Free Birth Control Means Way Fewer Abortions

free birth control abortion

When condoms fail, free birth control can come in handy in preventing pregnancy–and abortion. | Source: Shutterstock

In news that will shock no one with a triple-digit IQ, a new study says that free birth control leads to way fewer abortions. Surprise!

The study tracked 9,000 women in the St. Louis area, a lot of whom were uninsured or poor (or, in many cases, both). The women were given a choice of pretty much whatever birth control method they wanted at no cost to them. Sweet deal, right?

It turns out that when price isn’t an issue, women and girls tend to spring for the most effective birth control options, which are usually hormonal implants. That leads to fewer unplanned pregnancies, which, in turn, leads to fewer abortions. The reason more women don’t go for hormonal implants to begin with? They’re pricey, and a lot of women and girls struggle with the upfront costs and copays to get them (even though years of birth control pills pretty much add to the same amount, pills don’t present a giant lump sum all at once). Additionally, a lot of young women don’t realize they’re an option, because docs don’t always mention them, either because they assume that implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) aren’t for young women (which was a common belief until recently), or because docs assume women would rather just snag the pill.

The free birth control had a huge effect on teen pregnancy rates. There were only about 6 births for every 1,000 women in the study, while the national rate in 2010 was about 34 to every 1,000. Not coincidentally, there were a lot lower abortion rates as a result: There were between 4 and 7 abortions for every 1,000 women in the free birth control study, as opposed to the national rate, which is around 20 to every 1,000.

The moral of the story? Give women access to free birth control and there won’t need to be so much of a pro-choice or pro-life argument. This is something everyone should be able to agree on: Pro-lifers will be preventing abortions by preventing unplanned pregnancies, and pro-choicers are preventing the very pregnancies they want to protect the right to terminate. Because the fact is, no one wants an abortion. It’s not something people do for fun, for sport, or for a hobby–it’s something someone does because they’re in a bad situation.

Those bad situations can be avoided by providing resources and funding to finance free birth control to those who need it the most. Now, some of you may argue that you should have to pay for someone else’s birth control, but hear us out: Doing so will save us all money in the long run, because birth control is a lot cheaper to fund than the necessary childcare, prenatal care, healthcare, and welfare programs to raise unplanned children (and telling people not to have sex doesn’t work). Often women and girls in lower income brackets don’t have the necessary education or funds to prevent pregnancy and nab contraception, and these are the women often most likely to seek out abortions. If we prevent pregnancies, we’ll prevent unwanted abortions, and maybe eventually phase out the need for a lot of them–because at the end of the day, every abortion is, on some level, unwanted.

Do you think free birth control should be available to everyone? Do you think free birth control will lower abortion rates on a national scale? Do you think free birth control would eventually phase out the need for abortion entirely? Tell us in the comments!

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Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, Your Body
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  • Artemis95

    I will say, while I don’t believe the government should use everyone else’s tax dollars to pay for someone else to have sex (which is a choice, not a right), and religious organizations DEFINITELY should not be forced to provide it, women should be directed to private organizations and charities that do. I don’t believe there is ever a need for abortion, and believe strongly that it should not be legal. I may be Catholic, and will not use it myself (nor will I have sex before marriage), but birth control, even if it is a sin, isn’t nowhere near as bad as killing a child that has already has been conceived. Birth control can, and does, help. Still, there has to be some personal responsibility. It isn’t 100%. If you know you couldn’t handle the possible consequences and responsibilities (not just unwanted pregnancy, but STDs, emotional consequences, and, yes, the cost of birth control) you shouldn’t be having sex. It’s just that simple. As much as would love do do a lot of things I enjoy, I don’t because they are unnecessary luxuries I can’t afford. Sex is no different.

  • Anna

    As I always say: Any time is the right time for safe sex

  • Boomer

    Or, just DON’T HAVE SEX.

    • N.

      Sure, you don’t have to have sex. But its kinda obnoxious to tell someone else what they can or can’t do with their own body, or sexually at all.

      • Artemis95

        So, clearly, you must also support prostitution. After all, how dare the government make laws saying people can’t have sex for money? It’s their body.

  • Lalana

    I’m a very commited Catholic, and even though I personally wouldn’t take some of these forms of birth control I think this is great. People need to stop the problem before it happens. Unwanted pregnancies, no matter what option you choose, are emotionally stressful and scarring.

  • Jawanza

    Free is a word everyone can agree with

    • Artemis95

      Not when “free” is paid for by everyone else.