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Access to contraception for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women: necessary but not sufficient

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Comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care contributes to the autonomy of Indigenous women

The World Health Organization has long promoted a human rights-based view of the importance of access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care, including a reliable method for managing the spacing of children.1 Globally, this is important for improving the health and development of populations and limiting population growth. In Australia, overall rates of pregnancy in teenage women have been falling, although they are stable or even increasing in some disadvantaged subgroups, such as young women from remote areas or low socio-economic status backgrounds.2 Sexual activity rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous young people are broadly similar. Teenage pregnancy rates among young Indigenous women, however, are higher, and teenage birth rates are much higher, as non-Indigenous young people have greater access to and use the option of terminating a pregnancy.3,4

Many unintended pregnancies are the result of a failure of contraceptive methods that require daily action by the woman.5 Both globally and in the Australian setting, health care providers and policy makers have recognised the importance of long-acting reversible…