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WASHINGTON, DC -- In response to an opinion released yesterday from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) calling for a reduction in barriers to accessing contraception, Planned Parenthood Action Fund released the following statement urging elected officials to remember the foundational role birth control plays in women’s economic security.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“One of the very important reasons the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists argue for better access to birth control is because when women have access to birth control, they have access to opportunity -- they are more likely to go to college, participate in the workforce, and have an increased earning potential. This should serve as an important reminder to policy makers in Washington and across the country that they can’t have a conversation about creating economic success for women without talking about access to affordable birth control.  If policy makers are serious about helping families across America succeed economically, they have to support comprehensive access to affordable birth control.”

Background:

  • Bloomberg Businessweek recently listed the pill as one of the most transformational developments in the business sector in the last 85 years, highlighting the fact that birth control is a top economic driver for women.
  • A 2012 University of Michigan study found that fully one-third of the wage gains women have made since the 1960s are the result of access to the pill. This study also found that the decrease in the gap among 25–49-year-olds between men’s and women’s annual incomes “would have been 10 percent smaller in the 1980s and 30 percent smaller in the 1990s” in the absence of widespread legal birth control access.
  • A different 2012 study found that, “likely due to their ability to postpone their first child, young women with access to the pill before age 21 graduated from college in significantly higher numbers than did women of the same era who came of age before the pill was made legal to them. The authors also found that women with early legal pill access were more likely to both pursue higher education and have children; as a result, in the long run, the average child became increasingly likely to have a college-educated mother.” 
  • In a 2012 study by the Guttmacher Institute the majority of women surveyed (56 percent) said birth control helps them support themselves financially.
  • The CDC named family planning, including access to modern contraception, one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

Despite the fact that birth control is crucial to women’s economic security, politicians continue to attempt to restrict women’s access to affordable contraception. Planned Parenthood Action Fund recognizes the many benefits to women’s economic opportunity and security that birth control provides and joins ACOG in calling for a reduction in barriers to accessing contraception.