enotalone logo

Crisis In Economy Affects Birth Control Methods

May 9, 2009

Several recent studies have found that more and more couples are now delaying having a child because of the current recession and crisis in economy as well as due to job insecurity and unemployment. However, according to the findings of a new survey, financial crisis may be causing more unplanned pregnancies, too.

The results of the survey, carried out by the Gallup Organization and released earlier this week, indicate that some women are abandoning their usual methods of contraception or switching to cheaper, less reliable and proven methods due to high prices or lack of health insurance coverage. It was found that 3 per cent of women of child-bearing age had stopped using birth control methods because they could not simply afford them. Six per cent of women who have been using a hormonal form of contraception, such as birth control pills, reported that they had quit the method because of its high cost. Ten per cent of women said that they were preoccupied and were not sure of their ability to keep paying for birth control methods. According to the survey, women who have switched birth control methods, also reported to do so because of cost.

The Gallup survey was conducted for ACOG during the period from March 25 to April 1, 2009. More than 1,000 women of reproductive age have been surveyed and it was revealed that 20 per cent of women in the poll said that they are more worried about having an unplanned pregnancy at a present time than they were a year ago. "Even 3 per cent is a big number if you look at the entire number of women in that age group," said Dr. Iffath A. Hoskins, vice president of ACOG, who presented the survey results. "We are deeply concerned about the effect of the economy on women's healthcare."

Nearly 50 per cent of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. In good economic times, many couples are happy to have another child, Dr. Hoskins said. But when families are restricted in money or when one or even both spouses lose their jobs, an unintended pregnancy can be a complete disaster for a family. Unfortunately, birth control methods are expensive and difficult to obtain in the United States compared to many other countries, said Dr. Rebekah Gee, an obstetrician and gynecologist who served on the Obama administration transition team.

Birth control is unacceptably expensive and unaffordable for many, Dr. Gee said. Every single dollar that is being spent in the public health sector on methods of contraception, saves three dollars in childbirth and newborn healthcare costs for Medicaid. But not all insurance companies pay for birth control means, and women spend their own money and time in order to visit the doctor and obtain prescriptions for the most reliable forms of birth control. "There are multiple costs associated with contraceptives that we do not even think about," she said.

The survey was commissioned by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and presented at the organization's annual meeting in Chicago.

Tags: Career & Money