How significant would the decrease in abortion rates in the U.S. be if birth control were free for all women?

Today a highly influential panel of medical experts recommended to the U.S. Dept of Health that all health insurance plans should cover the cost of birth control, as well as provide free HPV testing, contraceptive and lactation counseling, HIV screening, and breast-feeding equipment. According to Pro-Choice America, the U.S. has a much higher unintended-pregnancy rate than other industrialized countries who do offer similar, more socialized medical programs.



  1. 0 Votes

    If we look to the Netherlands as an example, we can see that fully covered birth control pills, IUDs, and vasectomies result in an abortion rate of about 1% compared to the world-wide average of 3%.  Holland also has the lowest rate of teen pregnancy.  There are other factors, such as sex-education in schools, but easy access to contraception is one of the main reasons the abortion rate is so low.

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    Krich11 is correct to look at Holland as a theoretical example, however, there are some extenuating cultural differences between the US and Holland that most certainly need considered. First, the US is far more religious than Holland, which means that youth in the US are taught abstinence only sex education and the females are less empowered to educate themselves about safe sex practices. Second, Holland is a largely homogenous culture, which means that people in Holland are “Dutch” and identify with being Dutch. The US is more multi-cultural, and so there is less of a sense of American identity. This adds diversity and pluralism, but also makes a widespread ideology difficult. Sex education is a sensitive topic that is closely linked to ideology. 

    Although I agree that more education and more open social discussion about contraceptives is indeed a health issue and could potentially lead to fewer unintended pregnancies and consequential abortions, I also think that the matter is very complicated in the States because of the religiosity and the multiculturalism.

  3. 0 Votes

    A February article from Time online discusses the decrease the U.S would see in abortion rates if all women had easily accessible birth control. Researchers from UCSF gave women in the low-income bracket a one year supply of birth control as opposed to the usual one to three month supply given out by clinics.  Abortion rates saw a drop of 46 percent while pregnancy rates dropped by 30 percent.

  4. 0 Votes

    It’s hard to say. Some women prefer not to take hormones because they don’t think they’re natural. In a study, like the one julsmarie14 cited, participants are probably more likely to remember to take their birth control pills everyday because they are participants in research, though I don’t know the specifics of this study. The data UCSF obtained makes sense, but I don’t believe results would be as strong if we were to implement such a policy (for the aforementioned reasons).

    And, a lot of things mercury said are true, i.e., Americans don’t have access to a lot of information about sex, but American youths are not all taught abstinence only sex education. I’m pretty sure abstinence only education has fallen out of favor. If anyone has more info on this, I’d love to hear it.

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