Big Jump In Unplanned Pregnancies For Poor Women
Every year about five percent of women in the U.S. have
an unplanned pregnancy. Statistics reveal that this number has remained
more-or-less steady since 1994. So nothing to be alarmed about, right?
A more thorough examination of the data reveals that while the
overall unintended pregnancy rate has remained the same, the numbers for
poor women have jumped up, while those for wealthier women have
Poor Women Five Times More Likely Than Higher-Income Women To Have An Unplanned Pregnancy
According to a new Guttmacher analysis
of government data from the National Survey of Family Growth and other
sources, in 2006, poor women were five times more likely to have an
unintended pregnancy when compared to higher-income women:
In 1994, the unintended pregnancy rate
among women with incomes below the federal poverty line was 88 per 1,000
women aged 15–44; it increased to 120 in 2001 and 132 in 2006-a 50%
rise over the period. At the same time, the rate among higher-income
women (those with incomes at or above 200% of the poverty line) fell
from 34 in 1994 to 28 in 2001 and 24 in 2006-a 29% decrease. Poor
women’s high rate of unintended pregnancy results in their also having
high-and increasing-rates of both abortions (52 per 1,000) and unplanned
births (66 per 1,000).
The rates were also higher for women who are 18-24, those who
cohabitate, and minorities. However, low-income women had higher rates
of unplanned pregnancies regardless of other factors, including marital
status. A poor married woman’s chance of having an unintended pregnancy
is more than twice as high as that of a well-off single woman.
And Yet…The Continued Fight To Restrict Abortion Rights And Defund Planned Parenthood
And yet, in tandem with these numbers, we see the efforts in so many
states to restrict abortion rights and to defund Planned Parenthood
continuing unabated. Have those Republican lawmakers actually considered
that restricting low-income women’s access to family planning services
could result in a jump in unplanned pregnancies? And have they thought
about what the long-term effects of that increase could be?
Just when poorer women need more help with reproductive decisions, they are watching their healthcare options disappear.
As Care2′s Amelia Thomson-Veaux wrote here, a shocking 33 laws restricting abortion access were enacted in nine states during the month of April.
The war on women continues.
See Votes by State