Can IUDs Help Reduce Poverty? They Might Be Part of the Solution
As if you needed more proof that the advent and availability of birth control is one of the best things to ever happen, there's a chance that IUDs help reduce poverty, according to a New York Times op-ed by Isabel Sawhill. The basic idea behind the argument is pretty simple: unplanned pregnancy results in high costs for low-income women, especially when they are single women who formerly depended on a male counterpart for an income. Conservatives are arguing that the solution to this problem is to reestablish the importance of marriage and not having children out of wedlock, but that argument just won't hold anymore given our general shift away from traditionalism and toward a more modern understanding of family and sex. In fact, 40 percent of women having babies are currently unmarried.
So why will an IUD curb numbers better than other forms of birth control? In case you don't know much about IUDs, you can watch the following simple explanation from YouTube user mDhil Health to get a full understanding. Basically, an IUD is a form of birth control that, when positioned in your uterus, releases copper into the surrounding area which works to kill sperm and prevents them from fertilizing the ovum. The most important thing to know about IUDs is that they are 98 to 99 percent effective and are 22 times less likely to fail than birth control pills. The best part is that if you're on Obamacare or, in some states, Medicaid, these IUDs are completely free.
While it's important to acknowledge that IUDs and other forms of birth control could be essential to fighting poverty, it's also important not to forget about the other crucial factors that contribute to poverty, like jobs that don't pay a living wage, high costs of medical care, lack of access to education, and poor infrastructure and urban planning, just to name a few. While Sawhill is not wrong in saying that young mothers should start to take responsibility for their bodies, it is never a single person's responsibility to pull themselves and their families out of poverty. Poverty is often a result of an oppressive or flawed system which continues to perpetuate itself as more generations come and go. It's also important to remember that poverty affects different demographics disproportionately.
So yes, it's definitely a great idea to promote the accessibility of and education surrounding contraceptives and while we can use that as a weapon in our arsenal in the complicated, multifaceted fight against poverty, we can't hold only women responsible to fight the fight.