Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2012 Update


Lori F. Frohwirth
The time is now. Will you stand up for reproductive health and rights?

Key Points

Key Points

• In 2012, 20 million U.S. women were in need of publicly funded contraceptive services and supplies because they were sexually active, physically able to conceive, and not currently pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and were either adults with incomes under 250% of the federal poverty level or younger than 20. Of this group in need, 5.9 million (30%) were uninsured.

• During 2000–2012, the number of women in need of publicly funded contraceptive services and supplies increased by 22%, representing 3.5 million additional women. Growth in need was driven primarily by an increase in the number of adult women who were poor or low income; the overall number of women of reproductive age remained stable, and the number of teens in need fell by 3%.

• Publicly funded clinics served 6.1 million women, of whom 4.3 million were served by clinics funded by the federal Title X program.

• Between 2001 and 2012, the overall number of women receiving publicly funded contraceptive services from clinics decreased by 9%, from almost 6.7 million to 6.1 million.

• Publicly funded clinics met an estimated 31% of the need for publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies in 2012, down from 41% in 2001; Title X–funded clinics met 22% of the need. The drop in met need between 2000 and 2012 was due to both rising numbers of women in need and falling numbers of clients served.

• In 2012, publicly funded clinics helped women prevent 1.5 million unintended pregnancies; 741,000 of these would have resulted in unplanned births and 510,000 in abortions. Without such clinics, the rates of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and abortions in the United States would all have been 44% higher.

• Services provided by clinics that receive Title X funding helped women avert 1.1 million unintended pregnancies in 2012, preventing 527,000 unplanned births and 363,000 abortions. Without the services provided by these clinics, the U.S. unintended pregnancy rate would have been 32% higher.

This report is part of a series of studies on the need for and impact of U.S. publicly funded family planning services.