Unintended Pregnancies Cost Government and Taxpayers Billions

Unintended pregnancies are seriously costing our government, and those expenses ultimately fall onto the taxpayers.  Recently, the Guttmacher Institute published a report that highlights just how much unintended pregnancy impacts the nation and how important family planning services are for our financial well being.

The newly released research finds that in 2008, births resulting from unintended pregnancies cost federal and state governments $12.5 billion.  Without any publicly funded family planning resources, the study estimates that the public cost of unintended pregnancy would double, draining about $25 billion from states and the federal government.  The lesson is clear: family planning is a serious economic issue, and one that everyone should care about.

These numbers are especially frightening given the recent waves of attacks on preventative services by social extremists, who seem completely oblivious to the real effects of cutting these programs.  In Texas, for instance, one state that drastically cut family planning funding in 2011, the cost to the government from births due to unintended pregnancies came in at $1.3 billion.  If the state continues to follow a social agenda that cuts family planning programs and closes reproductive health clinics statewide, these costs will only continue to rise.  Authors of the recent report warn that chronic underinvestment and ideological attacks on the programs and providers that make publicly supported family planning services accessible to millions of women have been counterproductive. For instance, appropriations for the Title X national family planning program are 67% lower today than they were in FY 1980, adjusted for inflation. Shortsighted cuts to highly successful family planning programs will likely actually end up increasing public expenditures, the report concludes.

Prevention is critical.  In 2008, over half of publicly funded births were the result of unintended pregnancies.  If we really want to start saving the nation money, it is essential that we promote access to contraceptives.  An earlier report has already concluded that current family planning services saved the country $12.7 billion in costs, but ideological radicalism continues to threaten common sense investments.  Extremism and misguided funding cuts will cost the country billions if allowed to continue.  It is time for citizens everywhere to realize that unintended pregnancies do affect them, and investments in preventative services are the smartest course of action, both socially and financially, for our nation.

To learn more about the cost of unintended pregnancy, check out the report brief at http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2013/10/22/index.html

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