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Study: Women skipping birth control, cost may be factor

The Washington Post has an article today, More Women Opting Against Birth Control, Study Finds, that is disturbing on many levels. There is speculation that the cause of adult women forgoing birth control is more that they may be trying to get pregnant, but the real fear is that it might be due to the cost of birth control, given the growth of those without health insurance. It translates into over 4 million sexually active women at risk of an unintended pregnancy.

If the GOP says it wants to make abortion rare, these statistics have to be worrisome. Then again, the Ashcroft Justice Department don’t even want women to have information about contraception after a rape. I guess they don’t care about women and contraception unless they knock someone up.

Federally funded abstinence-only education programs have been put into place that, by law, prohibit discussion of contraceptives (except to inform people of the failure rates). This is a serious concern that cannot be ignored.

From the article:

At a time when the medical community has been heartened by a decline in risky sexual behavior by teenagers, a different problem has crept up: More adult women are forgoing birth control, a trend that has experts puzzled — and alarmed about a potential rise in unintended pregnancies.

Buried in the government’s latest in-depth analysis of contraceptive use was the finding that the number of women who had sex in the previous three months but did not use birth control rose from 5.2 percent in 1995 to 7.4 percent in 2002. That means that as many as 11 percent of all women are at risk of unintended pregnancy at some point during their childbearing years (ages 15 to 44).

Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics took pains to point out that the “increase is statistically significant” and that the “apparent change merits further study.” Other analysts called the spike a troubling development that translates into at least 4.6 million sexually active women at risk of conceiving a child they had not planned on.

Because the survey is so large (more than 7,600 women) and known for its accuracy, “an increase of even two percentage points is worrisome,” said John S. Santelli, a professor of population and family health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

…Physicians, statisticians and advocates who specialize in reproductive health had several theories for the rise in unprotected sex. They pointed to possible factors such as gaps in sex education, the cost of birth control, declining insurance coverage, fears of possible side effects of contraceptives and personal attitudes about childbearing.

It is possible, said Paul Blumenthal, that many more women are trying to conceive and thus have stopped using contraception. But the Johns Hopkins University professor said it is more likely that more women have found the cost of birth control burdensome.

Because the number of uninsured has increased, these women might be on the short end of that stick,” he said. Since 2001, the number of uninsured Americans has risen by 4 million.

Jeffrey Jensen, director of the Women’s Health Research Unit at Oregon Health and Science University, said he regularly encounters patients who have trouble affording birth control, even if their private insurance covers it.

It is absolutely unconscionable that women have a co-pay of $20 or $25 [a month] for contraceptives and men are getting off scot-free,” Jensen said. Drug companies “have cut way back” on free samples and many women turn to less effective types of birth control because of cost, he said, “running a greater risk of pregnancy as a result.”

Our government is asleep at the wheel yet again, even as it seeks to control a woman’s womb. It’s the slippery slope. Some women probably are trying to conceive in those numbers, but there’s real confirmation here why abortions went up under Shrub’s watch.

But let’s take a look at some Actual Freeper Quotes, for some objective insight and sensitivity on this issue:

“The Post is worried that young women are not using birth control. Of course, they would want all these babies aborted, as a form of birth control.”

“I guess we won’t need amnesty afterall to shore up the population numbers.”

“Maybe Christians will return to the practice of not using it either… Christianity and birth control are incompatible…. Don’t think so? Well, that’s largely due to modern doctrine. Most, if not all, of the “reformers” were against it. Historical Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox) condemned it for two millinea. The funadamentalist movement, along with the fogginess of doctrine of the mainline churches, and ESPECIALLY silence from the pulpit, has made birth control a “chrisitian discipline” instead of the anathema it is.”

“And later in the article it whines about how expensive prescription birth control is. Sorry, but even a $20 or $25 copay shouldn’t be a big deal, especially for a married couple with two incomes. We are not yet financially ready for parenthood and although an “oops” would not be the end of the world, we’d still prefer to wait a little bit before starting our family. My $16 copay every month is a small price to pay for 99% effectiveness.”

“On the flip side, perhaps the number of lesbian relationships is increasing, and obviously birth control is unneeded. Or, maybe ugly women are giving up on relationships.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding