Key Points

• In 2010, 19.1 million women were in need of publicly funded contraceptive services and supplies because they were sexually active, physically able to get pregnant, but not currently pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and were either adult women under 250% of the federal poverty level or younger than 20. All the growth in the need for publicly funded contraceptive services between 2000 and 2010 was among poor and low-income adults. Of the 19.1 million women in need of publicly supported care in 2010, 5.8 million (30%) were uninsured.

• A total of 8.9 million women received publicly supported contraceptive services in 2010. Clinics served 6.7 million women (including 4.7 million served by clinics funded by the federal Title X program). The remaining 2.2 million received care from private doctors paid by Medicaid.

• In 2010, publicly funded contraceptive services helped women prevent 2.2 million unintended pregnancies; 1.1 million of these would have resulted in unplanned births and 760,000 in abortions. Without publicly funded contraceptive services, the rate of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and abortions in the United States would all be 66% higher; the rates for teens would be 73% higher.

• The number of unintended pregnancies averted by public funding was 15% higher in 2010 than in 2006, even though the number of clients served fell 5% during that period. This is partially because more family planning clients currently use highly effective contraceptives, such as long-acting reversible methods, than previously. More importantly, women who are unable to obtain public services are more likely now than in 2006 to be using either no contraceptive method or a less effective one, probably because of the recession.

• Services provided by clinics that receive some Title X funding helped women avert 1.2 million unintended pregnancies in 2010, preventing 590,000 unplanned births and 400,000 abortions. Without the services provided by Title X–funded clinics, the U.S. unintended pregnancy rate would be 35% higher and the rate among teens would be 42% higher.

• By helping women avoid unintended pregnancies, public funding for contraceptive services in 2010 resulted in net public savings of $10.5 billion ($5.3 billion of which is attributable to services provided at Title X clinics), or $5.68 for every dollar spent providing contraceptive care.