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Number of Unintended Pregnancies Drops in Most U.S. States

The Short of It

A new report by the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on reproductive health, reveals that between 2006 and 2010, the rate of unintended pregnancies in the U.S. declined in most states. The study was based on state surveys of women who had recently delivered babies.

The Lowdown

Data was collected from 41 states. Of those 41 states, 28 states saw a drop in unintended pregnancies by 5 percent or more. Only one state saw an increase of 5 percent or more, and that was West Virginia.

The study found that as of 2010, more than half of all pregnancies in 28 states were still unintended but were most likely "mistimed" and not unwanted.

This is a complete 180-degree turn from the trend we saw from 2002 to 2006, when 16 of the states' rates of unintended pregnancies rose by 5 percent or more.

The Upshot

A previous Guttmacher Institute report estimated that publicly funded family planning services, like Planned Parenthood, helped prevent 2.2 million unintended pregnancies in 2010 alone. That would have parlayed into 1.1 million unplanned babies and 760,000 abortions.

What was the reason for the change in number of unintended pregnancies at that time? The country was in the middle of one of the worst recessions in history, and researchers think maybe Americans were being a bit more cautious about reproducing and using more contraceptives.

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