Free Birth Control?

September 19, 2016
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A recent controversial issue was purposed in Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The issue is whether birth control should be free for all women. Many people were outraged with this proposal. They believe it goes against their religious liberty as they do not believe in premarital sex. Others believe this is a step in the right direction for women’s rights. They believe this proposal allows women to family plan and have safe sex. I strongly believe that the government should fund birth control because it would lower the rates of unintended pregnancies as well as financially benefit taxpayers and the federal government. However, I believe the government should also fund more extensive sex education classes and family planning clinics.

“Three point two million pregnancies in the U.S are unintended” (White). That rate is overwhelming. Even more, most of these pregnancies are among young women and adolescent girls. “Teenage pregnancy has also been designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as one of the six Winnable Battles because of the magnitude of the problem and the belief that it can be addressed by strategies that are known to be effective” (Secura 1316). The CDC stated they believe this issue can be resolved. The best way to resolve this issue is by the government funding birth control. By giving young girls free birth control it would help to lower the rate of unintended pregnancies. Condoms are not a 100% effective. Which is why many doctors recommend having another method of prevention. However, birth control can be too pricy for young women to afford. Especially, when most women prefer long acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods because they are more effective than any other form of birth control. “LARC had an unintended pregnancy rate 16 times lower than the users of the pill, vaginal ring, and the birth control patch” (White 3). LARC methods reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies because it is long acting. Women do not have to worry about taking a pill or inserting a ring. LARC methods, such as an intrauterine device (IUD), essentially allows women forget about their birth control and still be safe. It is easy to see that if the government funded birth control it would lower the rate of unintended pregnancies. By making it easier for women to obtain birth control, they can also obtain their preferred method allowing women to have safe sex and lowering the rate of unintended pregnancies.

Along with lowering the rate of unintended pregnancies the government would benefit financially from funded birth control. “According to Brookings institution, 72.6% of pregnancies of unmarried women under 30 are unintended. When these women cannot shoulder the financial strain of raising children they turn to state aid for food, shelter, and education” (Brooks). Many low income families rely on the government and taxpayers to help them afford basic necessities such as food, shelter, and health care. However, these necessities are not cheap which is why it costs the government and tax payers and incredible amount of money. Women are constantly turning to state aid to help them raise their families when they cannot do that themselves. Many young women who have not finished their education or job training and have an unintended pregnancy can keep them at the poverty level. This leaves them to rely on government assistants to provide for their family. “In 2010, births involving teenage mothers cost the united states nearly $10 billion in increased public assistance” (Secura 1316). The amount of money the government is using to help young mothers raise their children is incredibly high, especially when many of these pregnancies are unintended. Having the government fund birth control would lower the rate of young mothers relying on state assistance. This would leave billions of dollars to go to schools, road work, and the community. Because as stated early the government already spends an average of 10 billion a year on state aid for low income families. Government funding birth control not only helps women choose to have children when they are ready but also helps our community because of the amount of money spent on raising children on a single parent’s income.

Most women can afford the birth control pill. Which is a form of contraceptive that has women take one pill every day at the same time. However, the pill is not 100% effective, in fact it is not even 90% effective. The pills effectiveness relies on the woman’s ability to take one pill every day at the same time. Allowing women to choose their birth control results in the increased effectiveness of the overall strategy. Unfortunately, many women find this hard to achieve because it is hard to remember to take one pill every day at the same time. Many women fall short on taking the pill at the right time, which leads to the pills ineffectiveness. This can lead to unintended pregnancies. As previously mentionded, most women prefer LARC methods of birth control, because they are long acting so it does not require women to remember every day to take it. They can essentially forget their birth control but still be safe. However, every form of contraceptive has varying side effects that can be minor or major. But with recent technologies and research it is believed that serious side effects are minimal. “Serious problems with the IUD are now considered rare” (White 3). A major setback to LARC methods is that they are more expensive than the pill. A form of LARC can cost anywhere from $100-1000. This makes it hard for women to obtain a more reliable birth control. In the St. Louis study they gave young women free birth control and allowed them to choose which method they would prefer. Needless to say most girls chose LARC methods. If the government funded birth control women could obtain their preferred method a lot easier. Especially since LARC methods are the most effective. Allowing women to do this would result in fewer unintended pregnancies.

A main concern that people have with government funded birth control is that the birth control would allow women to believe in “consequence-free” sex. People are concerned that young women do not understand all the risks of having sex and giving them free birth control would make them forget all the other consequences that could follow from having sex. “IUDs do nothing to prevent such diseases [STDs] and possibly even provide a false sense of health security leading to riskier behaviors” (Mancini). Birth control does nothing to protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Some believe this is due to a false sense of safety birth control provides however, I believe this is partly to blame by the unregulated sex education classes. “Only 21 states mandate sex education” (White 4). Those numbers are startling and people still wonder why young women do not understand all the consequences of having sex. Even more startling, “1 in 4 sexually active adolescent girls has an STD” (Mancini). If the government not only funds free birth control but also funds regulated sex education classes there would be less young women contracting STDs. Because of no regulations on the states sex education classes many young women are unaware of the other consequences of having sex and they carry this on through adulthood. The government should require that all states have some form of sex education where they discuss STDs and other significant risks of having sex. This will allow women to understand all the consequences of sex. This would remove the “false sense of safety” many young women have when they obtain birth control.

Not only should the government fund and regulate sex education classes but they should also fund high quality care for women. Many women go to their gynecologist but still leave with many questions unanswered. “Focusing on contraception does not obviate the need for equitable access to high quality care” (Gilliam). Many doctors do not even discuss the benefits and precautions of each birth control. Nor, do they discuss how the birth control works specifically. This leaves many women blindly taking a form of birth control that may not work for them and can cause various side effects. “One approach to education has been to structure the conversation, not around how well they [birth control] works but on how they work” (White 4). Doctors should be required by law to disclose any and all information about each form of birth control. Women also need doctors who are prepared to listen to their concerns and questions regarding their sexually health. The government should be funding high quality care so that women are fully educated on their birth control methods and their own sexual health.

Another form of high quality care is family planning clinics. These clinics are specialized in sexual health and prenatal care. Family planning clinics discuss different types of birth control and they also discuss how to have a healthy pregnancy that will lead to a healthy baby. The government should fund these clinics because they help young women plan their family and educate them on their sexual health. “That is why the public investment in family planning that enables young and low income women to plan their own pregnancies is smart government at its best. It leads to healthier mothers and babies and empowers women to finish their education or job training and saves billions of tax payers dollars” (Hassedt). Family planning clinics are another form of sex education and high quality care. The government should fund theses clinics so they can help women become educated in planning their families. That way women can have children when they are ready because these clinics give women the right education and tools they need to not have any unintended pregnancies.

Unintended pregnancies has become a rising issue in the U.S. One of the best ways to slow down this issue would be to have the government fund birth control. By the government funding birth control it would lower the rate of unintended pregnancies. It would also lower the amount of money spent in state assistance for low income families. This would result in money being able to be spent in local communities. Giving young women free birth control would allow them to have safe sex without the consequence of getting pregnant, which would then allow for women to finish their education or job training. This would result in less people living in poverty. However, the government cannot stop at funding free birth control. The government also needs to mandate sex education classes. Not enough adolescents are taught about sex. Which results in them not understanding the severe consequences that can happen when they do not have safe sex. If the government mandated sex education classes it would teach all adolescents about sex and how to have safe sex. As well as mandating sex education the government needs to fund high quality care to young women. This would allow women to become educated in their own sexual health. By having trained and supportive health care professionals that are there to answer all the questions women might have when decided a form of birth control or determining how to have a healthy pregnancy would also result in more women being educated about their sexual health. If the government funded birth control, mandated sex education classes, and fund high quality care there would be less unintended pregnancies and more healthy mothers and babies.

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