Increased Access to Long-Acting Methods Reduces Unintended Pregnancies in Iowa


It seems like a given: Increased access to contraception leads to a decline in unintended pregnancy. Make it easier to obtain birth control, particularly long-acting birth control, and you’ll seen an even greater decline.

This was the goal of the Iowa Initiative, a group formed to lower the rate of unintended pregnancy in the state. The five-year program has resulted in a decline in unplanned pregnancy from 48 percent to 44 percent of all pregnancies.

Via the Des Moines Register:

The Iowa Initiative, a private group that encourages use of such methods, said the percent of Iowa pregnancies that are unintended dropped from nearly 48 percent in 2006 to 44 percent in 2011. The group is winding down a five-year campaign to help women avoid unplanned pregnancies. The group says such pregnancies lead to more abortions and to social costs from children growing up in unstable homes or with mothers whose educations were curtailed by pregnancy.

Sally Pederson, a former lieutenant governor who is director of the group, noted that in 2006, nearly half of pregnancies in the United States and in Iowa were unintended. “That’s one of the highest levels in the developed world,” she said at a press conference.

The Iowa Initiative focused on providing longer term birth control options like IUDs, a contraceptive measure that has a higher success rates over time, but often has prohibitive initial costs. The Initiative shouldered those costs for some, and helped pay for clinics, training, and education for providers. According to the Association for Reproductive Health Professionals, fewer than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant while using an IUD, compared to 8 in 100 for those who use the pill or 15 in 100 for those who use condoms, given higher rates of user error in the latter two methods.

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