Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The cost of family planning

Well-meaning friends and family members always have questions. When you start dating someone for a while, they want to know when you are getting married. When you get married, they want to know when you are going to have a baby. When you have a baby, they want to know if you are going to have another baby. (And, if several years go by, they really want to know if you are going to have another baby. If you hedge at all, they are happy to remind you that you should do it now.)

In the last line of questioning, I am very fortunate, because I have finally figured out how to answer that question gracefully. And (and more importantly) because I have the ability to control how big or small our family will be.

But that isn't the case for a lot of women who do not have access to family planning. The Brookings Institute confirmed what seems like some very common sense: Low-income women are often unable to afford quality birth control and unintended pregnancies result. The study also determined that low-income earners are also less likely to have an abortion, so they end up with additional children which further strains their family's resources.

It's a scary cycle to be involved in, and one that needs to be addressed. Yes, there are people out there who would love to have a large family with lots of children. But for others, they want to make sure they are able to support the children they have. And that starts with better access to family planning resources.

Have you been fortunate enough to have the exact number of children you've always wanted? Share with me in the comments. If not yet, then when are you going to have another one (your mother really wants to know).

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