Guttmacher Research studies show that married women, professional women and women from mid to upper income brackets have fewer unplanned pregnancies.
However close to half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned and poor women are five times more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy and six times more likely to have an unplanned birth, according to Guttmacher Institute‘s recent analysis of government data.
A 2011 Guttmacher study notes that woman cohabitating outside of marriage also experience unintended pregnancies at a higher rate than married women. One obvious reason is that in an uncommitted relationship where couples are having sex regularly, a pregnancy is most likely not to be planned.
Professional and/or educated women have lower rates of unintended pregnancies as woman control their reproduction, many opting out of having children all together.
Approximately 26% of pregnancies in women with college degrees are unplanned compared to nearly half of all pregnancies for women with less than a college degree. The Center for Work-Life Policy concludes that childlessness has increased across most demographic groups but is still highest among professionals. And analysis of census data conducted by the Pew Research Center, indicate that about one quarter of all women with bachelor’s degrees and higher in the United States wind up childless.
Unplanned pregnancies in teens
When unplanned pregnancies occur in teens, the impact is severe for all involved. Studies indicate that
- A teen that gets pregnant is less likely to graduate from high school, and will receive some public benefit within 5 years of delivering a child.
- A teen mom is also less likely to return to school and earn a college degree.
- Daughters of teen moms are three times more likely to become a teen mom
- Sons of teen moms are three times more likely to be incarcerated.
Whether conceived by a teen or full adult woman, the impact of an unplanned pregnancy is devastating on the mother and child.
Research shows that women with unplanned pregnancies are more likely to smoke, drink, and go without prenatal care. Their births are more likely to be premature. Their children are less likely to be breastfed, and more likely to be neglected and to have various physical and mental health effects.
In a recent issue of Indianapolis Women magazine, Caitlin Finnegan Priest, MPH, Indiana Perinatal Network, pointed to statistics that noted the majority of unplanned pregnancies are born to unmarried women, outside a two-parent family, and the children are more likely to be raised poor, drop out of high school, have lower grade point averages, lower college aspirations and poorer school attendance.
The pivot point requires learning why is it that professional women are better able to control their reproductive system. Could the difference be that they are having more abortions?
Not so, according to research. At least half of American women will have an unintended pregnancy by age 45 and nearly half or 43% of those pregnancies end in abortion, according to Guttmacher.
As could be expected, studies say that these numbers are highest among poor, a group that aborts babies at a higher rate.
Another Guttmacher study noted that between 2000 to 2008, the percentage of women under the poverty line getting abortions jumped 60 percent from 27 to 42 percent.
Consequently, the higher and disproportion unplanned pregnancy rates among minorities also result in a higher abortion rate.
In the United States, the abortion rate for black women is almost five times, and for Hispanics two times, that for white women, a 2008 Guttmacher points out.
Thoughts on any of these stats?