An American “Caste System” — Via Cost Barriers to Contraception

March 16, 2015 • Daily Email Recap

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Unwanted pregnancy is contributing to a new “caste system” in America. Is that about to get worse? When new and better technologies become available only to people who are already privileged, the rich get richer and opportunity gaps get wider. That’s exactly what’s happening with family planning-and unless trends change, a recent revolution in contraceptive technology may deepen America’s economic divide. Many factors intersect to create poverty or keep people mired there: racism, sexism, untreated illness and mental illness, hopelessness created by lack of opportunity, structural barriers between social classes, and more.

Disruptive, unsought pregnancy and childbearing is one of these factors, both a cause and consequenceof poverty. Modern long- acting contraceptives offer women impressive protection, literally toggling the fertility default setting to “off” until a woman wants it on. But as with so many empowering tools, access is least available to those most vulnerable to having their family wellbeing, dreams and opportunities derailed.

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