$1.34 Billion: Texas’ Cost of Unplanned Pregnancy

Healthy Futures of TexasNovember 6, 2013Articles

A new analysis finds that the tax costs of Texas births resulting from unplanned pregnancies totaled over $1.34 billion in 2008.  This is the second highest total of any state (behind California).  The study found that, nationwide, government expenditures on births resulting from unplanned pregnancies totaled $12.5 billion in 2008 (the latest year for which data are available).

Nearly 3 in 4 (71%) of the 179,300 Texas births resulting from unplanned pregnancies were paid for by public programs (Medicaid or CHIP). The percentage covered by public funding was lower (49.5%) for Texas births resulting from planned pregnancies.  This is consistent with the fact that unplanned pregnancy is more likely to affect low-income women than affluent women.

The high public costs of unplanned childbearing serve to emphasize the fiscal value of providing women preventive health care that includes contraception. Unplanned pregnancy is 100% preventable and can be significantly reduced when women have access to family planning services.

Half (49%) of all U.S. pregnancies are described by the woman herself as unplanned at the time of conception.  While many of these pregnancies result in healthy, wanted children, the health and social risks are much higher for both mother and baby.  Compared to planned pregnancies, unplanned pregnancies are more likely to mean late prenatal care; premature birth; low birth weight; poor child physical and mental health; low cognitive scores and school difficulties; maternal depression; relationship stress; and intimate partner violence. In addition, unplanned pregnancy is, by far, the most common reason for seeking abortion.

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