Whopping 37% of U.S. Births are Unintended, Who's to Blame?

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Women have made leaps and bounds in the professional world over the past few decades. We have female CEOs of technology companies and female Secretaries of State.

While we’ve progressed since the early 1980s, in many ways, some things have remained the same. One of them? Unintended births (births considered “mistimed” or “unwanted”).

According to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of births that were unintended in 1982—37%—is the same is it was in 2010 (the most recent year of the CDC stats).

This nicely translates to the more brutal statement being made by many blogs: Public health authorities aren’t helping to prevent unintended births.

Keep in mind, all parts of the study aren’t the exact same as they were in 1982. Compared to three decades ago, there are now fewer unintended births among Caucasian women. The Village Voice quotes the study as noting, “unmarried women, black women, and women with less education or income are still much more likely to experience unintended births compared with married, white, college-educated, and high-income women."

Demographics play a major role in determining when a woman has a child. Many women who have unintended births have to leave school before finishing or take time off from work. It causes major disruptions in their life.

But what’s the point of all this and why does it matter?

Unintended births don’t only pose risks for the mothers-to-be; they also pose risks for the economy.

Since many of the women who have unintended births are in a lower income bracket; as a result, Medicaid pays for 35% of those births. This adds up to $11 billion that the U.S. healthcare system must pay each year.

In the past few decades, women have been climbing to the top of the corporate ladder, but many are still left in shock when the stick turns blue. The big question is, why aren’t the rates of unintended births decreasing? Are public health authorities to blame?