World Contraception Day is September 26—an opportune time to reflect on the importance of family planning, especially in the wake of the Trump administration’s harmful policies.
People thrive when they have access to a full range of contraceptive care. There is a domino effect of positive outcomes when family planning enables people to space their children, resulting in improved health and quality of life for everyone. When people can delay childbearing until they’re ready, women and girls have greater educational, economic, social, and political opportunities—all of which yield positive outcomes for entire communities. The children of these families also have greater educational and economic opportunities, are better nourished, and are more likely to be immunized. Family planning reduces poverty and is the cornerstone to economic prosperity for women, girls, and entire communities all over the world.
And it makes sense economically to invest in contraceptive care both in the U.S. and abroad. In the U.S., by expanding Medicaid, access to family planning increased. The Medicaid expansion cost $235 million, but saved $1.32 billion by preventing unplanned pregnancies. Additionally, for every dollar spent on helping women avoid unintended pregnancies, the U.S. saves $7.09 in Medicaid costs. Internationally, for every $1 spent on contraceptive care, the cost of pregnancy-related care is reduced by $1.47.
Finally, and most importantly, access to contraception saves lives. Helping people space pregnancies makes childbearing safer and healthier and also reduces unsafe abortions.
Despite this, Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have put access to contraceptive care, here in the U.S. and abroad, in their crosshairs through a variety of domestic and foreign policies. One such policy is the Global Gag Rule, one of the first executive orders Trump signed when he took office. This order will make it nearly impossible for people in many parts of the developing world to access contraceptives.
Trump and radical Republicans insist on eliminating people’s agency over their own lives. They pursue ideology over the rights of those most affected by their policies: the 885 million people in the developing world who report wanting to avoid pregnancy—214 million of whom are not using modern contraception.
On this World Contraception Day, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the result of Trump’s policies will be lethal: lack of access to contraceptive care will result in more unintended pregnancies, an increase in unsafe abortions, and higher maternal mortality and under-5 deaths around the world. This loss of life is totally preventable.
We need to ensure that every person has access to the family planning and contraceptive care they need and want. This involves not only making sure that contraceptive care is accessible, but also that medically accurate information is widely available so people can make the most informed decisions and shape their lives and their families in the way that they want.
Make your voice heard and learn about how Trump’s dangerous policies impede access to contraceptive care.
Join us on September 26 from 3:00PM-4:00PM EST for a Twitter chat co-hosted with CHANGE and journalist Jennifer Wright. Find us on Twitter – we’re PopConnectAction – @popconnect