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This is no surprise to most progressives, but the "fiscally conservative" Republican Party should take note.  Reprinted in its entirety with permission from the Guttmacher Institute:


New State-Level Incidence Estimates Provide First-Ever Benchmark for Evaluating Impact of State Policies

Two new studies taking different methodological approaches arrive at the same conclusion: Unintended pregnancy costs U.S. taxpayers roughly $11 billion each year. Both estimates are conservative in that they are limited to public insurance costs for pregnancy and first-year infant care, and both studies conclude that the potential public savings from reducing unintended pregnancy in the United States would be huge. A related new study provides first-ever estimates of unintended pregnancy for each state, and a starting point for future efforts to monitor states’ progress toward reducing unintended pregnancy.

“The Public Costs of Births Resulting from Unintended Pregnancies: National and State-Level Estimates,” by Adam Sonfield and colleagues at the Guttmacher Institute, relied on state-level data from 2006 to estimate costs for each state, which were then added together to arrive at a national total. The study found that two-thirds of births resulting from unintended pregnancies—more than one million births—are publicly funded, and the proportion tops 80% in a couple of states. The cost of those births, and the potential gross saving from helping women to avert them, is estimated at $11.1 billion.  

“At a time when policymakers everywhere are looking for ways to cut costs under Medicaid, these findings point clearly to a way to achieve that goal by expanding access to health care, not cutting it,” says Sonfield. “Investing in publicly funded family planning to help women avoid unintended pregnancy has a proven track record: In the absence of the services provided at publicly funded family planning centers, the costs of unintended pregnancy would be 60% higher than they are today.”

“Unintended Pregnancy and Taxpayer Spending,” by Emily Monea and Adam Thomas of the Brookings Institution, estimated the cost of unintended pregnancy by counting 2001 national estimates of the outcomes of publicly financed unintended pregnancies (births, abortions, miscarriages and need for infant medical care) and multiplying those counts by the average cost per outcome. The estimates of the cost to taxpayers of providing medical services to women who experience unintended pregnancies and to the infants who are born as a result of such pregnancies range between $9.6 and $12.6 billion per year, and average $11.3 billion. The estimates of the public savings that would result if these unintended pregnancies were prevented range from $4.7 billion to $6.2 billion per year, and average $5.6 billion.

“Like Sonfield and colleagues, we find that the potential public savings from preventing unintended pregnancy are enormous,” says Thomas. “Our results suggest that if unintended pregnancies could be eliminated altogether, the resulting savings on taxpayer-financed medical care alone would approach the amount that the federal government spends on Head Start each year. Policymakers should protect and even increase investments in such proven cost-saving strategies as publicly subsidized family planning services and evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs.”

The third study, “Unintended Pregnancy Rates at the State Level,” by Lawrence B. Finer and Kathryn Kost of the Guttmacher Institute, combined national and state-level sources of information on pregnancy intentions, births, abortions and miscarriages for 2006 to produce the first-ever state-level estimates of the incidence of unintended pregnancy. The authors found significant variation in rates among the states. In 29 states and the District of Columbia, more than half of pregnancies were unintended; in the remainder of states, 38–50% of pregnancies were unintended. Rates of unintended pregnancy were generally highest in the South and Southwest, and in states with large urban populations. These data provide an important benchmark for future assessments of the effectiveness of efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies and their negative outcomes.  

The Guttmacher Institute is currently analyzing data on the factors influencing unintended pregnancy at the state level.

All three articles—“Unintended Pregnancy Rates at the State Level,” by Lawrence B. Finer and Kathryn Kost of the Guttmacher Institute; “The Public Costs of Births Resulting from Unintended Pregnancies: National and State-Level Estimates,” by Adam Sonfield, Kathryn Kost, Rachel Benson Gold and Lawrence B. Finer of the Guttmacher Institute; and “Unintended Pregnancy and Taxpayer Spending,” by Emily Monea and Adam Thomas of the Brookings Institution—are currently available online and will appear in the June issue of the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.


The Guttmacher Institute works to advance sexual and reproductive health in the United States and worldwide through an interrelated program of social science research, policy analysis and public education designed to generate new ideas, encourage enlightened public debate and promote sound policy and program development. Learn more at

Media Contact:  Rebecca Wind,

Well.  Well.  Now, what do you Republican Governors do with this.  Oh yea.  Ignore the facts and continue to spend billions.


Originally posted to Abortion on Thu May 19, 2011 at 09:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by Pro Choice.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is contrary to the GOP POV (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annrose, G2geek, irishwitch, supercereal

    Which is, men should be able to have sex, and women shouldn't.  Because if they do, they're sluts and get what they deserve.

    They are no longer fiscally conservative; they're socially conservative, and whatever fits their social policy of "marry young and support a family" is what matters.

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Thu May 19, 2011 at 10:03:13 AM PDT

  •  You think this will sway them? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annrose, terra, G2geek, irishwitch
    The estimates of the cost to taxpayers of providing medical services to women who experience unintended pregnancies and to the infants who are born as a result of such pregnancies range between $9.6 and $12.6 billion per year, and average $11.3 billion.

    In what reality? They'll revert (continue, actually) their policy of "love the fetus, hate the child" and work to gut that funding. It will be come a problem shifted on to the "irresponsible women who can't keep their knees together" and not their problem at all.

    As soon as you have people telling other people how to live/think/behave because "god gave them authority" you effectively get dictators in funny looking hats.

    by ontheleftcoast on Thu May 19, 2011 at 10:04:15 AM PDT

  •  It's a no-brainer. You'd think they'd get it. NT (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annrose, irishwitch, supercereal
  •  It's more than just delivering babies... (5+ / 0-)

    There are enormous "hidden" health costs to consider as well.  Women carrying unintended pregnancies generally don't seek prenatal care until much later than counterparts with planned pregnancies.  That means that they're less likely to change their diet, ensure they take enough folic acid, control their blood pressure or diabetes, etc.  That means that babies that are born prematurely, or with complications.

    Or, for that matter, women with unplanned pregnancies often don't even know (or won't admit) that they are pregnant for a month or two after conception.  That means they don't have the opportunity to change their lifestyle or habits, such as stopping drinking, smoking, or using illicit drugs.  For that matter, they don't have the opportunity to change their use of prescription or non-prescription medications that may interfere with fetal development.

    The most significant risk for serious birth defects from diet, drugs, too-hot hot-tubs, etc. is around 4-6 weeks of gestation.  I'm talking about some really serious birth defects, too -- Spina bifida, fetal alcohol syndrome, cleft palate, mental retardation, etc.  Those disorders cost a fortune, often over the entire lifespan of the child.  And, it's not just the cost, they carry a heavy emotional burden for the affected families.

    So, it's obvious that the answer is to follow the Republican way, and de-fund Planned Parenthood, and make sure that more babies are unintended.  Or am I missing something?

  •  Aaarhnold agrees. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annrose, icemilkcoffee, irishwitch

    Some of the Costs are not monetary.

    Notice: This Comment © 2011 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Thu May 19, 2011 at 10:34:15 AM PDT

  •  This is exactly why birth control SHOULD be funded (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    andromeda, icemilkcoffee, G2geek

    Yes, providing birth control to everyone is fiscally responsible and the right thing to do.  But just because something SHOULD be done doesn't mean it WILL be done.

    One of the dangers of relying on government in our democratic system is that when the teabaggers win, the government stops doing what we want it to.  And then what happens to everyone dependent on it?

    We have a huge problem in this country with unwanted pregancies because people are not taking responsibility for their actions.  It's fine to want free birth control given to everyone.  But until that day comes, and then after that day passes, people are going to have to invest in their own futures and provide their own birth control.

    Because if it's fiscally responsible for the group, it's also fiscally responsible for the individual.

  •  Wow, I checked out the first link to a study: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annrose, icemilkcoffee, G2geek, irishwitch

    Looked at Texas stats, and while California may exceed it in most numbers, Texas actually takes the most federal dollars for unintended and intended births, because California pays half the costs in each case, while Texas pays less than half.  

    This is assuming I'm reading the tables correctly.  I live in Texas and I am so sick of Perry and his ilk talking out both sides of their mouths about federal money.

  •  It's never been about reducing the deficit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, irishwitch

    It's about class warfare and enriching the rich. Rethugs don't give a hoot about ending wasteful spending - they'll spend all they want as long as the money is going to the "right" people. This post reminds me a lot of Meteor Blades' post on expensive private prisons last night. Or the entirety of Dubya's terms in office. The deficit is a political ploy for Republicans...nothing more!

    Recall Rick Snyder!
    "Be excellent to each other. And party on, dudes."

    by terra on Thu May 19, 2011 at 01:32:52 PM PDT

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