Imagine if we had a clear-cut, scientifically proven solution to significantly lower the rate of abortions in the United States. At the same time, the solution allows women to regulate their menstrual cycles and gives women and families a way to easily plan for children.
Common sense would tell us that this is a win-win for everyone involved. Abortion rates plummet, unplanned pregnancies go down, and a variety of women’s health issues would be better controlled.
The solution: Make birth control free for anyone wanting it.
Guttmacher came up with a figure of about $13.5 billion in savings per yearto federal and state governments thanks to free birth control and family planning programs. To reach this, they took the cost of providing contraceptives and informational outreach projects and compared it to the costs that state and federal governments would spend on government assistance for those who would have an unplanned pregnancy, and the resulting children.
The study also found that of the over 2/3rds of women who take birth control regularly, they were only responsible for about 5% of America’s unplanned pregnancies. The other approximately 1/3rd of child-bearing aged women who either took it irregularly or not at all were responsible for 95% of the 3.1 million unwanted pregnancies, of which, 700,000 ended in an abortion.
Assuming even half of the women who do not use contraceptives regularly were to start when provided with an easy and free method of birth control, there would be about a reduction of around 1.3 million unplanned U.S. pregnancies according to the 2010 numbers. There would also likely be around 300,000 fewer abortions every year, coming close to cutting the baseline number in half.
Even getting out of the social sphere, it would save billions of dollars a year on top of what governments already save with free and subsidized contraceptive programs. Reducing government spending and getting rid of abortion are two of the main issues of the Republican Party platform, then why is it that they refuse to even consider a program that would seemingly make everyone happy?
It’s a question that most Republican politicians refuse to answer outright, even when asked. When they do give a response, it’s usually related to the government overstepping its bounds.
Which, if you think about it, is particularly rich coming from those actively seeking to keep contraceptives out of the hands of those who need them the most. Few things give women more freedom than the ability to choose when and if they want to have a baby.
This is hardly a handout since the government would be getting a positive return on its investment in the form of fewer people requiring governmental assistance. Society as a whole would be better off with women having the ability to control their own bodies, regardless of socioeconomic status.
It’s important to ask ourselves and our lawmakers why they aren’t taking what should be a common sense step to making the U.S. a better place for both women and men (we all pay taxes).