seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy


War on Contraception

I just can't shake the feeling that many of the people most crusading against abortions would actually oppose living in a world where sex education and available effective contraceptives dramatically decrease the number of abortions. Many of these people are simply opposed to other people having sex (especially anything that might be considered deviant, dear me!) for reasons I simply do not understand.

As an example, take this article from Mother Jones on an innovative and successful program in Colorado that has reduced the number of abortions without limiting the freedom of women to control their own bodies.

Seven years later, the program has been, by most measures, a huge success. Teen birthrates are dropping across the country, but Colorado's has fallen faster than the nationwide average, allowing it to leapfrog 11 spots in the national rankings. Between 2010 and 2012, the state estimates, 4,300 to 9,700 births to women on the state's Medicaid program that would have otherwise occurred did not—saving Medicaid between $49 million and $111 million. The state's abortion rate has also cratered, falling 42 percent among women ages 15 to 19 and 18 percent among women ages 20 to 24 between 2009 and 2012.

But some have decided that IUD use is basically an abortion. That this is contrary to the scientific understanding of how IUDs work isn't the point - we are certainly used to people refusing to listen to science. I'm in the midst of reading the excellent book How We Got to Now and the history of doctors refusing to wash their hands prior to delivering babies was jaw-dropping. No one likes changing their mind about how things work.

The larger problem I have with opposing IUDs because they supposedly cause an abortion (which they do not) is the idea that in balancing the rights of a human adult (or in some cases teen) woman against a collection of a few hundred cells, society should side with the thing that has more in common with an amoeba than a human. It gives you a sense of just how much these people value women... and yes, I know that many of them are women. Doesn't change how little they value women.

If those who opposed abortions cared first and foremost about stopping abortions, they would be doing everything possible to minimize potential pregnancy among those who are not ready to be parents (or do not wish to have additional children). But most of them are not, and in fact, a stunning majority of them actually encourage abstinence-only education, which has been shown to lead to higher numbers of unwanted pregnancies. But this isn't really about abortion, it is about how great it feels to engage in a holier-than-thou righteous crusade. And that seems to be a very human characteristic.

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