The United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2010 program established the goal: 70 % of all pregnancies in the U.S. will be intended by 2010. Utah is close to achieving this goal with only 31.4% of births reported as unintended . Approximately 13% of unintended pregnancies occur among women not using contraceptives, but not intending to become pregnant. The rate of unintended pregnancies among those not using contraceptives demonstrates the role contraceptives will play in reducing unintended pregnancies. Utah’s rate of unintended pregnancies could be further reduced by increased access to and funding for all types of FDA approved contraceptives.
Utah ranked 48th among the 50 states in a 2006 Guttmacher report on contraceptive access . The report analyzed state funding for contraceptives, policies about contraceptives, and contraceptive services availability. Utah has relatively limited “safety net” funding for family planning services; although the state receives Title X funding for contraceptive services for low-income women, there is no state funding designated for family planning services . Further, over the past eight years the Utah State Legislature has refused to pass a bill mandating insurance coverage for all FDA approved contraceptives in Utah. Both the failure to change state policy and the failure to maintain or increase family planning funding at both state and federal levels has made it more difficult for Utah’s women to access contraceptives, plan their families and prevent unintended pregnancies.
Utah Data: How are we doing?
Of the 31.4% of unintended pregnancies in Utah 43.2% occurred among women who did not use any sort of birth control method at the time they became pregnant. Among those women not using contraceptives, 13% said that they did not use contraceptives because they had problems getting it when she needed it. Furthermore, 43% of those women not using contraception also reported having no insurance or Medicaid before becoming pregnant.
Opponents to mandated prescription contraceptive coverage argue that the state and businesses would incur difficult financial burdens. Insurers make similar claims. Providing full contraceptive coverage in employment-based health care plans would cost employers, at most, only $21.40 per employee per year. For employers with plans that currently provide no contraceptive coverage, the average cost of adding it, — if employers contributed 80 percent of the cost – would be $17.12 per year or $1.43 per month.4 A pregnancy, on the other hand, can cost as much as $10,000 per year.
Utah has made great strides to improve the rate of unintended pregnancies in Utah. These efforts would be furthered by improved access to contraceptives. Utah’s Women whose contraceptives are not covered by their employer can call Planned Parenthood at 801-322-5571.
- Utah Department of Health: Utah PRAMS data 2004. Available online at: http://www.health.utah.gov/rhp/pdf/04_Data_Book.pdf. Accessed November 23, 2006. Search Keywords: Utah PRAMS 2004.
- Guttmacher Institute: Contraception Counts Utah. Available online at: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/state_data/states/utah.html. Accessed November 21, 2006. Search Keywords: Contraceptive coverage Utah, Guttmacher state facts, contraceptive access Utah.
- Utah Department of Health: Utah PRAMS. Available online at: http://health.utah.gov/rhp/pdf/IPI.pdf. Accessed November 25, 2006. Search Keywords: PRAMS Short Inter-pregnancy spacing in Utah 2006.
- Cover My Pills: Fair Access to Contraceptives Get the Facts. Available at: http://www.covermypills.org/facts/. Accessed December 1, 2006. Search Keywords: Contraceptive Equity, Facts About Contraception Costs, Cover My Pills.