Inside Opinion

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Tag: birth control


Fewer abortions should be good news for everyone

Here’s news that everyone should hail – but probably won’t.

A new study conducted among thousands of women in St. Louis, Mo., shows that providing free birth control pays off in a big way – with fewer abortions and unwanted births.

When given access to the free contraception of their choice, women and teenagers in the study often opted for the most effective, most foolproof method – an implant or IUD that is good for years. Those methods are often beyond reach for low-income or uninsured women, so they tend to rely on cheaper, less effective methods – or nothing at all.

Abortion rates plummeted for women in the study given free birth control: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women compared with 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women overall in the St. Louis region and almost 20 abortions per 1,000 women nationally.

The results were particularly impressive in decreasing births among teenage girls in the study, with only 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers compared to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000.

What’s the takeaway here? Shouldn’t everyone see this as good news?

You might think so, but many abortion opponents also oppose giving away contraceptives – or providing them at all to teenagers – arguing that it encourages extramarital sex. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but the priority should be preventing unwanted pregnancy – which leads to all sorts of attendant costs, not only in lost human potential but also in additional health and welfare expenses to taxpayers.

Providing free access to the most effective contraception looks like a good way to get there.

Here’s the Associated Press article about the study, which came out Thursday. Read more »


Birth control coverage will be a boon for millions

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Contraceptive use in the United States is an issue fraught with irony.

The women who can least afford to get pregnant – including the young, the poor and the uneducated – often have the least access to effective birth control. They may not have health insurance, but even if they do, it might be subject to a deductible or co-pay. So they’re more likely to use cheaper, less effective methods like condoms – or nothing at all.

Little wonder the United States has the highest rate of unintended pregnancies in the industrialized world. Almost half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned, and about 40 percent of those end in abortion. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program alone spend more than $12 billion a year providing maternity care for low-income women and care for infants in the first year of life. Read more »