In Recession, Fewer Women Want Kids--and More Can't Afford Contraception


contraception1A comprehensive study from the Guttmacher Institute about the way the economy has affected women’s childbearing desires puts the reproductive health care debate into stark relief. Half of the women interviewed said the recession has made them want to delay pregnancy or have fewer children–but half of these same woman are also cutting back on contraception to save money. And nearly 25 percent of women interviewed skipped a gynecologist’s appointment in the last year to save money.

Suddenly, the argument for limiting access to contraception cannot be boiled down to “tell teens not to have sex.” According to Dr. Sharon Camp, the president of the Guttmacher Institute, “The recession has put many women—including middle-class women who are having trouble making ends meet—in an untenable situation. They want to avoid unintended pregnancy more than ever, but at the same time are having difficulty affording the out-of-pocket costs of prescription contraception.” Imagine telling a married woman in her 30s who’s trying to avoid another pregnancy, “Just stop having sex!”

Camp also points that going off the pill or taking it erratically may save money in the short term, but it’s a gamble with very high stakes. And it’s the same gamble facing many sexually active 16-year-olds who can’t afford condoms.

This is exactly why, whenever I have any money to spare, I donate it to Planned Parenthood.