Publicly funded family planning services saved the government a total of $10.5 billion in 2010 and prevented 760,000 abortions, according to a new study released on Tuesday.

The report, conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health think tank, found that every dollar the government spent to fund contraceptive services in 2010 saved taxpayers $5.68. A total of 8.9 million women received publicly supported contraceptive services that year through either the Title X federal family planning program or through Medicaid assistance, and 1.1 million unplanned births were prevented.

"Each year, millions of women are able to access highly effective contraceptive methods through these programs," said Jennifer Frost, a senior researcher for Guttmacher. "Investing in family planning to help women avoid pregnancies they don't want and for which they are unprepared is good public health policy. Saving money as a result of that investment is just common sense."

Republicans in Congress have tried several times over the past few years either to axe Title X funding entirely or to prevent Title X dollars from flowing to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of family planning services. The federal government spent $317.5 million on Title X in 2010, which was used to support clinics that provide affordable family planning services, such as different methods of contraception, to low-income women.

Several states, including Wisconsin and Texas, have slashed family planning in their budgets because some family planning providers also provide abortions. But the Hyde Amendment, which has been in place for more than three decades, prevents any public dollars from being used to pay for abortions.

Despite efforts to defund family planning providers, the level of savings generated by public family planning services is on the rise, particularly since the recession. The last Guttmacher study, conducted in 2008, used information from as far back as 2002 and found that every public dollar spent on family planning saved the government about $4 (compared to $5.68 in 2010). Adam Sonfield, senior public policy associate for Guttmacher, said the savings have gone up because the economic recession pushed more women into poverty and created a greater need for those services.

"Women who have not had access to public family planning services became more likely to not be using any method at all [in 2010], or to be using less effective methods, like withdrawal," Sonfield told HuffPost in an interview. "We suspect that is likely due to the recession."

The report estimates that without the services provided by Title X-funded family planning clinics in 2010, the unplanned pregnancy rate would have been 35 percent higher among women and 42 percent higher among teens. The program prevented about 590,000 unplanned births and 400,000 abortions.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • 99 Problems (JAY-Z)

    Eric Fehrnstrom, senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/06/03/494238/fehrnstrom-shiny-objects-women/" target="_hplink">said on Sunday</a> that issues pertaining to women's reproductive rights, such as abortion and birth control, were "shiny objects" meant to distract voters from the real issues. "Mitt Romney is pro-life," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "He'll govern as a pro-life president, but you're going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people's attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election."

  • Talk (Coldplay)

    The Senate will vote Thursday on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and make it illegal for employers to punish women for bringing up pay disparity issues. Dana Perino, a Fox News contributor and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/30/perino-equal-pay-issue-is-a-distraction-for-just-48-hours/" target="_hplink">called the equal pay issue</a> "a distraction" from the country's real financial problems last week. "Well, it's just yet another distraction of dealing with the major financial issues that the country should be dealing with," Perino said. "This is not a job creator."

  • Just My Imagination (The Temptations)

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose home state's legislature recently defunded Planned Parenthood and voted to pass a bill that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/john-mccain-war-on-women_n_1455591.html" target="_hplink">delivered a floor speech</a> in which he insisted that the war on women is something imaginary for Democrats to "sputter about." "My friends, this supposed 'War on Women' or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television," he said.

  • Butterfly Fly Away (Miley & Billy Ray Cyrus)

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tried to trivialize concerns about the legislative "war on women" by comparing it to a "war on caterpillars." "If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we'd have problems with caterpillars," Priebus <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-05/priebus-says-gender-battle-as-fictonal-as-caterpillar-war.html" target="_hplink">said in an April interview</a> on Bloomberg Television. "It's a fiction."

  • Distraction (Angels And Airwaves)

    Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman (R) took heat from her opponents in May when she contended that Democratic lawmakers' focus on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was "a distraction" from the issues they should be dealing with instead. "I think it's unfortunate that the Democrats have made a political football out of this thing, which I think is what they keep doing to distract from real problems that are facing our nation," she said in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio.

  • We Don't Care (Kanye West)

    South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) defended the Republican Party in April for going after insurance coverage for contraception by arguing that women don't actually care about contraception. "Women don't care about contraception," she said on ABC's The View. "They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those other things."