Kansas Population Center seminar series to feature speaker on economic barriers to contraception

LAWRENCE —The Kansas Population Center will showcase new research from the Michigan Contraceptive Access, Research and Evaluation Study at an upcoming virtual event at the University of Kansas. Principal investigator Martha Bailey will present “M-CARES: Evidence from the First Two Years” at 1 p.m. April 15.

M-CARES builds on research findings that contraceptive costs limit the choices uninsured people can make around reproductive healthcare. Researchers offered vouchers to low-income clients receiving reproductive health care services.

With the help of the voucher, people were more likely to purchase contraception, they were more likely to purchase longer-lasting contraception, and they were more likely to use a long-acting, reversible method (IUD or implant) of birth control, researchers found.

These results demonstrate the potential for reduced undesired pregnancies, birth rates, and abortions, according to researchers. In addition, a proposed program eliminating contraception costs for uninsured individuals seeking reproductive health care could result in $1.43 billion in savings in the first two years of the program.

The full report of the team’s work is available in “How Costs Limit Contraceptive Use among Low-Income Women in the U.S.: A Randomized Control Trial,” a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper.

“Dr. Bailey’s research addresses key population health issues by focusing first and foremost on reproductive health needs, but additionally considers the role of cost-sharing and health care spending. Understanding differential access and affordability of contraception are increasingly important topics in current U.S. health disparities debates, especially in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid such as Kansas,” said Jarron Saint Onge, professor of sociology and population health and co-director of the Kansas Population Center.

A professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and research associate at the NBER, Bailey examines the economic factors of contraception decisions. Bailey is the current director of the California Center for Population Research and director of the NSF-funded Longitudinal, Intergenerational, Family Electronic Micro-Database (LIFE-M).

“Dr. Bailey's cutting-edge research could not be timelier. In a time when Roe v. Wade and women's reproductive rights have been under attack, she takes the best of economic tools to evaluate the impact of family planning and reproductive health programs on women's economic health and well-being. Her ability to tie her research to broader discussions about society's return on investment from these programs is a critical resource for policymakers across the country,” said Misty Heggeness, associate professor of public affairs & economics, research scientist at the Institute for Policy & Social Research and co-director of the Kansas Population Center.

The Kansas Population Center is part of KU’s Institute for Policy & Social Research. This event is part of the center’s virtual Life, Death, and Everything in the Middle series, addresses issues important to people living in the middle of the United States.

Registration and additional contact details are available at the KU calendar website.

Mon, 04/08/2024


Carolyn Caine

Media Contacts

Carolyn Caine

Institute for Policy & Social Research