Progress Pays Off: Investing in Prevention Yields Significant Savings

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Progress Pays Off: Investing in Prevention Yields Significant Savings

February 1, 2018
African American couple smiles and laughs

The rates of unplanned pregnancies and birth among teens continue to decline due to more than two decades of investments made in prevention. New analysis from Power to Decide, the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy, shows these declines resulted in public savings of $4.4 billion for 2015 alone.

Strong investments in access to contraception, information, and quality sex education have contributed to ever declining teen pregnancy and birth rates –since peaking in 1991, the teen pregnancy rate has declined 67 percent.  Consequently, the related savings to taxpayers has been significant. The new data from Power to Decide shows that current investments save taxpayers $4.4 billion each year.  If additional investments were made, taxpayers could save another $1.9 billion each year.

Despite this impressive record of success and the significant savings to taxpayers, the current Administration has recently issued directives that threaten continued efforts in this area including access to quality sex education and contraceptive care. Now more than ever, we must maintain investments in teen pregnancy prevention programs and protect women’s access to contraception. We also must continue to advocate for public financing through the Title X family planning program and Medicaid. These efforts help ensure that all women, including teens, with the greatest need can continue to get high quality contraceptive care. Not only is this sound economic policy—it also more than pays for itself through billions in cost savings associated with medical and economic support.

However, progress isn’t victory and the teen pregnancy rates for Latina and Black women are still more than twice as high when compared to their white counterparts.  In addition, more than 19 million women in need of publicly funded contraception live in contraceptive deserts, where they do not have reasonable access in their county to a public clinic that offers the full range of contraceptive methods.  

We will continue our efforts to make sure all teens have information, opportunity and access to contraception and quality sex education so that they can align their intentions to avoid pregnancy with their actions. These resources are imperative in order for all young people to have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and live life on their own terms.

To view the complete results of our analysis—including state-by-state results—visit our Progress Pays Off page.