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According to a new Guttmacher Institute report by Adam Sonfield and Kathryn Kost, unintended pregnancies and the resulting births cost taxpayers $12.5 billion in 2008, the most recent year for which complete information could be obtained. The institute's research also found that "public investment in family planning services resulted in $12.7 billion in gross savings in 2010 from helping women avoid unintended pregnancies and the births that follow."

Among the findings:

• Nationally, 65 percent of the 1.7 million births resulting from unintended pregnancies in 2008 were paid for by public insurance programs, compared with 48 percent of all births and 36 percent of all births from intended pregnancies.

• Of the $12.5 billion in government expenditures on spent on births resulting from unintended pregnancies, $7.3 billion were federal and $5.2 billion were picked up by the states.

• The average publicly funded birth cost $12,613 for to cover the costs of prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care and a year of infant care.

• In seven states, public costs related to births from unintended pregnancies exceeded half a billion dollars. California at $1.5 billion and Texas at $1.3 billion spent the most.

• The federal and state governments spent $11.3 billion for births from intended pregnancies in 2008. With the $12.5 billion for unintended pregnancies, the total for the year was $23.8 billion.

[T]he true public costs of unintended pregnancy go well beyond the $12.5 billion estimated here. Among the many uncounted costs are those from children's medical care beyond their first year; pregnancy-related care paid for by other public health programs, including indigent care programs that subsidize hospitals' uncompensated care [...] Also excluded are public costs related to abortion and miscarriage, although such costs are relatively small.
As the authors correctly conclude, cutting that $12.5 billion would necessitate significant amounts of public investment in more family planning services and comprehensive sex education. The reality: When adjusted for inflation, the family planning budget in Title X is 67 percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan became president.

One more example of policy myopia.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 01:17 PM PDT.

Also republished by Abortion, Pro Choice, and Daily Kos.

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