Unintended and mistimed pregnancies account for 60 percent of all pregnancies in the United States according to a recently released national study, the Boston Globe reported last week.
The Globe article says the study, which was conducted by a committee headed by Medical School Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus Dr. Leon Eisenberg, indicates that the bulk of these pregnancies are among married women over 20, as opposed to teen-aged, single or welfare dependent women.
In light of the findings of the study, Dr. Eisenberg stressed the correlation between unintended pregnancies and various social problems.
"Lost in the public controversy that comes up over abortion on the one hand and women and welfare on the other, is the fact that unintended pregnancy is the problem," Eisenberg told the Globe. "If we did something to reduce unintended pregnancies, we'd do something to reduce these other social problem."
According to the article, the study defined unintended pregnancies as those which were not planned at the time they were conceived or those not planned at all.
This year's figures represent an increase since 1982, when the percentage of unintended pregnancies was 55.5 percent, the Globe reported.
As one way to reduce unintended pregnancies, the report suggests the adoption of a massive national campaign similar to those targeting smoking or drunk driving would be useful.
"You can't legislate some things," Eisenberg said in last week's article. "But you can create a climate, change the odds, so that if you don't use contraception, you think you're doing something wrong."
As reported in the Globe, the study found that of the three million of the unintended pregnancies each year, more than half of them end in abortion.
In addition, the study found that the United States has an unintended pregnancy rate 3.5 times higher and an abortion rate four times higher than other Western democracies, the article said.