Family planning

Support children by empowering parents with family planning resources

Children do better when their parents have the resources to care for them, one of the reasons President Biden recently overhauled the child tax credit to give more money to middle-income families. low and medium. While the large cash transfer should reduce poverty and boost the social mobility of children by improving the economic security of families, policymakers should also ensure that children benefit from family stability.

As Richard Reeves and Isabel Sawhill wrote in A New Contract with the Middle Class, the relational health of the American middle class is not as good as it should be given our resources as a nation, and the family life is more stressed. After a downward trend for a few decades, the nuptiality of the middle class has stabilized, although at a lower level than that of the upper classes. More children are born out of wedlockmainly to cohabiting couples, rather than single parents. Future parents are now three times more likely cohabiting after becoming pregnant for the first time than getting married, entering into what some scholars call “gun cohabitations”. These trendsoften associated with poor families, can be seen also in the middle class.

For the full selection of graphs and figures, see A New Deal with the Middle Class.

A stable home environment for raising children, usually with two committed parents, is an ideal shared by most Americans. And strong family relationships are a foundation for individual development, especially for children; investment of time and energy by parents strongly has an impact on the well-being and development of the child. Family stability – with little or no change in parental residential and love partnerships – is associated with better education and social benefits for childrenabove all boys. This is why parenthood is so important.

Reeves and Sawhill write, “The goal of public policy should therefore be to help people build the foundations on which stable family life can be built. This means providing Americans with economic security and higher incomes, the opportunity to gain skills and an education, reducing the time pressures on parents, and providing knowledgeable access to effective reproductive health care.

Family planning = family stability

A stable family life is much easier to create, according to Reeves and Sawhill, when parents have adequate economic resources, job security, and time (and control over their time) to spend with their children and partners. It is also essential that they can choose when and with whom to have children. Parents with some measure of Economic security who intentionally had a child together at the time they prefer are much more likely to stay together. Currently, one in three births in the United States is unintended; among unmarried women under 30, most births – 60% – are unwanted. Young adults who “drift” into parenthood rather than planning their family are much more likely to experience instability in their relationships.

They add: “Family stability is important. But today’s stability may not look the same as it did in decades past, and it’s important not to succumb to ‘bring bakery’ based on an erroneous presumption of an earlier golden age. Families may have once been larger and more stable, but domestic violence, child abuse, gender inequalityand the stigma attached to singles and same sex couples were also much larger. Divorce as a way out of bad marriages, for example, has been a step forward, resulting in fewer female suicides and less domestic violence. Maybe neighborhood-centric communities were once again cohesive, but those neighborhoods were even more separated along racial lines than they are today.

If the old standard was children in marriage, the new standard described in the Contract is to have children intentionally brought into the world. The good news is that helping parents plan their families is easier today than at any other time in history thanks to the availability of safe, long-acting forms of birth control, such as devices. intrauterine (IUD). Since they are much more effective than other forms of contraception, their use significantly reduces unplanned pregnancies as well as abortions.

Better contraception, fewer unplanned pregnancies

states that have trained providers in the use of IUDs or other long-acting contraceptive methods – or made them freely available with good patient-focused counseling – saw a marked drop in unplanned pregnancies and abortions. Investing $1 billion in improving access to the most effective long-acting forms of contraception would yield between $3.2 billion and $6.4 billion in additional income for children born unborn. programmed for align with the preferences of their own parents. While ensuring access to health care providers in general is an important goal, Reeves and Sawhill present specific proposals for increasing access to reproductive health care in the Contract:

  • A new question is expected to appear on medical admission forms, asking women of childbearing age whether or not they wish to become pregnant. This “key question” should catalyze a discussion about (or referral to) contraceptive services if a woman does not want to become pregnant, or pre-pregnancy health counseling if she does. Other ways to improve awareness include social marketing campaigns and better sex education in schools.
  • Cost. Contraception should be readily available at no cost, regardless of insurance status. The initial cost of the most effective forms of contraception, such as the IUD, is high – but far less than the costs of an unplanned birth.
  • Provider training. Medical schools and non-profit organizations such as Upstream should be funded to train health providers, especially those in public health clinics. It has been shown, for example in Delaware, that this additional training increases the use of effective forms of contraceptionand significantly reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

Healthy and stable families depend on well-informed family planning. Accordingly, Reeves and Sawhill suggest that policymakers should ensure that expectant parents can choose when to have children by improving access to high-quality contraception.