New Study Confirms: Women Use Contraception to Better Achieve their Life Goals by Guttmacher Institute

“Women value the ability to plan their childbearing, and view doing so as critical to being able to achieve their life goals.”

New evidence confirms what most people already believe: Women use contraception because it allows them to better care for themselves and their families, complete their education and achieve economic security, according to Reasons for Using Contraception: Perspectives of U.S. Women Seeking Care at Specialized Family Planning Clinics, by Jennifer Frost and Laura Lindberg of the Guttmacher Institute.

“Women value the ability to plan their childbearing, and view doing so as critical to being able to achieve their life goals,” says study author Laura Lindberg. “They need continued access to a wide range of contraceptives so they can plan their families and determine when they are ready to have children.”

Few studies in the United States have asked women directly why they use contraception and what benefits they expect or have achieved from its use. To fill this gap, the authors surveyed 2,094 women receiving services at 22 family planning clinics nationwide.

The majority of participants reported that contraception has had a significant impact on their lives, allowing them to take better care of themselves or their families (63%), support themselves financially (56%), complete their education (51%), or keep or get a job (50%).

When asked why they are seeking contraceptive services now, women expressed concerns about the consequences of an unintended pregnancy on their families’ and their own lives. The single most frequently cited reason for using contraception was that women could not afford to take care of a baby at that time (65%). Nearly one in four women reported that they or their partners were unemployed, which was a very important reason for their contraceptive use. Among women with children, nearly all reported that their desire to care for their current children was a reason for contraceptive use.

Many women reported interrelated reasons for using contraception, suggesting that the complexities of women’s lives influence their decision to use contraception and their choice of method. Other reasons for using contraception, reported by a majority of respondents, include not being ready to have children (63%), feeling that using birth control gives them better control over their lives (60%) and wanting to wait until their lives are more stable to have a baby (60%).

These findings point to the critical role of contraception in the lives of women and their families, and further documents the value of ensuring women’s continued and increased access to a full range of contraceptive services and methods.

“Notably, the reasons women give for using contraception are similar to the reasons they give for seeking an abortion,” according to Lawrence B. Finer, author of a previous Guttmacher study on that topic. “This means we should see access to abortion in the broader context of women’s lives and their efforts to avoid unplanned childbearing, in light of its potential consequences for them and their families.”

Source: Guttmacher Institute, September 25, 2012.  The full report is available at: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/j.contraception.2012.08.012.pdf 

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Economy, Family Planning, Population, Sustainability, Women's Rights

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s