A new Guttmacher report finds that, not surprisingly, the recession has been impacting women’s decisions about birth control and family planning.
After months of anecdotal reports, a survey released today provides the first hard evidence of the recession’s impact on women’s contraceptive use and childbearing decisions. Researchers at the Guttmacher Institute found that because of current economic concerns, nearly half of women surveyed want to delay pregnancy or limit the number of children they have—and for about half of these women, the recession has heightened the focus on effective contraceptive use. But for many, economic hardship means having to skimp on their contraceptive use, for example, by stretching their monthly supply of pills or shifting to a less expensive method—or not using birth control at all—in order to save money. Nearly one in four women have put off a gynecologic or birth control visit in the past year to save money, and the same proportion report having a harder time paying for birth control than they did in the past.
The report “A Real-Time Look at the Impact of the Recession on Women’s Family Planning and Pregnancy Decisions” found that more than one in four women surveyed or their partners have lost jobs or health insurance in the past year, and that 52% say they are financially worse off than they were a year ago. Not surprisingly, more than half of the women surveyed worry more now about their ability to take care of their children. Among those who say they are financially worse off, three-quarters voice this concern.