Report: Unintended pregnancy rate balloons among low-income women

And the rate may continue to rise as more comprehensive reproductive health clinics are shuttered by bad laws

Published September 10, 2013 5:03PM (EDT)

According to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, unintended pregnancies in the United States are increasingly concentrated among low-income women. In fact, between 1994 and 2006, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with incomes that fall below the national poverty level rose to five times the rate of women at the highest income levels.

There is ample evidence to show how access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare reduces unintended pregnancies and benefits women's lives, but as more reproductive health clinics are shuttered by unnecessary regulation and low- and no-cost contraception become increasingly unavailable as a result, the number of unintended pregnancies may continue to rise, as Guttmacher notes:

Two-thirds of U.S. women at risk for unintended pregnancy use contraception consistently and correctly throughout the course of any given year; these women account for only 5% of all unintended pregnancies. In contrast, the 19% of women at risk who use contraception inconsistently or incorrectly account for 43% of all unintended pregnancies. The 16% of women at risk who do not practice contraception at all for a month or more during the year account for 52% of all unintended pregnancies.

You can read the full report here.

h/t ThinkProgress

By 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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