A new study that gave free birth control to low-income teens and women in St. Louis has found that the free contraception dramatically lowered rates for teen births and abortions.
USA Today: Free Birth Control Project Cuts Teen Births, Abortions
An experimental project that gave free birth control to more than 9,000 teen girls and women in one metropolitan area resulted in a dramatic decrease in abortions and teen pregnancies, a new study shows (Painter, 10/5).
The Associated Press: Study: Free Birth Control Leads To Fewer Abortions
Free birth control led to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births, a large study concludes. The findings were eagerly anticipated and come as a bitterly contested Obama administration policy is poised to offer similar coverage. The project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured. They were given their choice of a range of contraceptive methods at no cost -- from birth control pills to goof-proof options like the IUD or a matchstick-sized implant (Neergaard, 10/5).
Medpage Today: Free Birth Control Slashes Abortion Rates
Providing women with free and long-acting contraception was associated with significantly lower rates of unintended and teen pregnancies and dramatically lower abortion rates. Compared with regional and national data, St. Louis adolescents and women given free long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods had nearly four times fewer abortions -- a proxy measure of unintended pregnancies -- than the regional rate (4.4 versus 17.0 per 1,000 women), and and nearly five times fewer abortions than the national rate (4.4 versus 19.6 per 1,000 women) in 2008, according to Jeffrey Peipert, PhD, and colleagues (Petrochko, 10/4).
NBC: Free Birth Control Cuts Abortion Rate Dramatically, Study Finds
A dramatic new study with implications for next month's presidential election finds that offering women free birth control can reduce unplanned pregnancies -- and send the abortion rate spiraling downward. When more than 9,000 women ages 14 to 45 in the St. Louis area were given no-cost contraception for three years, abortion rates dropped from two-thirds to three-quarters lower than the national rate, according to a new report by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis researchers. From 2008 to 2010, annual abortion rates among participants in the Contraceptive Choice Project -- dubbed CHOICE -- ranged from 4.4 abortions per 1,000 women to 7.5 abortions per 1,000. That's far less than the 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women nationwide reported in 2008, the latest year for which figures are available (Alexander, 10/4).
CNN: Free Contraception May Prevent Abortions
Contraception includes condoms and birth control pills, but there are other, longer-term methods that are effective and reversible: Intrauterine devices and implants. A new study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology set out to see what would happen if these methods were given out at no cost. The study incorporated more than 9,000 girls and women at risk for unintended pregnancy. Researchers found that teen births within the group of women who were part of this program was 6.3 per 1,000, which is much lower than the national rate of 34.1 per 1,000 (10/4).
In related news -
The Associated Press: Oklahoma To End Planned Parenthood Contracts
Oklahoma is withdrawing federal funding to three Planned Parenthood clinics in Tulsa that for 18 years has allowed them to provide food and nutritional counseling to low-income mothers -- a decision that mirrors efforts in other conservative states to defund the group and one its director described Thursday as a "short-sighted political maneuver." The State Department of Health notified Planned Parenthood of the Heartland CEO Jill June in a letter last week that it would be terminating its contracts with the Tulsa facilities at the end of December (Murphy, 10/4).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.