Free birth control may not increase risky sexual behavior: Study

Free birth control may not increase risky sexual behavior: Study

Free birth control does not impact rates of sex.

Free birth control doesn’t prompt women to engage in risky sexual behavior, according to a recent study. The new report indicates that women and girls who were provided with free birth control did not get involved in riskier sex, in contrast to previous fears among social conservatives.

The large study, which was published in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal earlier this week, explains that the researchers’ findings help to calm the fears of social conservatives, who believe that pregnancy is “the only thing standing between women and promiscuity.”

Once the program began, participants were less likely to have sex with any more than one man. The report also said that although participants engaged in sexual activity slightly more often, they were not any more likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease.

The study, which involved 9, 256 girls and women in the St. Louis area, is part of the Contraceptive CHOICE project, an ongoing research initiative at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The university has been tracking close to 10,000 low-income women, who are of reproductive age, over the past several years. The women who participated in the project were provided with an FDA-approved contraceptive of their choice, which was given to them at no additional cost.

The findings are available amidst a heated debate over the Affordable Care Act, which requires that insurers pay the entire cost of birth control. This would allow products from birth control pills to intrauterine devices to be free for consumers. Several religious and non-profit businesses and organizations are arguing against the mandate in court, stating that they should not have to provide coverage if it violates their religious beliefs.

The non-profit Family Research Council is one such business. Arina Grossu, Director of the council’s Center for Human Dignity, is not convinced by the new study results, and believes that free birth control that is widely available will only encourage sexual promiscuity.

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