In Case You Were Wondering: Contraception Really Does Reduce Unplanned Pregnancy. Like, Really.

March 22, 2011

Unplanned Pregnancy


As the debate about government funding of contraceptive access rages on, some have questioned whether contraception does in fact decrease abortion. In response to the confusion, some of which referred to (and/or totally misunderstood) their research, Guttmacher Institute posted a media update on their website emphasizing that research does indeed link effective use of contraception to lower rates of unintended pregnancy, and that the vast majority of abortions are the result of unintended pregnancy. A sneak peek:

Guttmacher Institute research shows that the two-thirds of U.S. women at risk of unintended pregnancy who use contraception consistently and correctly throughout the course of any given year account for only 5% of all unintended pregnancies. The 19% of women at risk who use contraception but do so inconsistently account for 44% of all unintended pregnancies, while the 16% of women at risk who do not use contraception at all for a month or more during the year account for 52% of all unintended pregnancies.


An important piece of the conversation, which the Guttmacher update notes, is that not all birth control methods are created equal, and not all birth control users are well-matched to the higher-maintenance methods. A disproportionate number of women who had an abortion while using contraception were using methods like condoms or withdrawal, which need to be used perfectly, every single time, to be effective.

To me that sounds like an argument for federal funding to give women better access to better methods, not the contrary. If you agree that federal funding for contraceptive access is important, sign Bedsider's petition asking Congress NOT to increase the risk of unplanned pregnancy.

Authored by: Liz Sabatiuk

Liz Sabatiuk is Senior Manager of Digital Media at The National Campaign. She’s responsible for developing and managing content for The National Campaign’s award winning website,—a birth control support network for 18- to 29-year-olds. Liz works closely with consultants, content creators, and partners to produce engaging, medically accurate content that represents and extends the Bedsider brand. This includes everything from Bedsider feature articles to tumblr posts to the Guy’s Guide to Birth Control.


Liz began working at The National Campaign in 2008 for the Latino Initiative and co-authored the report Toward a Common Future: Latino Teens and Adults Speak Out About Teen Pregnancy. She earned a BA in English Literature from Goucher College and is currently working toward an MA in Communication, Culture & Technology at Georgetown University.

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