In recent weeks, conservatives have complained about being forced to pay for other people’s birth control, but a recently released study indicates that increasing availability to contraception actually saves taxpayer money.
A report released by The Brookings Institution this week showed that a $235 million program to expand access to Medicaid family planning would actually result in a savings of $1.35 billion. That’s a return on investment of over 500 percent.
Mass media campaigns and teen pregnancy prevention programs also resulted in savings, but to a lesser degree.
“Unintended pregnancy is a widespread problem with far-reaching implications: almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and the women and children involved in these pregnancies are disproportionately likely to experience a range of negative outcomes,” Georgetown Public Policy Institute Adam Thomas, who authored the paper, explained.
“The research also shows that each dollar spent on these policies would produce taxpayer savings of between two and six dollars.”
In a statement on his website over the weekend, the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said he “sincerely” apologized to Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, who he had called a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she testified before Congress about the need for contraception coverage at colleges and universities, even if they are owned by religious institutions.
Limbaugh had based his criticism on Cybercast News Service editor Craig Bannister’s claim that Fluke was “having sex 2.74 times a day, every day, for three straight years.”
“[W]omen in her law school program are having so much sex that they’re going broke, so you and I should pay for their birth control,” he wrote.
In the case of Georgetown University, health coverage is not funded by taxpayers, but by premiums students pay for the Premier Plan that is underwritten by the United HealthCare Insurance Company. Students who enrolled by September of last year were charged $1,895 for one year of coverage.
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