The Real Cost of Having No Contraceptive Coverage in Healthcare

“No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body.”

― Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger, who is considered the ‘founding mother’ of Planned Parenthood, understood this concept decades ago.  In the intervening years between her statement (somewhere around 1924) and now, much has changed for women.  But, is it enough?

Consider the recent statement issued by the New Hanover County (North Carolina) Board of Commissioners Chairman Ted Davis, when he explained his vote to turn down a state family planning grant that would cover contraceptive supplies along with other medical services related to family planning.  “If these young women were responsible people and didn’t have sex to begin with, we wouldn’t be in this situation”

Uh, Ted?  Just who do you think these women are having sex with?

The now infamous and extremely ignorant statement by Rush Limbaugh, in which he voiced his opinion that college student Susan Fluke must be a slut because she testified before Congress that she feels birth control is an essential health care inclusion created an uproar across social media sites.  His take on her eloquent speech?  That she wants taxpayers to ‘pay her to have sex.’  He and a host of other conservative political pundits and lawmakers seem to feel our government shouldn’t require insurance companies to include contraception as a part of health coverage. Their argument?  It is too expensive, and the taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for it.

So, along those lines, let’s explore the actual costs of contraception vs. the cost of pregnancy, delivery and raising a child.

According to Planned Parenthood, the average yearly cost of the Birth Control Pill is between $150- $600.  Condoms (used twice per week on average) cost approximately $150 per year.

Web M.D. reports that the estimated cost of delivery alone is $6,000 – $8,000 for a low risk pregnancy; the cost increases exponentially if it is high risk. Prenatal care averages $2,000.

Prenatal vitamins, maternity clothes, crib, baby clothes, diapers, baby monitor, car seat, childbirth classes and baby wipes can add a whopping $5,000 in just the first year.

A couple using no birth control has an 85 percent chance of becoming pregnant in one year. The USDA estimates that on average, middle-income couples spend around $12,500 per year, per child.  Over an 18 year period, this adds up to $225,000.

The argument that contraceptive coverage is ‘too expensive’ just doesn’t hold water.  What is too expensive for our society is having unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, children who are raised on welfare or in foster homes, some of whom later become a further economic burden to society by committing crimes and even ending up in prison.

Who do these members of Congress and the conservative media think will cover the cost for that?


Visit for more information on low or no-cost birth control, information about reproductive justice and more.

Frederika Zylstra is a professional copywriter with The Written Word Professional Copywriting, and is the Word Wizard for Wild Women for Business.  One of her many hats is writing blogs for business and non-profits.