Family planning services saved the U.S. $10.5 billion, prevented 760,000 abortions in 2010

Surprise! Basic access to contraception saves taxpayers a ton of money each year and helps prevent abortions

By Katie McDonough
Published July 31, 2013 3:57PM (EDT)
Rick Perry          (AP/Eric Gay)
Rick Perry (AP/Eric Gay)

Publicly funded family planning services, the kind currently being gutted by state lawmakers across the country, saved the government $10.5 billion and helped women prevent 2.2 million unplanned pregnancies and 760,000 abortions in 2010, according to a new study released by the Guttmacher Institute.

To break it down even further, taxpayers saved $5.68 for every dollar the government spent on contraceptive services that year.

Health centers that received some funding through the federal Title X program, which Republicans have also been working diligently to axe in the name of austerity, served 4.7 million women in 2010, helping to prevent 1.2 million unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in an estimated 590,000 unplanned births and 400,000 abortions.

"Each year, millions of women are able to access highly effective contraceptive methods through these programs," said Jennifer Frost, a senior researcher for Guttmacher. "Investing in family planning to help women avoid pregnancies they don't want and for which they are unprepared is good public health policy. Saving money as a result of that investment is just common sense."

This isn't the first study to suggest that ensuring women have access to contraception has a positive impact on, basically, every single thing in the world.

According to yet another report from Guttmacher, this time a review of more than 66 studies conducted over three decades, a woman’s ability to control her fertility affects much more than just if and when she’ll start a family.

Access to contraception was found to be related to all sorts of positive outcomes in family, mental health, children’s well-being and general life satisfaction, as Adam Sonfield, lead author of the review, notes: "The scientific evidence strongly confirms what has long been obvious to women. Contraceptive use, and the ensuing ability to decide whether and when to have children, is linked to a host of benefits for themselves, the quality of their relationships, and the well-being of their children."

Rick Perry, Trent Franks,  et. al., take note.

You can read the full report here.


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abortion Family Planning Services Title X Unplanned Pregnancy Women's Health