August 2, 2013 — Publicly funded family planning services prevented 760,000 abortions and 1.1 million unplanned births while saving the government $10.5 billion in 2010, according to a Guttmacher Institute study released this week, the Huffington Post reports.
According to the study, the government saved $5.68 for every $1 it spent on family planning services in 2010. That year, 8.9 million women received such services through Medicaid or the federal Title X family planning program, which supports clinics that provide low-income women with affordable contraception.
Services through Title X clinics alone prevented an estimated 590,000 unplanned births and 400,000 abortions in 2010, according to the report. Guttmacher also estimated that without Title X, the unplanned pregnancy rate that year would have been 35% higher among women and 42% higher among teens. According to the Huffington Post, the government spent $317.5 million on Title X in 2010.
Congressional Republicans have made multiple attempts in recent years to end funding for Title X or prevent Planned Parenthood -- the largest family planning services provider in the U.S. -- from receiving public funding.
Additionally, Texas and other states have cut funding for family planning services to prevent money from going to clinics that also provide abortions, even though federal law already prohibits the use of public dollars for the procedure (Bassett, Huffington Post, 7/30).
Guttmacher Institute senior researcher Jennifer Frost said that funding family planning services to help women avoid pregnancies for which they are not prepared is "good public health policy," adding, "Saving money as a result of that investment is just common sense" (McDonough, Salon, 7/31).