The study also found that the rate of unintended pregnancy varied depending on relationship status. Women who were married had the lowest rate in 2011, while those who weren’t married but were cohabiting had the highest rate.
However, the rate among women who were cohabiting declined significantly between 2008 and 2011.
Despite the declines, the rate of unintended pregnancy continue to be high for some groups, especially for teenagers, women who are cohabiting, women living below the poverty line, and black women.
The study also looked at abortions and found that the percentage of unintended pregnancies that ended in abortion didn’t vary substantially according to age group, though the percentage did increase between 2008 and 2011 among girls between 15 and 17.
In addition, women who were married were much less likely to have an abortion if they had an unintended pregnancy than those who weren’t married. Meanwhile, black women saw the highest percentage of unintended pregnancies that ended in abortion in 2011.
Liggett of Planned Parenthood Arizona said the study demonstrates the need to continue expanding access to contraception, including IUDS and implants. Her group recently partnered with the Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona to spread awareness about IUDs, implants, and other contraceptives.
"I think the real interesting finding and the conclusion that this study drew is that this is really about family planning and contraception," she said. "Now we know definitively that the path to fewer unplanned pregnancies is widely available contraception."
The study’s findings are based on data collected from several sources, including the National Survey of Family Growth. The authors of the study considered a pregnancy unintended if a woman said she wasn’t planning to have a child at the time she became pregnant.
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