Since the economic downturn in 2008, a study produced by the Guttmacher Institute indicates that a sizeable number of women have altered their childbearing plans because of the recession. The report, highlighted by The Washington Post, surveyed 947 women ages 18 to 34 that can get pregnant and live in a household with an average income of below $75,000. Some findings show that:
• 31% want to delay pregnancy
• 28% want fewer children the previously intended
• 7% no longer want any additional children
Senior Research Associate, Laura Lindberg states that, “Women, especially those that are facing financial difficulties, want to avoid unintended pregnancy more than ever, and many of them are having difficulties affording their contraception to do this.”
Guttmacher’s findings include:
• 29% of women agreed with: “With the economy the way it is, I am more careful than I used to be about using contraception every time I have sex”
• 46% of the women who said they did not want more children also said they are “thinking more about sterilization”
• 1 in 4 women have had to delay gynecological or birth control visits in the past year to save money
• 23% of the women said that they are having more difficulty paying for birth control than in the past
• 8% said they sometimes do not use any birth control as a way to save money.
• 18% of women using the birth control pills reported inconsistent use as a way to save money.
Due to lack of health care, added stress, and the current economic situation, women are actively seeking out cheaper and better ways to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy. Planned Parenthood President, Cecil Richards, said that this study “confirms what we are hearing at Planned Parenthood health centers across the country.”
Unintended pregnancy and the financial downturn also affect men. HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report reports that in early 2009 doctors began to notice an increase in vasectomies. And while the recession might end soon, according to Lindberg, “indicators may take a long time to translate into families”
By Carlos Blanco, Community Mobilization Intern