A study published Thursday by researchers at Washington University confirmed the obvious: Free birth control leads to fewer abortions and teenage pregnancies.
The study spent two years tracking more than 9,000 women and girls who were given free birth control. Most were poor or uninsured. The group produced 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers, far fewer than the 2010 national rate of 34 per 1,000.
Abortions occurred at a rate of less than eight per 1,000 women, 12 less than the national number.
“The impact of providing no-cost birth control was far greater than we expected,” Jeff Peipert, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis who co-authored the study, said in a statement.
Women’s health specialists say the study points to the potential impact of the Democrats’ health care reform bill, the Affordable Care Act, which mandates access to contraceptives without co-payments. The study’s authors say when this kind of program is deployed nationwide, more than 40 percent of the over 1 million abortions performed in the United States each year could be avoided.