Adolescent Access to Reproductive Health Care

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Excerpt

“Nurses on the Front Lines: Improving Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Across Health Care Settings” (Cultivating Quality, January) is a timely and important guide for nurses nationwide. However, the article doesn't address how policy under the new administration may impact our ability to provide reproductive health care to adolescents.
If successful, the recent move to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may inhibit adolescent access to sexual and reproductive health care and treatment, as the ACA guarantees contraceptive coverage. The Guttmacher Institute describes the new administration's agenda as jeopardizing “women's access to safe, legal abortion and affordable birth control.”1 As nurses, we need to preserve the United Nations declaration that adolescents’ access to sexual and reproductive health care is a universal right.2
Access is inextricably linked to policy. Provision 9 of the new Code of Ethics for Nurses “recognizes the responsibility of nursing organizations to advocate for changes in health policies on local, national, and international stages.”3 In order to ensure sexual and reproductive health care access for adolescents today, nurses and nursing organizations must take a proactive role in shaping policy. Nurses who provide health care to adolescents are on the front lines and must be advocates at a time when attitudes toward sexual and reproductive health are increasingly polarized.
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