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Free Contraceptives Can Reduce Abortions By 75%

A study in St. Louis has shown that when contraceptives are made freely available, abortion rates can go down by as much as 75%. — Click to Tweet.

When given the choice of more effective contraception, few women choose the birth control pills as their primary method. (Photo by Gnarls Monkey on Flickr.)

The Contraceptive Choice Project originally started the study, giving birth-control counseling and free contraceptives to 9,256 women and adolescents in the St. Louis area. These were women who were ages 14-45, at risk for unintended pregnancy, and willing to start a new contraceptive method.

The Counseling Method
During the counseling, each woman or girl was given a choice of several different types of contraceptives, ranging from intrauterine devices to more traditional daily birth control pills.

Before each woman made her choice, she was informed about the risks, benefits, and effectiveness of the different birth control options. One important fact was that women using IUDs or implants experience a failure rate of less than 1 percent, while oral contraceptives fail at rates of 8 to 10 percent.

After being informed of their options, about 75 percent of women in the study chose UIDs or implants, which are long-acting contraceptives that can be effective for anywhere from 2 to 10 years, depending on the type.

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If employer-based health insurance had to cover contraceptives for women, then unintended pregnancies and abortion rates might go down considerably. (Photo by Steve Rhodes on Flickr.)

Changes In Outcome
Over the next couple years, from 2008 to 2010, the abortion rates and unintended pregnancy rates of these women were tracked.

In the study published online by the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, data reveals that between 4.4 and 7.5 women in 1,000 had an abortion, which is a drastic drop from the national rate of 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women in 2008.

Another striking change occurred among teenage girls. Among girls age 15-19 who participated in the study, the birth rate over a single year was 6.3 in 1,000 women. This rate is far below the national average, which is 34.3 in 1,000 women for girls the same age.

Reasons For Better Outcomes
UIDs and implants are not only much more effective, but they also last longer. But for some reason, they have very low usage rates. This new data suggests that the main issue preventing women from using these more effective contraceptives is cost. They cost about $800, and usually aren’t covered by insurance — and that’s assuming these women have health coverage at all.

About Rick Williams

Rick Williams is a freelance copywriter, specializing in technology, fitness, creative problem solving. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA, where he earned a B.A. in English and Professional Writing.
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