Access to Emergency Contraception
The MA Department of Public Health (MDPH) is committed to helping women in need access Emergency Contraception (EC, or the “morning-after pill”). EC is a safe, effective way to prevent pregnancy up to five days after sex. A one-dose EC pill now available over-the-counter, however you still may be able to get a cheaper or more effective method of EC at an MDPH-funded Family Planning Program.
For more information or help to access EC, ask your health care provider, pharmacist, or:
- Find a family planning program near you for low or no cost EC and related counseling and referral services
- Get EC, and other medical, legal and support services following a sexual assault at any local hospital Emergency Department or by calling a Rape Crisis Center (800) 841-8371 (English) or (800) 223-5001 (Español) for information or even help getting to the hospital.
Family planning and health care reform
The MDPH Sexual and Reproductive Health Program supports the success of Massachusetts health reform by helping to enroll and transition uninsured clients into publicly-funded insurance and safety net programs. The program also provides critical family planning services to clients who are unable to stay insured throughout the year due to changing work and life circumstances, or who need confidential care.
Despite the success of health care reform, tens of thousands of clients continue to need access to MDPH-funded Family Planning Programs. While overall insurance rates have dramatically improved, not all Massachusetts residents are able to access continuous or comprehensive coverage that meets their sexual and reproductive health care needs, or the high quality standard of culturally competent, confidential health services that are provided by their local MDPH-funded Family Planning Program. Fortunately, the MDPH Sexual and Reproductive Health Program and funded agencies across the state continue to provide technical assistance and training to replicate this standard of care across other service systems.
Data and Reports
Healthy Relationships/Healthy Sexuality
Historically, multiple bureaus and programs at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health have worked to prevent the negative consequences of unhealthy relationships and sexual risk behaviors.
As a key primary prevention strategy to improve sexual health and well-being for all, the MDPH Healthy Relationships and Healthy Sexuality (HR/HS) Working Group was convened to promote and support multi-disciplinary efforts, not only to prevent negative health outcomes, but also to promote positive, healthy relationships and sexuality.
HR/HS working group mission
- To support the integration of multi-disciplinary programming, practices and policy
- To provide resources for understanding data trends and implementing promising practices, to support health promotion, risk reduction and disease prevention efforts
- To promote positive sexual development across the lifespan in order to improve the health and well-being of all Massachusetts residents
Newly revised for 2014, the Healthy Relationships, Sexuality and Disability Resource Guide is now available in both color and black and white, (as well as a modifiable Microsoft Word document) to help connect people living with disabilities with valuable health information. A promotional guide is also attached to help you share these resources via social media, program websites and communications.
- Working definitions PDF | (DOC)
- Guiding principles PDF | (DOC)
- Healthy Relationships, Sexuality and Disability Resource Guide PDF | (DOC)
- Healthy Relationships, Sexuality and Disability Resource Guide - B/W (PDF)
- HR/HS Disability Resources Promotional Guide
The promotion of healthy relationships, healthy sexuality, and sexual health requires a knowledge base grounded in family planning, infectious disease (including HIV/AIDS, STI, and viral hepatitis) prevention and treatment, substance use and abuse prevention and treatment, and violence prevention and intervention. Related programs at MDPH include:
Mandatory reporting and minor's access to confidential health services in Massachusetts
The following resources are provided to assist agencies in creating policies to ensure minors can access the health and social support services they need to stay healthy and free from harm.
Massachusetts State Law and Guidelines
- A Mandated Reporter's Guide to Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting (DOC)
Department of Children and Families (DCF) guide for mandated reporters of caretaker abuse and neglect as defined by a href="/regulations/110-CMR-2-glossary">DCF regulations at 110 CMR, section 2.00
- Division of Violence and Injury Prevention Guide to Reporting Abuse
Provides overview of abuse reporting requirements, instructions and contact information for mandated reporting to state agencies including DCF and the Department of Public Health (DPH) Division of Health Care Facilities Licensure and Certification Complaint Unit
- Mature minor rule
Provides overview of laws relating to mature minors’ ability to consent to care in Massachusetts.
- Office of the Child Advocate 2009 Annual Report (DOC)
Discusses important implications of the Child Welfare Law of 2008 requiring all mandated reporters who are professionally licensed by the Commonwealth to complete training to recognize and report suspected child abuse and neglect
- Department of Children and Families: Mandated Reporter eLearning Registration Form
- Middlesex Children’s Advocacy Center: 51A Mandatory Reporting Training
Policy briefs and position papers
- Guttmacher Policy Briefs on Minors Access and Consent:
- Joint position paper of the American Academy of Family Physicians, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and The Society for Adolescent Medicine
- Children’s Trust Fund: Guide to Implementing a School Reporting Protocol (PDF)
- Title X National Family Planning Training Center
- BARCC Youth Resource Line: (617) 902-2919
- For consultation and resources for youth survivors of sexual violence and their supporters
- DCF Child at Risk 24-hour Hotline: (800) 792-5200
- For immediate reporting of suspected abuse or neglect and consultation about mandatory reporting process
- Health Care for All Helpline: (800) 272-4232
- For information and support accessing confidential health insurance in Massachusetts
- Office of the Child Advocate: (617) 979-8360
- For resources and assistance providing quality services to children involved with state agencies in Massachusetts
- Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts: (617) 616-1616
- For assistance with judicial bypass process for minors seeking abortion