Monday, July 20, 2015

You want to stop abortion? Give free birth control

Free Birth Control: An Evidence-Based Policy

Posted by Ross Pomeroy

The Affordable Care Act required many types of birth control to be made available to women free of charge, but not everyone can take advantage. Millions of women too poor to afford private insurance or working at employers granted a religious exemption to the law are still on the hook for contraception, the costs of which can range from $15 to $50 a month for pills to an$800 up-front cost for an intrauterine device (IUD).

There is, of course, a simpler solution to ensure that women have access to contraception: make it free for all low-income women. Publicly funded birth control.

Public birth control is an issue enveloped in ideology. Let's strip it all away and look at the evidence.

From 2007 to 2011, doctors at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis provided free birth control and counseling services to 9,256 women and girls ages 14 to 45 in the St. Louis, Missouri area. The effort was a resounding success. Abortion rates among study participants were 62 to 78% lower than the national average. Critically, among girls ages 15 to 19 enrolled in the study, the annual birth rate was 6.3 per 1,000, well below the U.S. rate of 34.3 per 1,000 for girls the same age.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina conducted a similar study in 2010, providing free IUDs to low-income women and comparing their pregnancy rates to a control group of women without free birth control. Rates of pregnancy were significantly lower in the group given IUDs.

(Continued here.)


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