A new study shows that when women have equal access to no-cost birth control methods, it leads to drastically lower rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. It's a preview of what Obamacare could look like when fully implemented — and it shows that it works.

By tracking more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, the study found that when teens were given a choice of a range of different contraceptives and given access to them, teen birth rates decreased significantly as did the number of abortions.

This study is another demonstration of what’s at stake in this election.  While President Obama continues to protect and expand women’s access to affordable health care, Mitt Romney pledges to repeal the Affordable Care Act “on day one.”  And his running mate, Paul Ryan, has said he will get rid of the birth control benefit on day one.  Romney and Ryan want to separate health care from economic concerns, but this study proves birth control IS an economic issue.  Women can spend up to $600 a year on birth control and more than a third of women voters having struggled to afford it (and therefore used it inconsistently).

Low-income women are far more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy than their wealthier counterparts.  This study was the latest to show the connection: 39 percent had trouble paying basic expenses.  When you’re struggling to pay the bills, the high cost of birth control can seem secondary. 

But affordable access to birth control does not just benefit the individual; it’s an important public health issue that affects the country as well.  With nearly half of the nation’s more than six million pregnancies unintended, they can cost taxpayers $11 billion dollars a year.  In fact, every dollar invested in family planning saves taxpayers $3.74.  It’s a good investment.

So, the good news is that Obamacare works.  The bad news is there are many trying to take this important benefit away.  That’s why we need to make sure voters know just how important affordable access to health care is, and why they need to protect it.  This study is a step in the right direction, and we have many more to go.

    For more from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, check out womenarewatching.org

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