Guttmacher Institute study shows how access to contraceptives affects abortion rate

By JewsOnFirst, March 7, 2006

The same week that South Dakota's extreme anti-abortion bill hung between the state legislature and the governor's pen, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which specializes in reproductive health issues, released a massive study showing that abortion rates rise and fall in synch with the availability of family planning services. Nevertheless, with the exception of the Washington Post and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the report got astonishingly little national coverage.

From the Guttmacher Institute's news release, its study, and the Washington Post report, we learn that states which fund programs to make family planning services widely accessible had lower rates of unplanned pregnancies -- and women having abortions. In recent years, many states cut back on these programs, making poor women and girls more likely to have unintended pregnancies. Meanwhile, the religious right is aggressively campaigning both to end the availability of abortion and to limit access to contraception.

The United States has sky-high rates of unplanned pregnancies and abortions. As Guttmacher President Sharon L. Camp told the Washington Post, "Unintended pregnancy in the United States is twice as high as in most of Western Europe. As a direct result, abortion rates are twice or three times as high as European countries. There is no reason why abortion rates need to be as high as they are."

Newspapers in a number of states published reports on the Guttmacher study.

Click here for the news release, which has links to the study.

TOPIC: Reproductive Rights