The voices of health care professionals are important in this discussion; I commend the authors for noting that contraception can be a practical, rather than an ideological, issue. As a physician caring for women with complicated pregnancies, I echo the authors’ assertion that contraception has many practical benefits.

It is my job to help women have the healthiest pregnancies possible, so I would like to draw attention to another benefit of contraception: improved pregnancy outcomes. Multiple studies show that moms and babies are safer when pregnancies are spaced at an ideal interval, especially in high-risk pregnancies. For example, a woman who delivers a baby before term is significantly more likely to have another early delivery if she becomes pregnant again less than a year later. Preemies have longer hospital stays, ICU admissions and are at risk for life-long breathing problems, cerebral palsy and even death.

Even for average-risk women, infant mortality is higher after closely spaced pregnancies. Obviously, such spacing requires access to birth control.

We have the opportunity to protect moms and babies, reduce health care costs and even save lives. Utahns should encourage their representatives to support legislation expanding contraceptive coverage.

Cara C. Heuser, M.D., Park City