Prominent racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy, abortion, and unintended births exist in the United States. These disparities can contribute to the cycle of disadvantage experienced by specific demographic groups when women are unable to control their fertility as desired. In this review we consider 3 factors that contribute to disparities in family planning outcomes: patient preferences and behaviors, health care system factors, and provider-related factors. Through addressing barriers to access to family planning services, including abortion and contraception, and working to ensure that all women receive patient-centered reproductive health care, health care providers and policy makers can substantially improve the ability of women from all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds to make informed decisions about their fertility.
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