Study: Free birth control decreases sex partners

Take it from a guy who has been picketed; suggesting women be given free birth control is a controversial topic.

Obamacare, which mandates free birth control be provided, has drawn a lot of criticism from religious groups and others who allege it sends a message to teens it’s OK to be promiscuous.

A new study concludes the opposite is true — those given free birth control have fewer partners.

A USA Today article highlights conclusions of the study of almost 8,000 girls and women given free birth control for a year in St. Louis:

  • 3.3 percent said they had more than one partner at the end of the study, down from 5.2 percent at the beginning of the study.
  • 16 percent of participants increased the number of sex partners, usually from zero to one.
  • Intercourse rates increased from 4 times per month to 6.
  • At the beginning of the study, 5 percent said they were virgins. At the end of the study, about half of the 5 percent reported having sex.
  • STD rates remained the same.
  • Earlier findings from the same study said free birth control “dramatically reduced abortions and unintended pregnancies.”

“The idea that the only thing standing between women and promiscuity is a fear of pregnancy” doesn’t hold much water, said researcher Gina Secura.

Not everyone believes the numbers.

Critics says free birth control gives young women a false sense of security and point out the St. Louis study did not include a control group (girls not given free birth control) to compare numbers against.

Also, about 16 percent of those in the study failed to answer survey questions at the study’s conclusion, and those may have been the most promiscuous.

In related news, a study in Vermont concludes the state saves $10,000 per year from every prevented unwanted teen pregnancy. Preventing a mother and single child from going on public assistance saves the state $34,000 per year.

In Georgia, in 2008, a whopping 57 percent of all pregnancies were “unintended,” says the Guttmacher Institute. Thirty percent of those babies were aborted.

U.S. Census data from 2010 says 31,244 babies were aborted in Georgia, with 53.6 percent of the mothers being black, 22 percent white and 20 percent Hispanic.

Anything that lowers those numbers would seem to be a moral and financial winner, but what do you think?

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the study only included girls, but the USA Today reporter contacted me to say the study also included women.

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48 comments Add your comment

Andrew

March 7th, 2014
10:01 am

The ignorance and myopia that the conservatives( neocons) exhibit from their abhorance to Birth control is staggering. You want less abortions? You want less unintended costs? you want to not pay for abandoned kids?? well..guess what..start with Birth control..

Bernie31

March 7th, 2014
10:07 am

The Republican Clowns do not Believe in such Nonsense…Thi is why so many of their Young People are suddenly in the Family Way and the Wedding will be held Next week. The Divorce will be Next year. Foodstamps and Welfare Benefits began for Becky and Baby year (2) Two.
Shhhhhhhh!………. No one is suppose to know that. This is How we Roll..

Bernie31

March 7th, 2014
10:09 am

correction –

The Republican Clown families do not Believe in such Nonsense…This is why so many of their Young People are suddenly in the Family Way and the Wedding will be held Next week. The Divorce will be Next year. Foodstamps and Welfare Benefits began for Becky and Baby year (2) Two.
Shhhhhhhh!………. No one is suppose to know that. This is How we Roll.

k483

March 7th, 2014
10:25 am

So, the number of partners decreases but the rate of activity increases by 50%. Yeah, it seems to be working all right.

JM64

March 7th, 2014
10:32 am

Most important finding from the study:

16 percent of participants increased the number of sex partners, usually from zero to one.

jarvis

March 7th, 2014
10:35 am

Unintended pregnancies and abortions went down….that seems good.

That said, the statistician in me is always supcicious anytime a study doesn’t include a “control”. This is science 101. Don’t get such a blatant oversight.

Logical Dude

March 7th, 2014
10:37 am

quotes: “study of almost 8,000 girls (ages 14 and 15) . . .
At the beginning of the study, 5 percent said they were virgins.”

So, out of 8000 girls age 14 to 15, 95% were ALREADY sexually active?

I think this skews the results a little bit.
A Control group is definitely needed.

But, it’s better to have the ounce of prevention (free birth control) than a pound of cure (paying for either abortions or unwanted children who wind up on family benefits long term).

Just me

March 7th, 2014
10:41 am

this study is silly without a comparable study on teens that were not given birth control. With or without birth control the teens that were are zero would have most likely moved to the win column by the end of the year either way. Same could be said for the ones that went from ‘more’ to ‘less.’ This study shows nothing.

What can be said is however is $60 year in BC can save you $34k+ per year (times 18 years) in welfare/food stamp/housing/education/healthcare costs.

dave

March 7th, 2014
11:03 am

Let’s be clear, this is not “free birth control” mandated by Obama care. It is tax payer money used for birth control.

The Geezer

March 7th, 2014
11:12 am

I wish the federal government had given away free birth control to girls when I was in high school. The fear of pregnancy was what kept us under control when we were young.

dave

March 7th, 2014
11:17 am

and STDs….

RambleOn84

March 7th, 2014
11:26 am

I have yet to have heard from a person outside of the Catholic Church saying no one should use birth control or that birth control should be outlawed.

The issue conservatives have is the “FREE!” part. Nothing is free; someone has to pay for it. Why should I pay for someone else to have sex?

This is like publishing a study finding that food is necessary for human survival, so therefore we should pay for other people’s food. Of course, this already happens through food stamps and welfare, but do we really have to extend it to birth control? Where does it end? Should we pay for other people’s cigarettes, if a study shows that poor people who smoke are happier than those who don’t?

Finally, the fact that the study did not include a control group shows that the study itself is inherently biased. This is Research 101 here; a study without a control group is not worth the paper it is printed on.

George Mathis

March 7th, 2014
11:31 am

Please check out my correction. The study did not just include girls, but also women. That explains the 5 percent virgin statistic a bit better.

RambleOn84

March 7th, 2014
11:32 am

An addendum, because the issue of abortion has already been brought up by others:

Although I think abortion is morally wrong, I actually agree that it should remain illegal, as any other TRUE conservatives should. The goal of a TRUE conservative should be to have as few laws, limits, and restrictions as possible.

I believe the biggest problem facing our country politically is the existence of so many “wolves in sheep’s clothing:” Republicans promoting big government, Democrats promoting war and violating civil rights through spy programs, etc. The American people have become so confused by the rhetoric being used by their “favorite” politicians (usually just the one who looks most like them) that most have no clue of what they really believe in. They usually just wait for a pundit or politician to tell them.

POAD2013

March 7th, 2014
11:37 am

Free birth control eliminates PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for boys and girls actions. Maybe we should just give out free CHASTITY BELTS and that would be a better solution.

Chris Salzmann

March 7th, 2014
11:48 am

POAD2013

March 7th, 2014
11:37 am

Free birth control eliminates PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for boys and girls actions. Maybe we should just give out free CHASTITY BELTS and that would be a better solution.
______________________________________________________________________________

The “FREE” birth control you keep referring to is PAID for by these women as part of their insurance policies so to call it “FREE” is just you saying how IGNORANT you really are. Corporate insurance policies also provide for birth control.

Southern states already provide for FREE chastity belts in the form of “abstinence” education in schools for all the good it has done because RED states are still #1 in the country in regards to teen pregnancies.

Kool Aid Party Meber

March 7th, 2014
11:54 am

We demand free Obamacare and the Republican taxpayers to pay for it.

RambledAlready

March 7th, 2014
11:57 am

“Nothing is free; someone has to pay for it. Why should I pay….”

Why should you pay for libraries or animal control officers that you don’t use?
Why should you pay for a fire department that you will probably never need?
Why should you pay for anything that doesn’t benefit you personally?

Because we as a society have decided that certain things are of more benefit than their costs.
Teenagers are going to have sex with each other. They always have and always will. Why not put a seat belt in the car that can make them just a little bit safer?

aquagirl

March 7th, 2014
11:57 am

Nothing is so amusing as a bunch of bitter old men opining on birth control when they don’t know a darn thing about it. Keep campaigning for Obamacare, boys.

Logical Dude

March 7th, 2014
11:57 am

George “That explains the 5 percent virgin statistic a bit better.”
Thank you for that update. I thought it was a bit off for the age group!

(well, unless they were looking for sexually active girls in that range, and a few who needed birth control for other reasons could have made up that 5%.)

Kool Aid Party Meber

March 7th, 2014
11:58 am

“The “FREE” birth control you keep referring to is PAID for by these women as part of their insurance policies”

YES FREE. Obama said taxpayers be paying for my Obamacare and my birf contol. My policy says everything FREE.

Chris Salzmann

March 7th, 2014
11:58 am

Here’s a classic example of the pro-lifers philosophy:

My wife had a White colleague about 10 years ago who’s 16 year old daughter got pregnant. She asked my wife if she would accompany here daughter to the abortion clinic because she was “pro-life”.

My wife agreed since we are pro-choice. My wife told me that the majority of the people in that abortion clinic waiting room were White mothers with their 15-20 year old daughters looking to get abortions. Considering this is Atlanta, any guesses how many of those mother’s were “pro-life”. Like a lot of politicians, including that Tea Party Pro-Life guy in TN who got his mistress pregnant and wanted her to get an abortion, most of these “pro-lifers” are only that till a pregnancy hits close to home.

Kool Aid Party Meber

March 7th, 2014
12:00 pm

Bill Clinton

March 7th, 2014
12:05 pm

I did not have sex with woman.

Chris Salzmann

March 7th, 2014
12:07 pm

Please disregard anything I post since I am not responsible for my actions.
That’s right, I am a victim.
I am a Democrat.

RambleOn84

March 7th, 2014
12:36 pm

The person who created an account for the sole purpose of mocking mine:
You set up a strawman argument there, which you valiantly defeated. I realize we pay taxes for the benefit of society, and didn’t say we shouldn’t.

However, I disagree that my taxes should be used to pay for someone else’s sex life. You obviously think that they should. So where do you draw the line? Should we pay for cigarettes for people who can’t afford them, but whose lives are happier with them? Is that too far? I’m being serious here. At what point are we past the “benefiting society” argument?

aquagirl

March 7th, 2014
12:44 pm

RambleOn, why should I pay for any man’s prostate treatment? It’s cheaper to hack the thing out, I’ll pay for that. If he wants to continue to have sex, let him pay to keep it.

I bet most men run from that like a Kennedy sprinting for a liquor bottle.

[...] Study SuggestsLiveScience.comFree birth control does not encourage unsafe sex, study showsTech TimesStudy: Free birth control decreases sex partnersAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Business Standard -ThinkProgressall 15 news [...]

Madmax00

March 7th, 2014
12:56 pm

•3.3 percent said they had more than one partner at the end of the study, down from 5.2 percent at the beginning of the study.
Did they follow a control group with the same demographics that was not given free birth control. Could very well be nothing more than the maturation/new toy process. There’s the old story of how if a couple puts a bean in a jar every time they have sex their 1st year, then take a bean out every time they have sex after year one, they will still have beans in the jar when they die. Same thing goes for the 16% (and how many of the 16% got married?)And this “study” without a control group was probably funded by taxpayers. What a waste of money.I agree with your conclusion (anything that can stop the carnage of abortion and broken lives) but this study did not prove that it would do that. All it did was report incident rates and that the author used to extrapolate into her own preconcieved agenda.

Chris Salzmann

March 7th, 2014
12:59 pm

Chris Salzmann

March 7th, 2014
12:07 pm

Please disregard anything I post since I am not responsible for my actions.
That’s right, I am a victim.
I am a Democrat.
____________________________________________________________________________

I didn’t write the above. You have to be really pathetic to have to steal someone’s name. Loser probably is a better description.

Chris Salzmann

March 7th, 2014
1:04 pm

RambleOn84

March 7th, 2014
11:32 am

Although I think abortion is morally wrong, I actually agree that it should remain illegal, as any other TRUE conservatives should. The goal of a TRUE conservative should be to have as few laws, limits, and restrictions as possible.
________________________________________________________________________________

On one hand you want fewer laws but on the other hand you want to keep abortion illegal. Can’t have it both ways. That’s why a lot of folks are leaving the Republican Party because their actions don’t match their philosophies. You are “Pro-Life” when it comes to abortion and will make laws to restrict it to the point of mandating unnecessary and dangerous procedures to limit it but want ABSOLUTELY no laws to restrict the sale and distribution of fire-arms.

RambleOn84

March 7th, 2014
1:05 pm

aquagirl,
You shouldn’t. Why would anyone think you should?

RambleOn84

March 7th, 2014
1:08 pm

Salzmann,
If you had read the rest of my post (perhaps you did), you’d see that I agree with you.

But the Democratic party is just as backwards at this point. You have a group of people who voted for a president because they thought he’d stop the wars. He didn’t and has actually started new ones (and COMING SOON: RUSSIA!), yet some continue to support him.

Both parties are talking out of both sides of their mouths on a plethora of issues. I don’t believe a word that comes out of any of their mouths anymore.

aquagirl

March 7th, 2014
1:09 pm

Ramble, try pushing that idea to your fellow XY’ers. When you can get them to lobby insurance companies for non-coverage of prostate problems, I’ll drop my advocacy of birth control coverage.

Deal?

Speed Racer

March 7th, 2014
1:13 pm

50% of the virgins decided not to wait any longer after they got free birth control.

RambleOn84

March 7th, 2014
1:15 pm

I’m not in any position to speak for all men. Why would I be?

Why can’t people have civil discussions on an individual basis without resorting to sweeping generalizations and name-calling?

JA

March 7th, 2014
1:17 pm

You are missing the big point here. Birth control pills actually decreases a women’s urge to have sex and effects here choice of mate. She is more likely to experiment with sex but less likely to actually want to have sex on a regular bases. This is part of the governments push to control/depopulate the planet. I am not against these forms of depopulation, but just be aware that’s what’s going on. Women are also more likely to pick effeminate men if they are using birth control when they choose a partner. Again, this may or may not be a bad thing, but my only fear is that these medical induced tactics to depopulate can have dramatic effect on marital relations, and the type of couples that form, and ultimately the type of society we live in. It’s interesting stuff.

Speed Racer

March 7th, 2014
1:18 pm

Abortion stops a beating human heart. Women are not the only ones in society qualified to comment on whether or not they should be allowed.

RambleOn84

March 7th, 2014
1:23 pm

JA,
Interesting comment. Do you have any sources regarding those effects from birth control? I’ve heard similar things before, but I can’t recall actually seeing studies confirming any of it.

It has been documented, however, that many “elite”-types (politicians, etc) have called for drastically lowering populations. I’m not sure whether that would be a good thing or a bad thing.

Talladawg

March 7th, 2014
1:35 pm

RambleOn84

Paying for someone else’s birth control is MUCH cheaper than paying for their child(ren). [Read the article closely to see how much an unintended child costs taxpayers per year.] Unless you advocate for more abortions or advocate letting poor children die of disease or starvation, paying for birth control is the fiscally sound thing to do.

noahvale

March 7th, 2014
2:00 pm

And in a related story – KINDERGARTENERS are having sex…at least doing so while in school! BTW – Bernie/Bernice31, seems to be your grandkids as well as your ‘hood. uh huh.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breaking-news/report-kindergarten-students-engaged-sexual-activi/nd7cQ/

RambleOn84

March 7th, 2014
2:15 pm

Talladawg,
Interesting and difficult question there. I guess my answer would be that unwanted pregnancies will occur no matter how much birth control we pay for, and likewise babies will be mistreated no matter what programs we incur.

Personally, I would rather keep as much of my money as possible, so that I can make the choice to donate to charities of my own volition rather than being forced to donate to these causes at the barrel of a gun.

pj

March 7th, 2014
2:18 pm

JM64, I would say the most important finding was that STD RATES REMAINED THE SAME. Which tells me that they should be giving free birth control to females AND males, in the form of condoms.

Just Wondering

March 7th, 2014
2:35 pm

I know this is off topic but abortion has been coming up in these comments. I was wondering what you women’s rights activist think about this? Is it murder for a father to give his wife something in secret that will kill an unborn baby if he chooses to not have the child? Of course if this hurts the mother, he should be punished for that crime, but should he be charged with murder of the child?

aquagirl

March 7th, 2014
2:47 pm

Ramble, this isn’t charity, this is health insurance where people pay premiums. You seem to have an, uh, thrifty idea of what should be covered. It seems penny wise and pound foolish.

RealityChek

March 7th, 2014
3:35 pm

This seems so hard to believe … exactly because it likely ISN’T.

RambleOn84

March 7th, 2014
4:38 pm

aquagirl,
YOU said something to the effect of, “Should I pay for a man’s prostate surgery?”

I said no. YOU shouldn’t. IF that man chooses to purchase health insurance and IF his insurance covers it is no matter of YOURS.

However, if you have extra money and wish to help out someone who needs it, you’re entitled to do so. And if we don’t operate under the notion that people are obligated, under the threat of IRS penalty, to pay for other people’s problems, then you would have more of that money with which to give to the charity of your choice.

What’s so hard to understand about that?

DawgNole

March 7th, 2014
7:12 pm

RambleOn84
March 7th, 2014
1:08 pm
. . . Both parties are talking out of both sides of their mouths on a plethora of issues. I don’t believe a word that comes out of any of their mouths anymore.
_________________________

You just now figuring that out? Don’t feel too bad; better late than never.