Each dollar spent on publicly funded family planning saves more than $7


For years, the Guttmacher Institute has been calculating just how many unintended pregnancies are prevented–and how much money is saved–by investing in public family planning programs. It’s a depressingly necessary project, as conservatives have taken aim at such funding — both in the US and abroad — in their quest to slash the safety net and vilify all reproductive health care. 

As the latest analysis from Guttmacher makes crystal clear, that’s both morally and fiscally irresponsible. In 2010, publicly supported family planning services not only prevented an estimated 2.2 million unintended pregnancies, but also helped Americans avoid 99,000 cases of chlamydia, 16,000 cases of gonorrhea, 410 cases of HIV, 1,100 ectopic pregnancies, 2,100 cervical cancer deaths, and 2,200 cases of infertility.

And all those good things lead to a net savings to the government. Not that there’s anything wrong with spending money to save lives, prevent disease, support healthy pregnancies, and give low-income women greater control over their lives. (I mean, you’d think the 761,000 fetuses saved abortions avoided alone would be worth whatever the cost for pro-lifers–though, of course, you’d be wrong.) But in reality, the programs saved $13.6 billion–each dollar spent saved over $7 down the road.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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