Letters to the Editor

Robert H. Bilbro: Free contraception is critical

I appreciated and resonated with Ned Barnett’s July 10 column “To save more infants, expand Medicaid.” I was shocked with the data regarding how North Carolina as a country would compare with the rest of the world in its rate of infant mortality.

As a partially retired physician, now working part-time with Community Care of North Carolina, I would add another thought regarding the benefits of expanded Medicaid. That relates to the potential for decreasing unwanted pregnancies among women in poverty. I am sure that their pregnancies are well over 50 percent unwanted.

For women enrolled in Medicaid, long-term contraception (IUD or hormonal injections every few months) is free to the patient and has been proven to prevent such undesired developments.

The ripple effect of this decrease in unwanted pregnancies for women in poverty would be multiple, including better motivation for prenatal care, decrease in infant mortality, decrease in health care costs, less school dropouts and less kids growing up being attracted to gangs, drug use and criminal behavior.

These ripple effects would generate huge savings in tax dollars for our state.

Robert H. Bilbro