Sunday, March 20, 2016

Unintended Pregnancies Decline in 2011, But Racial and Economic Disparities Continue

RH Reality Check (March 14, 2016): Unintended Pregnancy Reaches a 30-Year Low, But Racial and Economic Disparities Persist, by Elizabeth Dawes Gay:

A new study from the Guttmacher Institute indicates that in 2011, the unintended pregnancy rate for women 15-44 fell to 45% of all pregnancies.  The decline appears to correlate to expanded access to contraceptives following implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  However, despite the gains, poor women and women of color continue to experience higher rates of unintended pregnancies.  Elizabeth Dawes Gay discusses systemic inequities that lead to the disparities.  Despite passage of the ACA, women of color are still more likely to be uninsured.   The majority of the 17 states that have refused to expand Medicaid eligibility have a higher percentage of residents of color.  Racial discrimination in health care settings persist and may lead women to avoid health systems. Finally, "women of color disproportionately struggle under the weight of poverty."  This may make it difficult for them to afford birth control when faced with the needs of paying other bills.  Gay cites findings from the Center for American Progress that "single Black women have a median wealth of only $100 and single Latina women have a median wealth of $120, compared to $41,500 for single white women."

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