On Tuesday April 18th Senators Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid co-wrote a piece for the Times Union regarding abortion and contraception. Here is an excerpt:

We believe that it is necessary for all Americans to join together and embrace policies that will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, decrease abortions and improve access to women’s health care.

There is no question that the rate of unintended pregnancy is too high in the United States. Half of the 6 million pregnancies each year in this country are unintended, and nearly half of these unplanned pregnancies end in abortion. It doesn’t have to be this way. Most of these unintended pregnancies — and the resulting abortions — can be prevented if we eliminate the barriers that prevent women from having access to affordable and effective contraception.

Only senators could say so much wrong in so little space!

First, I find it schizophrenic that abortion-choice advocates like Clinton will champion abortion rights on the one hand, and yet want to reduce the number of abortions on the other. If abortion does not take the life of an innocent human being we should no more want to reduce the number of abortions than we want to reduce the number of tooth extractions. The reason some abortion-choicers want to reduce the number of abortions is because deep down they know abortion is morally wrong. At the end of the day the only sure way to reduce the number of abortions is by making it illegal.

Can you think of any other Constitutional right where even advocates of the right want to reduce the number of times it is exercised? As Jivin Jehoshaphat once wrote, “It obviously doesn’t work for many of the rights we consider foundational. Imagine someone being a champion for the right to free speech yet saying that we should work to reduce the number of nonviolent protests. Or a champion of voting rights working to reduce the number of votes that are cast in a given election. Both situations are absurd.”

Secondly, what barriers to receiving affordable and effective contraception are Clinton and Reid talking about? How hard is it to buy a condom from the local drug store or Wal-Mart? Getting the Pill is as easy as walking in to a Planned Parenthood clinic. People choose not to use contraception.

Thirdly, both senators are perpetrating the myth that there is a tandem between increased access to contraception and a decrease in abortion. It sounds logical, but is not necessarily supported by statistical data.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute recently released a report on contraception in America. They ranked each state according to its efforts to help women obtain and properly use contraception. The three categories against which each state was measured were service availability, public funding, and laws/policies. California was ranked first in the nation for their superior contraceptive services, and New York was ranked fifth. What’s so ironic about this is that these two states also have among the highest percentages of abortion per pregnancy in the nation (NY = 2nd highest with 31%; CA = 6th highest with 26%). If greater access to contraceptives is the key to significantly reducing the number of abortions, why is it that the states with the greatest access to contraception are also the nation’s greatest abortion mills?

Advertisements