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!