There’s one thing that Americans who are hard up these days will not be missing out on — not if the reproductive health experts can help it — and that is family planning. Researchers writing in the latest issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (that’s “under-served”, note, not “un-deserved” and maybe "undeserving", which is how it appeared to us at a first, Freudian, glance) say the government saves $4 for every $1 spent on contraception.

This how the Guttmacher Institute folks worked it out: In 2004 around 6.9 million women received subsidised “contraceptive care”; assuming that 86 per cent of them actually walked out of the clinic with pills, jabs, implants or condoms, those clinics would have prevented 1.4 million “unintended pregnancies”. That saved the nation $4.3 billion in maternity care, deliveries and one year of infant-related care — all for a measly $1.4 billion outlay on birth control.

It’s not clear whether Guttmacher factored in the failure rates of different contraceptives, and the cost of abortions to those states which fund them. We can take it for granted that the researchers did not calculate the public cost of damage to women’s health from contraceptives and abortion or the relative gain or loss to their wellbeing from having a child v. not having one. The family planning sector is only interested in the latter, and ensuring that government retains its interest in preventing births as well. ~ Newswise, August 15

 

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet