How to slash the abortion rate? Time points to one way: Allow women to get a full year’s supply of birth control at one time, instead of doling it out once a month or, occasionally, once every three months. A new study shows that when you do that, odds of an abortion fall 46% and odds of a pregnancy fall 30%. Allowing women to pick up a year’s supply in one visit means she won’t have to go back to the clinic multiple times, thereby making it easier for her to stick to a birth-control regimen.
“Having sex without using a method of birth control is one of many kinds of risks people take in their lives, like driving too fast or driving without a seatbelt. If seatbelts were given out as piecemeal as contraception, few people would use them,” says the lead author of the study. Giving out more pills at one time is “a cost-savings thing, but it's also a quality-of-care issue—and it's the right thing to do. People don't stop having sex when their pills run out.”