A new study from the Guttmacher Institute reveals the tremendous impact public spending can have when it is put in the right places. When the government allocates money to provide healthcare for women, by making birth control accessible and providing sexual health screenings, taxpayers see a significant return on their investment. If we haven’t realized it already, everyone benefits when women have the freedom to choose when to have children, regardless of their income.
Making contraception accessible saves money by eliminating potential Medicaid spending, and also relieves stress for women who may not otherwise be able to afford birth control, and certainly could not afford a child. Another publication from the Guttmacher Institute reinforces the far-reaching benefits of these services, stating:
Births resulting from unintended or closely spaced pregnancies are associated with adverse maternal and child health outcomes, such as delayed prenatal care, premature birth and negative physical and mental health effects for children.
The study also notes that this kind of spending does more than prevent unwanted pregnancies. It improves overall health by preventing the spread of STDs and detecting cancer early.
As public funding for family planning services dwindles, reproductive rights are essentially revoked for those who cannot afford medical care in this country, which is the most expensive in the developed world. Low-income women are at the highest risk of unintended pregnancy, and funding for family planning services has been cut in many places, particularly in red states. This is especially detrimental when the existing clinics in place are struggling to keep up with demand.
When government spending is aimed at improving health and empowering women, there are numerous far-reaching benefits for everyone, and more funding in this area could drastically improve public health. This is especially important in the US today, where over 50 percent of pregnancies are unintended — drastically higher than in any other developed nation.
h/t Young Progressive Voices, written by Alex Servie; image from Planned Parenthood