Volume 29, Issue 1

Public Perceptions About Unplanned Pregnancy

A nationally representative telephone survey in 1994 of 2,002 adults indicates that 60% believe that unplanned pregnancy is a very big problem in the United States, and virtually all (90%) say it is at least a somewhat big problem. Two-thirds also mistakenly believe that a larger percentage of women have unplanned pregnancies now than 10 years ago. A decline in moral standards is cited by 89% of respondents as contributing very much or somewhat to the problem. Lack of education is m entioned as a significant factor by 87%, and 88% see any of three barriers to contraceptive use—knowledge about use, access or cost—as being important factors. Never-married women with children, women in general, low-income respondents, Hispanic s and those aged 65 or older are the most likely to believe that barriers to contraceptive access contribute very much to unplanned pregnancy; they are especially likely to cite cost or an inability to obtain contraceptives.

(Family Planning Perspectives, 29:25-29 & 40, 1997)

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The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Guttmacher Institute.

Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health