$7 Saved for Every $1 Spent on Birth Control

A new study confirms what we have long known, that the more money we spend on birth control and family planning, the more we save. The reason should be obvious: It’s far cheaper to prevent unwanted pregnancies than it is to pay for a lifetime of health care and other costs.

Publicly funded family planning programs help save taxpayers billions of dollars each year by averting costly medical expenses, according to a new analysis from the Guttmacher Institute. It’s the latest data point in an overwhelming body of evidence illustrating the societal benefits of expanding access to affordable birth control.

It’s not hard to understand why that’s the case. Low-income women are at the highest risk of unintended pregnancy, largely because they don’t always have access to medical resources like contraception. But, when publicly funded programs like Title X help those women get affordable birth control, it can make a big difference. Guttmacher researchers estimate that the care provided at publicly funded family planning clinics helped prevent 2.2 million unplanned pregnancies in 2010.

With so many fewer pregnancies among this population, appropriating funding for family planning works out to be very good deal for the government. It eliminates a significant amount of potential Medicaid spending, since states don’t have to pay as much for abortions, for miscarriages, or for maternity and infant care. “This investment resulted in net government savings of $13.6 billion in 2010, or $7.09 for every public dollar spent,” the researchers conclude.

And investing in women’s health can influence more than pregnancies. Title X clinics also provide screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, something that helps prevent patients from transmitting those infections to their future sexual partners. Guttmacher estimates that helped reduce chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV infections by 99,100 cases, 16,240 cases, and 410 cases respectively. Plus, providing resources for low-income women to get tested for cervical cancer helped identify 3,600 cases early enough to prevent more than 2,000 deaths.

You know what else it prevents? Abortions. If the “pro-life” crowd actually wanted to reduce abortions, they would be in favor of the widest possible distribution of birth control. But that isn’t really their goal at all. Their goal is to control women. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Birth control should be free and available to everyone in this country.

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  • kevinalexander

    Let’s not forget that every dollar spent by one person is a dollar received by another.

    The business model for the prison corporations is to increase the number of clients and the surest way to do that is to increase the number of unwanted babies of desperate mothers who tend to end up there.

  • D. C. Sessions

    It’s far cheaper to prevent unwanted pregnancies than it is to pay for a lifetime of health care and other costs.

    Not if we stop paying for the takers’ “health care and other costs.” Which is a far more cost-effective solution.

  • eric

    What you forget, Ed, is that those are bad outcomes. The slutty slut sluts who had sex for pleasure should get the clap, gonorrhea, and aids for it. That’s their just punishment. And the proper way to save money is to remove any federal aid to slutty slut sluts so that they have to shoulder the entire financial burden due to their slutty slut slut behavior. That way, the government would spend $0 for every $1 currently spent on birth control.

    [/conservative rant]

  • John Pieret

    You know what else it prevents? Abortions.

    You know what really prevent abortions? Keeping your legs firmly crossed until your father sells gives you away to your master husband who will then support all the children he feels like having with you, as opposed to the other women sluts he sleeps with.

  • gog

    @John Pieret

    Only if the father doesn’t fuck his own daughter property.

  • raven

    Planned Parenthood has prevented more abortions in a day than the forced birthers/female slavers have in a year.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Planned Parenthood has prevented more abortions in a day than the forced birthers/female slavers have in a year.

    Which is why they must be stopped!!!!!!

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    The reason should be obvious: It’s far cheaper to prevent unwanted pregnancies than it is to pay for a lifetime of health care and other costs.

    [Heath bolded]

    I think your assertion here goes way beyond the evidence asserted in your cite.

    The cited reference doesn’t extend to a lifetime but instead through infant care. You’d also have to measure the marginal economic growth or loss of all those born from unwanted pregnancies; for their entire lifetimes, not just the low-income women this study targets.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    Michael, Ed’s taking into account the likely possibility that an infant whose birth was funded by government will find him/herself in need of government assistance after that point, as a child or even indefinitely.

  • Michael Heath

    Gretchen,

    Because I was perfectly cognizant of that prior to writing my post, I pointedly noted that Ed’s cite in no way validates his claim given that the research extends only through infant care. My criticism not only still stands, your point amplifies that.

    That’s also exactly why I wrote:

    [Ed] You’d also have to measure the marginal economic growth or loss of all those born from unwanted pregnancies; for their entire lifetimes, not just the low-income women this study targets.