The Business Case For Women’s Health
10:30 am, May 30th | by Emily Manke
No matter where you stand politically, most people agree it’s not a terrible thing for the government to save money. One way politicians on the right often attempt to curb government spending, however, is cutting women’s health expenditures. While it can shave off millions of dollars in the short-term, it’s been proven time and again, that denying women access to preventive care of their own reproductive health ends up costing way more in the long run.
The recent women’s health debate in Texas’s last election is a perfect example of how cutting funding to women’s healthcare, doesn’t actually save money. Texas majorly slashed the budget for women’s reproductive health, and the Health and Human Services Commission projected that from 2014-15 low-income women will give birth to an additional 23,760 unplanned, and uninsured babies, that wouldn’t have been born if birth control was more accessible. This could cause as much as $273 million more to taxpayers. As a result of these predictions, many politicians have changed their tune about state-funded birth control.
Globally, researchers and human rights activists have been advocating for better access to contraceptives in order to improve the lives of women all over the world. The U.N. Population Fund (UNFP) are champions for women’s reproductive rights around the world. The UNFP have indicated that cheap and global access to condoms and other contraceptives are integral for overall health. It’s also necessary for meeting three U.N. Millenium Development Goals. The three goals that contraceptives will help achieve, are: improving the health of mothers, reducing child deaths, and fighting HIV/AIDS. The deadline for meeting these goals is fast approaching in 2015. Millions of women around the world don’t have their need for family planning met. Due to this lack of access, women in many countries will continue to have more babies than they planned. As proved in Texas, unplanned pregnancies end up costing everyone money. It’s integral not only for basic human health, but for the economy, that women’s reproductive health is made a global priority.
It’s important that leaders take a look at issues from all angles before making decisions that will significantly alter the lives of a whole population. Regardless of how you feel about the moral and ethical implications of providing women with reproductive health care, the cost of unwanted pregnancy is staggering. When you take into account the costs of women being out of work due to pregnancy complications or childcare demands, and the cost of raising new babies, the price climbs even higher. The fact is, it has been proven time and again that unwanted pregnancies are inevitable. Instead of turning our backs on the women who need the most help, perhaps we should invest in preventative measures. Whether or not you think it’s the right thing to do, it is empirically the fiscally responsible thing to do.
Emily Manke is a blogger out of Portland, Oregon. She contributes to a number of sites, including the blog for Dr. Sue Walker.
[Photo via Shutterstock]