Unplanned Pregnancies Cost Government $11 Billion a Year
Date: Friday, May 20, 2011
Source: Wall Street Journal
Author: Kristina Peterson
To the list of hot-button ideas for reducing the federal government’s budget deficit, add one more: stopping unwanted pregnancies.
Unintended pregnancies likely cost the federal and state governments more than $11 billion a year, estimated a study published Thursday from the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public-policy organization.
“You’re not going to balance the budget by implementing pregnancy-prevention policies–it’s a small slice of the pie,” said Adam Thomas, research director at the institution’s Center on Children and Families and co-author of the paper, which was published Thursday in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. But he said that reducing the costs that the government pays for the medical care of women who didn’t intend to get pregnant and their young children could narrow the federal deficit.
Mr. Thomas and co-author Emily Monea, a research analyst at the center, estimated that the government spent between $9.6 billion and $12.6 billion paying for more than 1.2 million unintended pregnancies in 2001. That sum covered more than 168,000 abortions, upwards of 782,000 births, and publicly financed medical care for more than 884,000 infants aged five and younger. Because women who unintentionally get pregnant are more likely to be low-income, they are more likely to be eligible for government-financed medical care.
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