Abortion rates keep decreasing, and that should be something that makes everyone happy. It doesn’t, though. Instead, there is a subset of anti-choice advocates determined to make us declare that there is less abortion because everyone has decided to give birth to their unintended pregnancies, not that contraception has stopped those pregnancies in the first place.
Writing in the National Review, Michigan professor Michael New has proclaimed that the drop in abortions is a combined sign that both pro-life laws and abstinence only education are working. The abstinence only sex ed is apparently keeping everyone from having sex, then the laws make them realize they would rather give birth when they face a pregnancy that they didn’t prevent because hey, abstinence.
It can’t be birth control, says New, because birth control rates have been increasing ever since the mid 60s. You know, since using birth control became legal. Which would make perfect sense since before birth control was legal, less people used it.
Naturally, few were persuaded. Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum dismissed it as a lot of hot air. Salon’s Katie McDonough called him delusional. In response, New demanded anyone answer this question, “If contraceptives are effective and contraceptive use has increased, why has the unintended-pregnancy rate gone up?”
Well, I’ll take a stab at that. The unintended pregnancy rate is going up because those not using contraception are getting pregnant, and those who are using contraception may be getting their use interrupted, which is not a sign of ineffectiveness of the contraception but societal influences. There are many reasons that inconsistent use could be occurring. Some may not be able to afford to pay for their pills every month, thanks to GOP leaders trying to block their insurance from covering it. Some may be using contraception and have to stop because Republicans have been defunding their local family planning providers. Contraceptive use can be affected by a number of changes on a day to day, week to week or month to month factor, which is one of the reasons that accessible, affordable, long acting and reversible contraception is being promoted.
The real issue with New and those of a similar mindset policy-wise, is that contraception absolutely cannot be seen as a key to decreasing the abortion rate because their advocacy revolves around the belief that hormonal contraception is harmful, both physically and socially. As such, it can never be acceptable as a means of preventing abortion no matter how much they claim they want the practice to end. It would require them to set aside their war on Planned Parenthood, as well as their policy of cloaking denial of birth control services as religious freedom.
Is New delusional? No. But he definitely has an agenda, and it is one he will pick the facts he needs in order to support.
Related, the teen birth rate is at a historic low. I’m sure that’s all because of abstinence only education, too.
The Senate has voted to allow Peace Corp volunteers to use their insurance to pay for abortions, an unprecedented change in federal policy. Want to really change federal policy in 2016? Try electing a pro-choice president, as Truth-Out recommends.
As the Supreme Court prepares for a final week and a half of rulings, the contraception mandate case involving Hobby Lobby is still outstanding. The Prospect explains all about The Beckett Foundation, the little known legal team behind this controversial case. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court does take on the idea of “true threats,” but, as Jessica Mason Pieklo explains, that may not be such a good thing when it comes to women.
A new push to have pregnancy tests in bathrooms in Alaskan bars is dividing people into two camps: those who think it will cut down on fetal alcohol syndrome and those who think it’s just about shaming women who are drinking. But as Ali Yarrow reports, maybe those women in the bars aren’t the intended target at all.
Ohio’s final abortion provider in Toledo is informed that the Michigan hospital an hour away that they obtained admitting privileges from isn’t “local” enough, which puts it one step closer to shutting its doors. ThinkProgress explains exactly how the state is using the regulatory process to shut down clinics one by one. And in Michigan, one lawmaker discusses how insurers are too confused about the state’s abortion coverage law to know how exactly to handle the procedure. No wonder both states are now fighting back on restrictive abortion laws.
Finally, in some good news, a new public opinion comment period over Virginia’s massive TRAP bill meant to shutter most of the state’s clinics is now open. Here’s hoping a new governor means that this medically unnecessary law will be rolled back.
Read more: abortion, buffer zones, contraception, Maine Governor's race, Michigan insurance rider, Ohio TRAP law, personhood, planned parenthood, pregnancy tests, Rape insurance, Supreme Court, trap laws, Virginia TRAP Law
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