Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Family Planning

Guttmacher is releasing a big report today on family planning. You can find the study here (PDF), but I also wrote about it on RH Reality Check today.
[A]s a comprehensive study from Guttmacher Institute released today points out, using birth control is a "nearly universal" experience in this country - more than 98 percent of women use birth control at some point during their reproductive lives.

However, the study also revealed that the use of contraceptives is becoming less common in this country for woman who are black, Hispanic, and low-income. Gaps between usage levels among white women and other populations that had been narrowing during the 1980s and early ‘90s have been widening again. Only 7 to 10 percent of white women from 1982 to 2002 (the most recent year data is available) did not use contraception, but rates among black and Hispanic women actually rose to 15% and 12%, respectively, in 2002, figures that had dropped to 10% and 9% in 1995. And the gap isn't just race-based. Now, about 20 percent of women who are at risk of unintended pregnancy who are at or below the poverty line aren't using contraception, a rate that had dropped to just 8% in 1995.

As a result, unintended pregnancy is on the rise for minority and low-income groups. Though the overall national rate of unintended pregnancy has held steady in recent years, falling rates among affluent women masked an increase among poor and low-income women. "Between 1981 and 1994, the national rate of unintended pregnancy fell 14%, from 60 to 51 unintended pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15-44. But between 1994 and 2001, that overall national rate stagnated. Worse yet, rates among poor and low-income women rose considerably over the latter period, even as they continued to fall among more affluent women, thereby exacerbating already substantial disparities," reported to study.
Go ahead and read the whole thing.

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