Studies released Thursday by the Guttmacher Institute and the Brookings Institution show that unintended pregnancies in the U.S. cost taxpayers roughly $11 billion per year. The Guttmacher Institute notes that this estimate is conservative, as it is only considers public insurance costs for pregnancy and first-year infant care. The studies also find that government programs could save billions by preventing unintended pregnancies.
The Guttmacher study found that 64% of births resulting from unintended pregnancies were to women enrolled in publicly funded health care programs, while only 35% of intended births were publicly funded. Adam Sonfield, one of the study’s authors, remarked, "At a time when policymakers everywhere are looking for ways to cut costs under Medicaid, these findings point clearly to a way to achieve that goal by expanding access to health care, not cutting it."
Adam Thomas, an author of the Brookings Institution's study, said "Like Sonfield and colleagues, we find that the potential public savings from preventing unintended pregnancy are enormous." The Brookings study found that taxpayers could save about $5.6 billion annually through efforts to prevent those pregnancies.
The study comes at a time when a number of states are considering legislation to cut family planning. Earlier this month, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed a bill making Indiana the first state to defund Planned Parenthood. Lawmakers in Kansas and North Carolina are attempting to pass similar legislation.
Media Resources: Guttmacher Institute Press Release 5/19/11; National Partnership for Women and Families 5/19/11; Reuters 5/19/11; Feminist Newswire 5/11/11
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .