Publicly Funded Family Planning Services in U.S. Prevent 810,000 Abortions per Year, Says Guttmacher Institute

by Cory Richards, Executive VP of the Guttmacher Institute, Washington D.C.

Guttmacher Institute research shows that the two-thirds of U.S. women at risk of unintended pregnancy who use contraception consistently and correctly throughout the course of any given year account for only 5 percent of all unintended pregnancies. The 19 percent of women at risk who use contraception but do so inconsistently account for 44 percent of all unintended pregnancies, while the 16 percent of women who do not use contraception at all for a month or more during the year account for 52 percent of all unintended pregnancies.

That’s why publicly funded family planning services to help lower-income women obtain contraceptives and use them correctly are so crucial. These services prevent almost 2 million unintended pregnancies each year, which would otherwise result in 860,000 unintended births and 810,000 abortions. Without these services, the number of abortions in the nation would be nearly two-thirds higher.

In short: Contraception works – and consistent, correct use of contraceptives comes close to eliminating the risk of unintended pregnancy. Making contraceptive methods easier for lower-income women to obtain and use is eminently sound public policy.

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