Access to free birth control leads to lower rates of abortions and teen births, according to a new and extensive study from Washington University in St. Louis. (Well, the study is new, but the information is older than Antonin Scalia — we'll get to that in a second.)
The study followed more than 9,000 mostly poor and/or uninsured women in St. Louis who were given their pick of contraceptive methods, free of charge. As it turns out, most women chose the most effective option — implants, which usually cost hundreds of dollars upfront — if they didn't have to pay for them. It boggles the mind, right?
In further shocking revelations: the women in the study experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies than did other women in St. Louis and across the nation who don't have access to affordable reproductive healthcare. The effect on teen pregnancy was huge: there were only 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study, as opposed to the national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010. There were only 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study, as opposed to 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women in St. Louis and 20 abortions per 1,000 women in the country.
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