Nearly half of pregnancies—49 percent—that occur annually in the US are unintended, which translates into about 3.2 million pregnancies being unwanted, unplanned, or mistimed (Guttmacher Institute, 2012a). The rate of unintended pregnancy in the US is significantly higher than the rate in many other developed nations, in spite of the fact that safe and highly effective contraceptives are available. The political and emotional nature of the discussions surrounding reproduction and sexuality impedes progress toward policy and practice changes that will protect the reproductive health of American women and significantly reduce the number of unintended pregnancies (Taylor, 2011).
According to the Guttmacher Institute (2012a), most American families want two children, resulting in the typical woman spending approximately ﬁve years pregnant, postpartum, or trying to become pregnant, and about three decades—more than three-quarters of her reproductive years—trying to avoid conception. By the time they reach 45, more than half of American women will have had an unintended pregnancy, with far-reaching health, social, and economic consequences.