Congress Needs to Put the CDC’s Latest Report on its Summer Reading List

 

Since Congress funds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), maybe it should take a moment to read the latest CDC report on unintended pregnancies and births.

According to a new report released Tuesday from CDC, 37% of all live births in the United States are from pregnancies that were unintended at the time of conception. The unintended pregnancy rate, when including all pregnancy outcomes (live birth, miscarriage, still birth, and abortion), was estimated to be even higher at 50%. That means that half of all pregnancies in the United States are not intended at the time of conception.

The statistics are even more frightening when you look at unintended pregnancies among teens: 87% of all births are unintended at the time of conception.  The CDC reported a decrease in unintended births among non-Hispanic white women who were married or who were formerly married, but the growth in unintended births among unmarried women kept the overall unintended pregnancy rate unchanged.

The new data shows that “large and persistent differences are seen in unintended births by income and education.” Women with a college education have a 7% unintended pregnancy rate, while women who did not complete high school have a 35% unintended pregnancy rate.  Income was also a significant factor. Women making 400% or more over the poverty line have an unintended pregnancy rate of 9%, while women below the poverty line have an unintended pregnancy rate of 38%. Not surprisingly perhaps, 60% of women with an unintended pregnancy did not use contraception.

It’s disturbing, however, that the number one reason they gave for not using contraception was they did not think they could get pregnant. These results demonstrate that lower-income women, in particular, need comprehensive sexual education and improved access to family planning services and information.

Unfortunately, the U.S. House of Representatives did not get the CDC’s message.  Last week the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the FY2013 funding bill and slashed support for family planning and sex education in the schools.  The bill, which was passed out of the subcommittee on a largely party line vote, would almost certainly increase unintended pregnancies and births.

As approved by the Subcommittee, the 2012 funding bill would:

  • Eliminate Title X, which provides funding for family planning clinics serving low-income households;
  • Defund Planned Parenthood and any of its affiliates, unless the organizations certify that they will not perform abortions or provide any funds to any other entity that does; and
  • Provide only $20 million for evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention, $89 million below the President’s request, while providing $20 million for unproven “abstinence only” education programs.

These cuts would have a huge impact on women across the country and on the unintended pregnancy rate. More than 5 million women and men access family planning and related services every year through Title X funded clinics. According to the Guttmacher Institute, in 2008, Title X-supported centers helped prevent 973,000 unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in 432,600 unintended births and 406,200 abortions.  Planned Parenthood clinics alone serve 1 in 5 women at some point during their lives. How does Congress expect these low-income women to access family planning services and information?

A giant cut in evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs would constitute a giant step back in efforts to curb unwanted teen pregnancies. Similarly, elimination of funding for Planned Parenthood and Title X family planning clinics would deny many low-income women the access they need to family planning services and information.

Tell Congress to halt the assault on contraception and reproductive health.  Ask your elected-representatives to fully fund Title X, Planned Parenthood, and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative!

 

Related Stories:

‘This Is My Body’ Video Sees Women Speaking Out for Control

House GOP Might Shut Down Government Over Contraception

When Saving Women’s Lives Becomes Controversial

 

Photo Credit: Jenny Lee Silver, Flickr

59 comments

Tony C.
Tony C.4 years ago

Sex Education should be taught on Contraceptives, Masturbation, Pregnancy, LGBT all forms of sex. Let us face it whether we like it or not children are curious and are having sex earlier. Children should be taught the JOYS and the CONSEQUENCES of having sex ( Pregnancy, STD, AIDS and others.) I believe this is a solution. Stopping the damage before it starts so that Bullying, Sexual Assault, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principles where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. If children grow up with these values, I believe business and government would benefit greatly. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

Prentise Wylie
pre,tpse w.4 years ago

RE: Sarah H: "If you don't want to get pregnant, then use protection. Case closed."

1. It is disconcerting when hostile men make such ignorant comments, and it is disheartening
when a woman does... you know, a woman with reproductive organs (presumably).

2. No form of birth control besides abstinence and sterlization are completely fail-proof;
no birth control other than condoms are available for men; and birth control pills, foams,
rubbers, IUDs, shots, and all the rest are potentially dangerous, as well as unpleasant,
and it is therefore not that simple a decision to use them.

3. When anyone makes such a brief statement as though it is the one and only truth and no
other viewpoint should even be considered ("case closed"), it really shows how blind and
close-minded she or he is. This person sounds somewhat like the idiot male politicians
who were recently quoted as saying (ha, ha) that an aspirin between a woman's knees is
the best birth control (again, with no consideration of the man's role).

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill4 years ago

If you don't want to get pregnant, then use protection. Case closed.

Linda Rust
Past Member 4 years ago

Jennie, Maybe future anthropologists will read a different story. One that says: At one point, a group of ignorant barbarians tried to take-over their civilization with unimaginably crude and backward ideas about how human beings should be forced to live. Fortunately, there was an incredibly strong backlash of support from the intelligent and caring faction of their society which overcame this onslaught of medieval thinking, and created a fair and just society where all members lived a life of dignity and respect. We can still make sure THAT happens...

Beverly C.
Beverly C.4 years ago

It is beyond my comprehension that the Republicans in Congress refuse to even recognize and act upon the "FACTS" presented in this C.D.C. Report. -Have they lost their humanity?

wchi wink
.4 years ago

along with un-intended pregnancies, comes un-intended births - think of all those un-intended kids out there! It's better to have kids that are wanted!
So keep abortion legal!

Isabel Gosset
Isabel G.4 years ago

Education makes a big difference

Pamela Tracy
Pamela Tracy4 years ago

Thanks for info on Planned Parenthood....the new birth among minority teens definitely should be addressed..however most of these teens are from large families...

In doing my ancestry I just found all of those children hard to take...and worse those poor moms died while so many were babies...so sad.

If non-minority people are not having children at a higher rate that should take care of the problem..then minority people wont feel the need to have so many children either....

Education makes lot of difference...I was adamant not to have any more children after we had two....never did...never had an unexpected pregnancy either....tho my husband forgot he told me he wanted a son....

Planned sex is the answer...and if unplanned sex comes up be prepared.

Ken W.
Ken W.4 years ago

A big hell yes !!

Carole L.
Carole L.4 years ago

{{{More than 5 million women and men access family planning and related services every year through Title X funded clinics. According to the Guttmacher Institute, in 2008, Title X-supported centers helped prevent 973,000 unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in 432,600 unintended births and 406,200 abortions. Planned Parenthood clinics alone serve 1 in 5 women at some point during their lives. }}}

I guess they want those ‘More than 5 million women and men who access family planning and related services every year through Title X funded clinics’ to just pop out those babies.

Okay, ladies and gents (and you may quote me), all together now;
Come November, women will remember
Come November, women will remember
Come November, women will remember