There are so, so many reasons why birth control is important—and everyone’s reasons for saying “thanks” are different. But there are some benefits we can all be thankful for. Here are a few.
1. Birth control lets you decide when—or whether—to get pregnant.
Better access to effective methods of birth control means you can have the number of children you want, when (and with whom) you want them. If you don’t want kids at all, birth control can help with that too.
Getting to decide when—if ever—and under what circumstances to have kids means having more freedom to pursue educational, personal, and professional goals. A few fun facts:
Research has found a link between better birth control access and big educational and professional gains for women.
Research suggests that couples are more prepared to be parents—and more likely to stay together—when they can plan their pregnancies.
77% of women say birth control allows them to take better care of themselves and their families.
So whether you’re finishing a degree, waiting till you find the right partner, waiting till you make partner, dealing with a health condition that could be aggravated by a pregnancy, or just enjoying your independence for a while, the decision to start a family should be yours and only yours. (Made with your partner if you’re in a relationship, obvs.)
2. Birth control has health benefits.
Actually, being able to decide when to get pregnant has major health benefits in itself. In fact, it has the power to save lives. And it’s good for babies. (And who’s not a fan of things that are good for babies? Nobody.)
But the health benefits of birth control don’t stop there. Lots of women use birth control for reasons other than pregnancy prevention. Depending on the method, birth control can:
3. Birth control saves $$$$.
In total, unplanned pregnancy costs U.S. taxpayers between $9.6 and $12.6 billion a year. (Yikes!) Why so much? For one thing, Medicaid covers almost half of all births in the U.S. (45%), and the average cost of one of those births is $12,770.
On the other hand, the average cost to publicly fund birth control for one person for one year is $239. The bottom line? Researchers estimate that for every dollar invested in birth control, taxpayers save almost $6.
4. Birth control reduces the need for abortion.
Better access to birth control reduces rates of unplanned pregnancy—and fewer unplanned pregnancies means fewer abortions. On a national level, when birth control use has gone up, abortion has gone down. Recently, research on the state and local level has found that providing highly effective birth control for free can dramatically reduce abortion rates.
5. Birth control is good for the environment.
To get global for a moment, the United Nations Population Fund estimates that more than 63 million women get pregnant unintentionally every year. Giving these women the tools to plan their pregnancies would be good for their families and good for the planet. Win-win!
BTW, any method of preventing unplanned pregnancy is green, but if you want to take your eco-friendly behavior to the next level, you can also look into the greenest birth control option, the Paragard IUD.
If you agree that all this is worth celebrating, join us for Thanks, Birth Control Day on November 16 to say why you’re thankful for birth control. Or, you know, put your feelings to song…