Study Confirms Obamacare’s Birth Control Mandate Could Reduce Abortion Rate

Written by Tara Culp-Ressler

A new study focusing on low-income women in St. Louis, MO concludes that expanding access to free contraception — just as the health care reform law does through its provision to provide birth control without a co-pay — leads to significantly lower rates of unintended teen pregnancy and abortion. Researchers found that when women weren’t prohibited by cost, they chose more effective, long-lasting forms of birth control and experienced much fewer unintended pregnancies as a result.

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis worked in partnership with the local Planned Parenthood affiliate to track over 9,200 low-income women in the St. Louis area, some of whom lacked insurance coverage, during a four-year Contraceptive CHOICE study. The CHOICE project simulated Obamacare’s birth control provision by allowing teens and women to select from the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive options and receive their preferred method at no cost. They found that birth rates among the teens who received free birth control in the CHOICE project were less than a fifth of the national teen birth rate — just 6.3 births per 1,000 teens, compared to 34.3 per 1,000 teens nationwide in 2010 — and abortion rates were less than half of both the regional and national rates.

And researchers are confident that these positive findings could extend to the rest of the nation, estimating that the national simulation of their CHOICE program could prevent one abortion for every 79 to 137 women given a choice between free birth control options. “As a society, we want to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortion rates. This study has demonstrated that having access to no-cost contraception helps us get to that goal,” Alina Salganicoff, director of women’s health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told the Associated Press.

In a press release, Planned Parenthood officials noted that the study strongly suggests that President Obama’s health reform law will help lower the abortion rate. “This study shows that the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit can dramatically reduce the need for abortion in the U.S. once it is fully implemented,” said Dana Singiser, the vice president of public policy and government relations for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “To prevent unintended pregnancy, women need full information, full coverage and full choice for what type of birth control works best for them.”

Lowered rates of unintended pregnancy are directly related to increased access to contraception, and the CHOICE project reinforces the fact that increasing access involves removing cost barriers to birth control. Women of reproductive age currently spend about 68 percent more than men do on out-of-pocket health care costs, partly because of high contraception costs — for example, a year’s supply of oral birth control pills typically costs over $1,200 out of pocket. Nearly one in three U.S. women report they have stopped using their preferred contraceptive method, or used it less consistently and effectively, at some point because they could not afford it.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


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Heather G.
Heather G5 years ago

Cyan, in reality the factcheck article you posted a link to concludes that the issue is conflicting and inconclusive, that's why "cloudy" is in the title. Only a "biased" reading of it would conclude it contradicts this care2 article.

Marie W.
Marie W5 years ago

OTC birthcontrol.

shell bell

That's wonderful news.Thanks for sharing!

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs5 years ago

Darryl, I agree with you But few on this thread or website get the attack on the 1st amendment and the Orwellian rhetoric employed to obfuscate that fact, by ignoring that "free" is not-objecting employers will pay by higher premiums, insurance companies will pay Big Pharma more than with competition, and pass on the increased costs to employers that have the legal and moral right NOT to provide the (not) "free" services. Big Pharma is the only gainer here. It is Chicago style thuggery-Schultz is appt'd to HHS legal team to crush opposition, Schultz is a Big Pharma employee, Big Pharma will get more profit from bc pills with the mandate.
I merely attempted to point out the glaring error that contraception costs so much. It does not, without the mandate, it is affordable, not necessary, not basic health care, dangerous to woman's health. A quote from a better writer, "The terminology of Obamacare remains relentlessly Orwellian. Under it, one and all must accept the official lies that obvious costs count as “free services,” disabling functioning parts of the body constitutes “basic health care,” and blameless assertions of freedom under the First Amendment are “discriminatory.” Those who refuse to bow to these oppressive lies, according to the federal government, are the real oppressors, the “boss” who stands athwart his employees’ freedoms. The goal is to propagandize the people so deeply that out of a petrified gratitude they will

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs5 years ago

Correction I inadvertently posted an old study. There is little new info but from personal recent experience, my cost w/o ins was at most $20/mo, 10 if I went through Costco.
Here is a link that is more complete, though many of you might find it "biased" because it contradicts this article.

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs5 years ago

A glaring error in this "article" is the cost of contraception. $1200 per yr? That is ridiculous and untrue currently-but the mandate will insure that Big Pharma makes a lot more profit because of the mandate because they no longer have to compete for business and will charge the ins companies maybe as much as this article claims the cost is now.
Here is the link to a cost comparison of various contraception methods, which indicates the avg yrly cost of bc pills is $172.00

Sylvia B.
Sylvia B5 years ago

Daryll G ans Stephen B must be made of money. I hope they will be kind enough to demonstrate their regard for life by adopting all the unwanted kids and raise them to be functional adults. Otherwise, I don't want to hear anymore hypocritical "Let's-ban-abortion,-but-let-me-keep-my-assault-rifles-to-shoot-people-who-stare-at-me-funny-at-the-mall" flapdoodle.

Darryll Green
Darryll Green5 years ago

Sandra, you still don't get it do you, the fight isn't about healthcare, it's about Obama passing a law that slaps christians and the catholic charities in the face, the fight is about the catholic charities and christian companies being forced to supply something that is totaly against their beliefs in the sanctity of life, WHEN he could have made the pharmicutical companies lower the price and make it affordable for all of the women who need it or want it, instead he deliberatlly attacked christians and catholics

Original Message:

Sandra left a comment on the following article:

Study Confirms Obamacare's Birth Control Mandate Could Reduce Abortion Rate
When society forces women to subdivide their bodies, and state that the female organs of reproduction are to be ignored when it comes to health care, you're saying that women are not fully actuated human beings. That we are only bodies that house the reproductive organs, and that neither part is worthy of respect. I'm saying that every single part of a woman's body is precious and important. That a woman deserves every single option that is available as part of her ongoing medical care. Taxpaying WORKING women certainly deserve AT LEAST as much as women on Medicaid and Medicare receive. By denying taxpaying working women free birth control via their health care insurance, you are denying them the services that you already freely give to illegal immigrants and to the poor and indigen

Stephen Brian
Stephen Brian5 years ago

Hi Sandra,

I did read your posts. They simply failed to support the points which you asserted.

The trouble with arguing that contraception is "standard care" is that we are discussing what should be "standard care" or, depending on your favorite definition of "standard care", what should be subsidized by others. (The usual definition is ambiguous regarding this matter.) One can just as easily argue, as more scaffolds are developed, that replacement-parts should become part of standard care, and not only in case of injury, cancer, or other localized problems, but as preventative care.

I was sticking to subsidy of contraceptives because that was the issue studied in the study about which the article above is written. I agree that the price is not very high, but I question whether it is reasonable to demand that others pay it if the same effect, in terms of communal wealth even if not in terms of the well-being of the recipient, can be achieved at a lower price. Simply asserting that the price is not exorbitant does not make it reasonable.

I don't think Viagra or penile implants should be covered by mandated health-coverage and subsidized by others either. those should be strictly optional so that only those who can afford them can get them, so that money is not forcibly demanded of others for the purpose. Prostate-exams should be covered much like the PAP tests are, because both can prevent serious disease, and illness and death in the working population harms comm

Sandra Lewis
Sandra Lewis5 years ago

Stephen, I have a master's degree in mathematics and computer science. I've worked for health insurance companies as a consultant designing statistical models to develop actuarial tools. Your focus has been on a very narrow subject: providing no-cost birth control services as preventative care for women as part of their commercial health insurance and claiming that this is an exorbitant cost that is passed to other people. I'm claiming that the cost is not exorbitant. In Hawaii, the first state to require full health care insurance for all of its working population, and the first state to mandate birth control coverage, the additional cost worked out to 85 cents per person. Before you begrudge the 60% of women who may be using medical birth control, and not necessarily a prescription, don't forget that men already get to enjoy the fun of ready access to viagra, penile implants, and regular prostate exams. A very good friend of mine is allowed to have a PAP test every two years with her health insurance, but has to pay for further tests herself if anything is amiss. It is amiss and she needs $1000 up front to get things checked out and possible have an operation and cancer treatments. I advised her to quit her job so that she can be eligible for Medicaid, because her health insurance was no good. Hopefully, with the new mandate they will have to perform further testing and then she can get her treatment covered, too.