Women’s access to crucial reproductive health services has been limited the past year throughout the United States.
In light of this current state of affairs, the internet has become a vital conduit for the dissemination of critical reproductive health information. Through online searches, individuals can learn where services are provided in their area, find nonprofits to support them, and schedule appointments. They can also find important educational content about sexual and reproductive health (SRH), thereby empowering them to make informed decisions for themselves.
Privacy is one of the most important benefits of using the internet to access all types of healthcare information. People can anonymously search for the information that they need without having to face any potential stigmas. In fact, 96% of adolescent girls in a recent study said that they used the internet to search for reproductive health information because of the privacy that the internet offers.
The internet is also a powerful tool because it offers the most up-to-date information. If a clinic changes its hours of operation or services offered, for example, one can likely find this information through a quick Google search.
However, over 21 million Americans are still offline, rendering many individuals unable to access key reproductive health information on the internet. It is thus necessary to increase the availability and affordability of both electronic devices and high-speed internet. It is also imperative to provide more digital literacy and skills training, so that individuals know how to search for and recognize accurate information online.
While getting more people connected to the internet is certainly not a substitute for adequate reproductive provisions and healthcare laws, it is definitely an important step that must be taken, particularly given the current legal restrictions on reproductive rights across the United States.