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Fam Plann Perspect. 1996 Sep-Oct;28(5):188-95.

Impact of publicly funded contraceptive services on unintended pregnancies and implications for Medicaid expenditures.

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  • 1Alan Guttmacher Institute, New York, USA.


Of U.S. women who use a reversible method of contraception, 24% each year obtain family planning services from a publicly funded clinic or a private doctor reimbursed by Medicaid. If these subsidized contraceptive services were not available, women who currently use them would have an estimated 1.3 million additional unplanned pregnancies annually, of which 29% would involve women aged 15-19, 67% would involve never-married women and 61% would involve women with a household income below 200% of the federal poverty level. An estimated 632,300 of these pregnancies would end in induced abortion, an increase of 40% over the current national level. Another 533,800 pregnancies would result in unintended births. Some 76,400 of these would be births to families already receiving public assistance, and 64,100 would be to families that would become eligible for public assistance because of the birth; another 197,000 would be to women whose families would not receive public assistance, but would be eligible for Medicaid coverage of pregnancy, delivery and newborn care. In FY 1987, public-sector expenditures for contraceptive services totaled an estimated $412 million. If subsidized services had not been available, the federal and state governments would have spent an additional $1.2 billion through their Medicaid programs for expenses associated with unplanned births and abortions. Thus, for every dollar spent to provide publicly funded contraceptive services, an average of $3.00 was saved in Medical costs for pregnancy-related health care and medical care for newborns.

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