Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Contraception saves money

MSNBC just reported that government spending on family planning (ie birth control) not only prevents millions of unwanted pregnancies, and prevents abortions, but actually saves money!

Who knew?

Oh, yes. Smart people already knew that providing not only access to birth control, but funding for the poor to get it, prevents unwanted pregnancies, which is one reason why funds for family planning were initially inserted into the big stimulus package, but were then removed because conservatives freaked out.

The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health policy institute, reports that for each dollar spent on family planning (primarily through Medicaid), four dollars are saved in costs associated with unplanned pregnancies and births, and that almost 2 million unintended pregnancies were avoided (including 400,000 teen pregnancies) in 2006 alone. That means either 2 million unwanted babies, or two million abortions, were avoided that year, because of federal and state-funded family planning for the poor.

While feminists and women's health activists have long considered birth control to be basic health care for women, much of this country's right wing still considers access to contraception to be a sign of loose morals, and a slippery slope leading to baby killing.

If right wingers were truly concerned about "baby killing," they would realize that access to affordable and reliable contraception actually prevents abortions.

But preventing abortions, ultimately, is obviously not important to people like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council who said, "The issue is whether taxpayers should fund, and thereby encourage, behavior that's risky and morally questionable."

Way to see the big picture, Tony. Fretting about unmarried people having non-reproductive sex is the moral concern; not the millions of unwanted pregnancies, unwanted babies, and abortions which result from poor education, lack of opportunities, and lack of funds.

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