It is critical that we get the facts about contraception and abortion, as Rep House Leader John Boehner seeks to end funding for Planned Parenthood, part of the Republican war on women.
Mostly men who don’t know what they are talking about quote facts and figures that are untrue, when the subject is women’s reproductive health.
Make no mistake. Contraception works and reduces abortions. The Guttmacher Institute has released it latest investigation about the effectiveness of contraception in reducing unplanned pregnancy.
Two-thirds of American women who use contraception consistently and correctly throughout the course of any given year account for only 5% of all unintended pregnancies. The 19% of women at risk who use contraception erratically account for 44% of all unintended pregnancies, while the 16% of women at risk who use no contraception at all for a month or more during the year account for 52% of all unintended pregnancies.
The women having abortions are either using no contraception or using it irregularly.
The body of evidence attesting to the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of publicly funded family planning services is comprehensive and compelling. These services not only improve the health of mothers and babies by helping women time and space their pregnancies, they also prevent almost two million unintended pregnancies each year, which would otherwise result in 860,000 unintended pregnancies and 810,000 abortions. Without these services, the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions among poor women in the United States would nearly double, and the number of unintended pregnancies in the nation as a whole would be nearly two-thirds higher. via Guttmacher Institute
Invest $1 To Prevent Unwanted Pregnancies, Save $4
The Guttmacher Institute has never been accused of incorrect survey information and statistics to the best of our knowledge. GI calculates that helping low-income women prevent births saves almost $4 in public expenditures for every $1 invested.
Simply stated, without publicly-funded family-planning services, the US abortion rate is expected to skyrocket and we will have millions of unplanned, unwanted children to care for.
Teens have been waiting longer to have sex than they did in the recent past. This decision to defer sexuality activity has come at a time when birth control is generally more available.
Philadelphia-area psychologist Michael Bradley, who specializes in teens, says despite the survey’s assurances of confidentiality, young people are not easily convinced and may under report their sexual activity.
With the onerous pressures to govern female sexuality at state level, Bradley may have a point. Women, in particular, are notorious for lying about the extent of their sexual activity.
Texas As An Example of What’s Ahead for States
The state of Texas has some of the most restrictive policies in the US regarding minors’ access to prescription birth control without parental consent, according to the Dallas Morning News. Texas has the highest rate of teen pregnancy live births in America, according to a 2010 Guttmacher Institute report, while the state ranks 4th in overall pregnancy rate.
While we all celebrate the new survey results suggesting that sexual activity may be down among teens, Texas is a real-world look at what’s ahead for taxpayers. In terms of educational test scores, Texas is at the bottom.
- Texas is #49 in verbal SAT scores in the nation (493) and #46 in average math SAT scores (502).
- Texas is #36 in the nation in high school graduation rates (68%).
Texas Math Skills
The math skills are so bad in Texas that in 2010 Governor Perry and other conservatives hailed Texas as a model for other states to follow. Perry ran around the country saying that his tax cuts for business had created an economic boom, all the while cursing the federal government’s involvement in Texas affairs.
What Governor Perry forgot to tell the citizens of Texas is that they only reason they were able to balance their budgets was because of stimulus funds from the federal government. Now Perry faces a budget crisis among the worst in the nation.
You can believe in abstinence and promote it at home, but when considering defunding Planned Parenthood and Title X, look at Texas.
Texas also leads the nation in repeat pregnancies, with Dallas being the top city. Even teens who have given birth once are prohibited from obtaining birth control without parental consent.
Critics of the state’s restrictive policies say conservative leaders do not have a realistic view of teens’ sexual activity. “We’re in denial that our teens are sexually active,” said Janet Realini, a former leader of the Bexar County health department in San Antonio who is working to reduce teen pregnancy. Only 4% of Texas schools teach students about the potential benefits and risks of contraception; instead, most schools teach an abstinence-only curriculum that focuses on the failure rate of various contraceptive methods. A spokesperson for Gov. Rick Perry (R) said that he supports abstinence-only education and believes that “the state should not usurp the role” of parents. via Medical News Today
Teens With Babies Less Educated, Earn Lower Salaries
As for teens who keep their babies, statistics before cutbacks in state aid to education and other necessary cuts in human services resulting from America’s economic crisis, indicate that only 40 percent of teen moms giving birth at age 17 or earlier finish high school. About 23 percent of young mothers earn a GED, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Girls who have a baby at age 17 or younger can expect to earn $28,000 less in the subsequent 15 years after the birth than if they had delayed until 20 or 21, according to the National Campaign report. Fathers of children born to teen mothers who were 17 and under earn some $27,000 less over the subsequent 18 years than those who have children with women who were 20 or 21.
A Vicious Cycle
The facts are that daughters of teen mothers are three times more likely to become teen parents than girls with older moms. Sons born to teen parents are more likely to be incarcerated. Note that the Texas Department of State Health Services quotes the Guttmacher Institue extensively.
Eight of 10 teenage fathers do not marry the mothers of their first children, according to a study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies in Washington, D.C. And, these absent fathers pay less than $800 annually for child support, it says, often because they are quite poor themselves.