In an analysis carried out by the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organisation it was found that at least 4 in 10 pregnancies in the United States were unwanted or mistimed. The results were released after a first time ever state-level analysis of unintended pregnancies.
The organization found that more than half of pregnancies in 29 states and the District of Columbia were unplanned. In the remaining states 38 to 50 percent of pregnancies were unintended. They also revealed that the highest rate of unintended pregnancies were in South, southwest and states with higher urban population.
Among the states, Mississippi showed the highest rate on unintended pregnancies with 60 per 1000 women between the age of 15-44. New Hampshire showed the lowest rate with 36 per 1000.
Giving her view on the research Claire Brindis, director of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California-San Francisco said,
“There are many, many reasons why people don’t plan ahead, even when it’s such a crucial decision. Difficulty in finding family-planning services and lack of access to birth control contribute to the high numbers of unintended pregnancies. There is “a very strong denial factor — (people think) ‘this won’t happen to me.”
The analysis was based on data from 2006 on national and state surveys on pregnancy intentions, births, abortions and miscarriages. It included data from 86,000 women who gave birth and 9,000 women who had abortions.
The results of the analysis are published in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Lead author Lawrence Finer though said that, “report were designed to produce state-level data estimates, not a national estimate,”. The organisation will be releasing a national estimate later in the year.
In nearly every state, about 65% to 75% of unintended pregnancies were considered mistimed and 25% to 35% unwanted.
“We know we have very high levels of unintended pregnancy in the U.S., much higher than in most places around the developed world,” says Kelly Musick, a sociologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
According to the researchers six states and the District of Columbia had no surveys therefore estimates were used. Among the 34 states that had data for 2002 and 2006, rates of unintended pregnancies increased in 23 states and decreased in eight; three had little or no change.
“We do a better job of planning to buy tickets to see Lady Gaga than we do about being careful in planning for when we’re going to have children, how many children and when in our lives we’re going to have them,” Brindis concluded.
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