Researchers have found that access to free birth control substantially reduces unplanned pregnancy and abortion rates.
The study, part of The Contraceptive Choice Project, enrolled 9,256 women and adolescents in the St. Louis area between 2007 and 2011. Participants were aged 14 to 45 years, at risk for unintended pregnancy and willing to start a new contraceptive method.
The women were counselled about the different methods, including their effectiveness, risks and benefits.
From 2008 to 2010, annual abortion rates among study participants ranged from 4.4 to 7.5 per 1,000 women. This is 62% to 78% lower than the 2008 national rate of 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women.