Some of you may have heard of the study that found that free birth control leads to way fewer abortions. The project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis over a three-year period. With free access to effective contraception, these women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies as a result, said Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The study was released Oct. 4, 2012, in the journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The effect on teen pregnancy was the most significant. It found there were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study, compared with a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teen in 2010. Abortions were also much lower, when compared with women in the metro area and nationally. There were 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study compared with 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women overall in the St Louis region. It was also lower that the national rate of 20 abortions per 1,000 women.

One would think that reason would prevail and it would not be necessary to have a study that proves when there are fewer unintended pregnancies there are fewer abortions. But no, there are those who have dominated this conversation for years with the myth that contraception equals more promiscuous behavior equals more unintended pregnancies, thus more abortions. It is sad that such a study will not quiet this belief as there are those who will continue to perpetuate it.

In the United States of America there are more than three million unintended pregnancies each year. Sadly, more than 40 percent are aborted. With free and effective contraception these numbers will be greatly diminished.

I am thankful for this study, President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood.

Sandra McSwain