I’m shocked. Are you shocked? I’m definitely shocked. Shocked is what I am. Find the crayon that most resembles “shocked”, and color me with it.
MotherJones posts about a new study that shows that when women have free access to contraceptives, there are fewer abortions. Meaning, people who don’t want or can’t have kids, for whatever reason, don’t have to use abortion as their last resort as often.
That’s according to a new study published on Thursday by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis. The project gave free birth control to more than 9,000 local women and girls, many of whom were poor or uninsured, and tracked them for two years. There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study group, compared to the 2010 national rate of 34 per 1,000. As for abortions, there were fewer than eight per 1,000 women in the study, compared with the almost 20 per 1,000 nationally.
“The impact of providing no-cost birth control was far greater than we expected,” Jeff Peipert, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis who co-authored the study, said in a statement.
Women’s health specialists say the study points to the potential impact of the Democrats’ health care reform bill, the Affordable Care Act, which mandates access to contraceptives without co-payments. The study’s authors say when this kind of program is deployed nationwide, more than 40 percent of the over 1 million abortions performed in the United States each year could be avoided.
Half (half!) of all pregnancies in this country are unwanted, way higher than in other developed countries, according to Scientific American. And about forty-three percent of those end in abortion. As the Associated Press reminds us, poor women are “far more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy than their wealthier counterparts.”
Which makes it completely self-evident: a large number of people are having kids they don’t want or can’t have for whatever reason, because they can’t afford or can’t get birth control. That there are fewer births overall when birth control is free, means the willingness to use them is there but the access (for whatever reason) is not. That means access to contraceptives is presently a privilege, and if we want to do our society any favours in reducing unnecessary abortion and unwanted children, we need to make access to contraceptives a right.
That abortions aren’t completely eliminated suggests to me that our birth control strategies aren’t completely bulletproof. Nor, I suspect, can they ever be. There will always be some uncontrollable variable in the equation. Reducing the number of abortions is its own good, and surely it’s something anyone should be able to get behind — whether Republican or Democrat, religious zealot or ardent atheist, feminist or woman-hater.
Okay, maybe not woman-haters, as they don’t seem to really give a shit about solving any problems except both bagging and bagging on bitches.
Also, no, human sexuality is not a controllable variable. You can’t solve this problem via the “panacea” of treating sex like it’s evil, you religious types. Besides — we all know that just makes it all the more likely unprotected sex will happen, so you’d be taking slap-shots at your own net.