Recently, we’ve reported at length about the positive benefits of reliable, long-term contraceptives. From research that suggests birth control may help protect women against endometrial cancer to our latest breakdown of IUD advantages, the team at South Avenue Women’s Services is dedicated to monitoring encouraging developments for women’s health—and now, we can add economics to the mix.
According to a new report conducted by nonprofit research group Child Trends, if all of the women in the U.S. had access to effective birth control, public healthcare costs would be reduced by approximately $12 billion every year. To put this into perspective, that number would equate to cutting the healthcare costs associated with unintended pregnancy in half. What’s more? The researchers estimated that if U.S. women between the ages of 15 and 39 had access to a full range of contraceptive options, unintended pregnancies would be reduced by a remarkable 64 percent.
The report, which was commissioned by the Planned Parent Action Fund, pulled data from a microsimulation model initially developed by the Brookings Institution in 2015.
In that particular study, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) examined 40 Planned Parenthood clinics across the country, comparing clinics where staff had been trained on IUD insertion and progestin implants to those with staff who were not. The study found that women were more likely to choose a long-term contraceptive method if they frequented the former clinics, and thus, were less likely to become pregnant.
In a recent interview with TIME, Jennifer Manlove, the co-director of the reproductive health research unit at Child Trends, weighed in on the latest findings: “Improving women’s access to and use of effective contraception can be linked to a whole host of positive outcomes,” she said.
Manlove certainly has a slew of research to back up her argument, but the Child Trends study raises another important reality for Americans. Amidst news of President Trump sending anti-birth control delegates to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, and the uncertain future of no-cost birth control in the event that Obamacare is repealed, the fate of reproductive healthcare across the nation may be at stake. That said, we can only hope our representatives listen to the facts at large–and not partisan politics.