Affordable Birth Control for All
The paper describes a considerable issue of American society reflected in a great number of unintended pregnancies. Young unmarried women have the highest rates of unwanted and mistimed pregnancies. In majority of cases these pregnancies lead to abortions and facilitate numerous physical and psychological issues.
All these problems can be avoided through the use of affordable birth control methodologies (the use of condoms, hormonal intrauterine devices, pills, special rings, etc.). These methodologies have both positive and negative sides. On the one hand, they can increase promiscuousness of the youth and risk of sexually transmitted diseases. On the other, they will prevent overpopulation and lower governmental expenses, enable family planning, improve mother and child’s health, and decrease teen abortions. Discussions provided in this paper support the idea that affordable birth control methods will have positive impact on a family, community of the United States of America, and the nation in general.
This essay will provide an analysis of statistical information concerning the amount of unintended pregnancies on the territory of the USA. These pregnancies could be prevented by the use of numerous affordable birth control methodologies (for example, the use of contraceptives). Both positive and negative sides of using affordable birth control methodologies will be discussed below. Much attention will be paid to the pregnancy prevention among young women. All discussions will be supported by statistical information from different sources.
Nowadays a considerable amount of pregnancies are unintended.
There are two types of unintended pregnancies:
Mistimed pregnancies are pregnancies, which happen in the time period when women do not want to become pregnant but they plan pregnancy in future. If women did not planned to become pregnant at all (even in future), their pregnancies are considered unwanted. According to the official statistics, only 20 per cent of pregnancies are intended in the USA, 31 per cent of them are mistimed, and 49 per cent are unwanted (Advancing sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research, policy analysis and public education). So, more than 6 million women do not want to become pregnant each year. It is notable that the majority of these women have low income (13.7 per cent), they are a minority (9.2 per cent of black women), women without high school degree (10.1 per cent) or cohabiting (Advancing sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research, policy analysis and public education, 2015). The number of unintended pregnancies depends greatly on the age of women. Sexually active teenagers have considerably higher rate of unintended pregnancies than sexually active women of the older age. Proportion of young pregnant women who did not wanted to become pregnant increased on about 10 per cent for the last 20 years (Advancing sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research, policy analysis and public education , 2015). Statistical information concerning distribution of unintended pregnancies by mother’s age is presented in the table 1 (Mosher, Jones, Abma, & Division of Vital Statistics).
Figures in this table show that women at the age from 15 to 19 years old have considerably higher rate of unintended pregnancies. It is notable that more than 75 per cent of these pregnancies are mistimed, which means that the majority of these women wanted to become pregnant in future. It is noteworthy that number of unintended pregnancies is also dependent on the marital status of women. This statement is supported by figures in the table 2 (Mosher et al).
Figures in this table show that unmarried and not cohabiting women represent the highest rate of pregnant women whose pregnancy is unwanted and mistimed.
Unmarried and not cohabiting pregnant women from 15 to 24 years old have the highest rate of unintended pregnancies. Married pregnant women from 24 to 44 years old have the lowest rate of unintended pregnancies. The relevant information is presented in the table 3 (Mosher et al).
Existing medical programs provide help to young women. According to the official statistics, about 68 per cent of expenses on unplanned birth were covered by different public insurance programs, for example, Medicaid (Advancing sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research, policy analysis and public education, 2015). This figure is different in different states. The highest rates of unplanned birth covered by public insurance programs are in the District of Columbia (more than 80 per cent) and in Mississippi (more than 70 per cent) (Advancing sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research, policy analysis and public education).
Both federal and governmental structures are involved in financing of unintended pregnancies. For example, 70 per cent of this financing (about $14 billion) was provided by federal programs, and about 30 per cent of this financing (about $ 6 billion) was provided by state programs (Advancing sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research, policy analysis and public education). Title X is one of federal programs directed on the improvement of family planning and minimization of unintended pregnancies. In the previous year, more than 1 million of unintended pregnancies and 34 per cent of abortions in the country were avoided due to this program (State Facts about Title X and Family Planning: California). Also, Title X provides financial support to low income women. Women, Infants and Children program is one more family planning program that provides help in planning of child birth and avoiding unplanned pregnancies in the USA.
The primary goal of the above mentioned programs is to provide family planning support, improve people’s physical and mental health, and minimize abortions. It should be noted that abortion rate increased for about 5 per cent for the last 7 years, while unintended pregnancies in about 60 per cent of cases have ended by abortions (Advancing sexual and reproductive health worldwide through research, policy analysis and public education). Most women consciously put themselves at a risk by not using contraceptives or “who are using them inconsistently, represent one-third of all women at risk of unintended pregnancy and account for 95% of the three million unintended pregnancies that occur every year” (State Facts about Title X and Family Planning: California). These women have insufficient understanding of importance of birth planning and negative consequences of unplanned pregnancy. Unplanned pregnancy can be prevented by a great variety of options: condoms, hormonal intrauterine device, pills, special rings, etc. The main advantage of these options is that they can be used by women of different ages, income, and marital status. These options are readily available all over the country. Most of them have almost 100 per cent effectiveness of pregnancy prevention. Description of these options and methods and their negative and positive sides should be provided by state and federal organizations through specially developed programs.
Despite the above-mentioned advantages of numerous birth control options, they still have some disadvantages. The great variety of low-cost contraceptives can lead to the riskier sexual behavior of youth. Margaret Brown in her work Public health and contraception (2006) stated the following idea: “contra-contraception movement is based primarily on religiously-inspired concerns that access to contraception of any form promotes promiscuity and free sexual expression outside marriage”. Moreover, the majority of contraceptives (spermicides, female dependent barriers, hormonal contraceptives, etc.) do not provide total protection against sexually transmitted diseases. For example, the use of spermicides leads to the decrease of the possibility of gonorrhea infection only by about twenty five per cent, and cervical chlamydia by about twenty two per cent; female dependent barriers grant low rate of protection against candidiasis (Sanghvi, n.d.). Also, some women cannot use contraceptives because of different health conditions like history of blood clots, migraine headaches, endometrial cancer, and many others. For example, women who have diabetes related diseases should not take contraceptive pills.
Birth Control Helps the Nation to Be Stronger Economically
Efficient family planning, decreasing the rate of unintended pregnancy, and lowering the rate of abortion provide such a benefit as decreasing of additional governmental expenses. According to official studies, “public funding for contraceptive services in 2010 resulted in net public savings of $10.5 billion, or $5.68 for every dollar spent providing contraceptive care” (Frost, Zolna, & Frohwirth). Instead of granting health care services to women with unintended pregnancy, the government can direct this finance on other spheres of social life, for example, education. Moreover, family planning prevents the nation from overpopulation. The decrease of the rate of unintended pregnancy will lead to the decrease of the rate of birth of unwished children who cannot be economically supported by their families and government. These children will not be able to obtain sufficient health care, education, job, and place or relevant position in the society. Birth control helps to minimize these issues.
Birth Control Helps in Family Planning
Birth control helps young couples to plan the number of children. Application of different contraceptive methods enables people to attain the desired number of children and state spacing between pregnancies. A couple determines whether its financial position and relations are strong enough for having one more child. It is notable that about 10 per cent of women who planned their pregnancies and stopped smoking in 3 months after they become pregnant, have the lower risk of diabetes, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and postpartum depression (by about 5.1 per cent) (Tailor & Cabral, 2002). Moreover, “women whose pregnancies are unintended are less likely to breastfeed” (Tailor & Cabral, 2002). All the above mentioned female health problems caused by unintended pregnancy decrease their lives and empowerment, as women feel themselves suppressed and unsatisfied.
Also, planned pregnancies enable making some pauses between pregnancies. Pauses of more than 18 months between pregnancies lead to decreasing a possibility of having low weight or premature babies by about 3 per cent (Tailor & Cabral, 2002). These pauses also decrease the risk of undeveloped immune system, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases, obesity, asthma, leukemia, diabetes, and SIDS.
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Affordable Birth Control Leads to Reduction of Rate of Abortion among the Youth
This paper shows that young women have the highest rate of unintended pregnancies and abortions. More than half of teen pregnancies end by abortions (Kost, & Henshaw, 2014). The main reasons of abortions are the following: an understanding that having a child will derail reaching of their personal goals; unwillingness to take financial responsibilities; immaturity, etc.
Teen abortions lead to numerous personal psychological problems, like severe emotional injures, troubles in future relationships with others, alcohol abuse, suicidal behavior, and self-destruction. Also, young women face a great variety of physical problems after abortion: cervical lacerations, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometritis, infertility, hysterectomy, ectopic pregnancy, higher risk of breast cancer, and other serious complications (Sobie, & Reardon, 2001).
Clear understanding of the necessity to use contraception and affordable prices on this contraception can lead to a considerable reduction of rates of mistimed and unwanted pregnancies and abortions among young women. Moreover, communication between parents and children concerning sexual activity can provide the above-mentioned understanding and increase sexual safety and awareness of the youth, and improves self-reliance and self-esteem of the youth. According to the official research, a parent-child communication concerning sexual activity leads to increasing the use of condoms during the first intercourse by about 20 per cent (Philliber Research Associates, SRI International – Center for Education & Human Services, University of California, San Francisco – Institute for Health Policy Studies)
The current paper provides an understanding that the great amount of unintended pregnancies, especially among the young generation, represents a great issue today. Affordable birth control methodologies can make youth more promiscuous and increase the rate of sexually transmitted diseases. At the same time, they can eliminate numerous psychological and physiological health issues of mothers and children, decrease governmental expenses and reduce teenage abortions. Affordable birth control will have a considerable positive impact on the American society.