Income Severely Affects Women’s Access to Contraception

A new study shows that income has a strong adverse effect on women’s ability to access family planning services. The Brookings Institute research shows that low-income women are five times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy than affluent women. This is not a behavioral difference, as researchers emphasized there is no “sex gap” by income – sexual behaviors do not vary along class lines. However, access to the most effective forms of birth control significantly affects the rate of unintended pregnancy by class. The most effective methods of contraceptives are long acting reversible methods such as implants and IUDs – which can cost up to $1000. Equalizing access to contraceptives could reduce the rate of unintended births by half, researches suggest. Income also affects the rate of abortion – with wealthy women being more likely than less privileged women to get an abortion when facing an unplanned pregnancy. The unintended pregnancies that result from unequal access to family planning cost taxpayers $21 billion each year. This study only adds to the growing body of evidence that that shows poor communities suffer from limited access to evidence-based sex education and effective contraception.

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