on some women and delays the use of contraceptives, which can result in unwanted pregnancies.

Sources:

Journal of American Medical Association Vol. 285 N. 17 Ð May 2, 2001; Feminist Majority Foundation Ð Study & Action Manual

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