Overall, the unintended pregnancy rate in the U.S. has remained about the same since 1994, with about 5% of women having an unplanned pregnancy per year. Yet, there's actually been a huge shift, with the rate shooting up for poor women and decreasing for wealthier women. Though, by all means, let's continue restricting low-income women's access to family planning services.
According to a new Guttmacher analysis of government data from the National Survey of Family Growth and other sources, in 2006, poor women were five times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy when compared to higher-income women:
In 1994, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with incomes below the federal poverty line was 88 per 1,000 women aged 15–44; it increased to 120 in 2001 and 132 in 2006-a 50% rise over the period. At the same time, the rate among higher-income women (those with incomes at or above 200% of the poverty line) fell from 34 in 1994 to 28 in 2001 and 24 in 2006-a 29% decrease. Poor women's high rate of unintended pregnancy results in their also having high-and increasing-rates of both abortions (52 per 1,000) and unplanned births (66 per 1,000).
The rates were also higher for women who are 18-24, those who cohabitate, and minorities. However low-income women had higher rates of unplanned pregnancies regardless of other factors, including marital status. A poor married woman's chance of having an unintended pregnancy is more than twice as high as that of a well-off single woman.
We already know that the abortion rates are on the rise among poorer women even as they've gone down in general, but the new study just underscores the idiocy of the Republicans attacks on reproductive rights. Hopefully, birth control being covered by new insurance plans will make it easier for women to prevent pregnancy. However, the new efforts in many states to put restrictions on abortion services and the push to defund Planned Parenthood and other groups are causing clinics to shut down across the country. The study shows poorer women need even more help with family planning — so instead we're leaving them with fewer healthcare options.
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