Well whaddya know: A new study shows that increasing access to birth control could reduce the unintended pregnancy and abortion rates by nearly two-thirds.
As extremists in Congress threaten birth control access for millions, new research shows that reducing barriers and increasing access to the full range of birth control methods could reduce unintended pregnancy and abortion rates nationwide in a big way — by a 64% and 67%, respectively. What’s more, doing so would cut related costs to the health care system by a whopping $12 billion annually.
Stating the Obvious: Repealing ACA and Blocking Patients from Planned Parenthood Would Hurt Birth Control Access
Who offers the full range of birth control again? Where oh where could women access this basic form of health care? Oh yeah: Planned Parenthood health centers. Each year, more than 2 million people rely on Planned Parenthood for affordable birth control.
And what’s the thing that helps women afford birth control? The thing that guarantees insurance companies cover it sans copay? That’s right: the Affordable Care Act (ACA). More than 55 million women have access to no-copay birth control through the ACA.
But in a move that defies reason, House Republicans introduced a bill to repeal the ACA and block Medicaid patients from care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Repealing the ACA would take away access to no-copay birth control for those 55 million women. The plan would also threaten birth control access for millions of Planned Parenthood patients, over half of whom rely on Medicaid.
As a health care provider, I see what [birth control access] means for my patients. Women and families are healthier, and women who want to are better able to plan their families, their lives, and their futures.
We’ve made tremendous gains in this country with expanded access to birth control, and we must continue to build on that progress. Too many people still face barriers to health care, especially young people, people of color, those who live in rural areas, and people with low incomes. We cannot let politicians in Congress take us backwards.— Raegan McDonald-Mosley, Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Why We Must Protect Access to Birth Control
For context to the study, you need to know that, here in the United States, we’re at a:
30-year low for the unintended pregnancy rate,
40-year low in the teen pregnancy rate, and
Record low in the number of abortions.
What do researchers attribute these historic improvements to? The increase in access to of contraception, especially highly effective methods of birth control.
Here’s where Planned Parenthood comes in: Its locations are more likely to offer a full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods than health departments or federally qualified health centers. By increasing access to all forms of birth control and high-quality contraceptive counseling, Planned Parenthood helps women choose the methods that work best for their bodies and lifestyles.
Blocking Access Hurts Marginalized Communities
Even with this progress, affordable birth control and other care remains out of reach for far too many people, especially for young people, people of color, those who live in rural areas, and people with low incomes. These are the same groups who would be disproportionately hurt by efforts to block patients from care at Planned Parenthood.
Historically, marginalized communities not only have worse access to reproductive health care — they also have worse health outcomes as well as higher rates of unintended pregnancy. This is a result of barriers that can make it difficult or impossible to access health care, including poverty, lack of transportation, lack of paid sick leave, lack of childcare, lack of insurance, the risk of detention and deportation, and a historical distrust of the medical community.