WASHINGTON, DC — New data released today from the Guttmacher Institute shows tremendous progress in reducing unintended pregnancy rates in the United States, while underscoring that there is still work to be done to ensure all women — no matter where they live or how much money they have — can access reproductive health care, especially in large parts of the South. In the report, researchers found that unintended pregnancy rates fell 5 percent or more in 18 states and rose 5 percent or more in four states across the decade (2002–2010). Unintended pregnancy rates were generally highest in the South (Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia) and Southwest (Texas, New Mexico), and in densely populated states (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York).
Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“This report shows that we have made tremendous progress in reducing unintended pregnancy in the United States and that we need to continue doing what works: expanding access to contraception and sex education. We need to continue moving forward on women’s health, not go backward.
“As America’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, we know our health care system only really works if it works for everybody. This report shows the incredible advances we’ve made for women’s health and economic opportunity, and it is also a stark reminder that we have much more work to do to, particularly in the South.
“The South is a place of tremendous strength, but this report shows that women and girls in the South are far more likely to get pregnant before they are ready than women in other parts of the country. As a nation, we’ve got to do more to expand access to sex education, birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, HIV screening, and abortion in the South so that our country is united by health equity, rather than divided by unjust disparities.
“This is more than a matter of women’s health — it’s about women’s opportunity for economic advancement. Access to affordable birth control and sex education is key for helping women attain equality in education, the workplace and the economy.”
You can read more about Planned Parenthood’s work in New Orleans in a recent Cosmo.com piece here; and stories on efforts to protect access to safe and legal abortion in Alabama here and in Texas here.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
January 26, 2015