HEALTH

University of Utah opens rapid access contraception clinic after Roe ruling

Jul 28, 2022, 5:00 AM | Updated: 9:19 am
The University of Utah, U of U, Health has opened a new rapid contraception clinic, to give people ...
Protesters hold signs and chant at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 24, 2022, as they protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn of Roe v. Wade. Health officials say they saw increased demand for contraception after the ruling. (Scott G. Winteron/Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winteron/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah  Health (U of U) has opened a new rapid-access contraception clinic, to give people immediate access to birth control. The clinic mainly operates on Saturdays.

It was started by Dr. Erika Sullivan and medical resident Laurie Yeater as demand for contraception like IUDs, intra-uterine devices, and implants increased. This decision was made following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Clinic sees people from all demographics

Dr. David Turok is the director of the Division of Family Planning at the University of Utah Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He said the clinic sees people from all demographics.

“People have heightened awareness,” Turok said. “It’s normal and expected to see a spike.”

During COVID the U of U improved accessibility to other forms of birth control. However, Turok said LARCs, long-acting reversible contraception, have their own challenges.

“It requires an in-person visit,” he said. “And family physicians and primary care physicians in Utah are already at their max.”

Turok said that doctors decided to start a separate clinic just for this type of birth control “in order to meet this need around the Supreme Court decision-increased demand.”

Utah doctors volunteer at rapid contraception clinic

He said doctors are volunteering in their free time at the rapid contraception clinic. That’s in addition to seeing patients at their clinics. Turok said the U of U is working to incorporate doctor’s shifts at the rapid clinic into regular shifts.

The clinic offers same-day appointments. Dr. Turok said oftentimes there’s a wait to get into an initial appointment to see a doctor, nurse practitioner, or midwife. He said the quickest way to make an appointment outside of the clinic is through Planned Parenthood.

However, the best way to prevent unplanned pregnancies, he said, is through same-day appointments.

“When somebody wants a highly effective [contraception] method, and you can provide it … as soon as they desire, delaying that only increases people’s risks of unintended pregnancies and other adverse outcomes,” he said.

Turok said the U. is also working to make birth control more accessible financially. He said programs like HER Salt Lake and Family Planning Elevated also offer low- or no-cost birth control; they continue working to expand accessibility.

The Sugar House Health Canter is scheduling patients to get into the rapid access contraception clinic or the RAC clinic in Family Practice. It can be reached at (801) 581-2000.

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University of Utah opens rapid access contraception clinic after Roe ruling