It works! (photo: brains the head/flickr)

While the idea that giving women access to birth control is a great way to reduce abortion rates would seem self-evident, there is now a newly published study proving that to be the case. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, over the course of several years, provided women in the area access to birth control at no cost. The result was a large drop in both abortions and teen pregnancy rates. From the Obstetrics & Gynecology:

RESULTS: We observed a significant reduction in the percentage of abortions that were repeat abortions in the St. Louis region compared with Kansas City and nonmetropolitan Missouri (P<.001). Abortion rates in the CHOICE cohort were less than half the regional and national rates (P<.001). The rate of teenage birth within the CHOICE cohort was 6.3 per 1,000, compared with the U.S. rate of 34.3 per 1,000.

CONCLUSION: We noted a clinically and statistically significant reduction in abortion rates, repeat abortions, and teenage birth rates. Unintended pregnancies may be reduced by providing no-cost contraception and promoting the most effective contraceptive methods.

This is a completely unsurprising finding. A way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and a very successful way to reduce unwanted pregnancies is to help women get birth control.

Despite this fact, many of the “anti-abortion” organizations in the United States have recently put a lot of effort into restricting attempts to expand access to birth control. A move that if successful would almost guarantee an increase in the number of abortions.