A large study of women receiving free birth control found that it didn’t result in risky sexual behavior or more sexually transmitted diseases.
The study, conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, followed 10,000 low-income women of reproductive age for several years. Participants, aged 14 to 45, received free FDA-approved contraception.
Many women reported they were having sex more frequently, but 70 percent reported no increase in the number of sexual partners they had. Most women who reported having new partners went from having zero partners to one.
In fact, the percentage of women who reported multiple partners at the beginning of the study declined throughout the study.
There was no increase in the rate of sexually transmitted diseases among the group.
“Increasing access to no-cost contraceptives doesn’t translate into riskier sexual behavior,” Jeffrey Peipert, the study’s senior author, said in a release. “It’s not the contraception that drives their sexual behavior.”
The research stands in stark contrast to the conservative Family Research Council, which argues that restricting women's access to contraception is the only way to keep teens from having sex.
In November, FRC President Tony Perkins said that private companies should deny birth control coverage to adult women.
“I think [the Obama administration sees] religious freedom as fine with it as long as it’s in the four walls of a church,” Perkins said. "But if it comes into workplace, the marketplace, if it comes into the public square, it’s not welcome. But the reality is the founders saw us with an aggressive ability to live our lives according to our faith. I mean, that’s why the Pilgrims came here.”