What would you say if I told you that a politician supported a man’s legal right to physically abuse his wife under any circumstance, but is “a pro-woman hero” because his policies will help undermine the root causes of spousal abuse? You’d say I was nuts, right? Well, this same sort of argument is made all the time when it comes to pro-abortion politicians.
Eric C. Miller seems to have drunk this same Kool-Aid. The title of my post is the title of his article in Religion Dispatches Magazine. The title is as oxymoronic as “Adolph Hitler, Zionism Hero” or “Chick-fil-A, PETA hero.” How does one come to the conclusion that the most pro-abortion president this nation has ever seen is actually a pro-life hero? Birth control.
President Obama’s “Obamacare” will require all health insurance companies to cover contraceptives free of charge. And according to a recent study by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, access to free birth control can reduce unintended pregnancies by up to 75%. Miller reasons that since virtually all abortions are due to unintended pregnancies, access to free contraception will lower the number of unintended pregnancies, and thus severely lower the abortion rate.
There are several problems with this line of reasoning. First, concerning the study. Richard Poupard has a great analysis of it. The study was not intended to measure how free access to contraception would motivate people to use it, but rather an attempt to change the type of contraception women used. Indeed, one of the criteria for being involved in the study was that one had to want contraception. The results, then, don’t tell us much about how access to free contraception will change the behavior in women who are not seeking contraception.
The researchers were promoting the use of IUDs (intra-uterine devices). They convinced more than ¾ of the women to switch to an IUD, which is very effective, and are the real reason for the reduction in unintended pregnancy and abortion in the study. But a couple of things need to be noted. First, there is no reason to think that a similar number of women in the general population will choose IUDs without the prompting and encouragement of these researchers (they require an examination and have to be inserted into the uterus by a doctor). Secondly, IUDs do not prevent pregnancy, but act as chemical abortifacients. Rather than reducing the rate of abortion, they make it easier to abort!
Second, there is no reason to think the main reason women are getting pregnant in this country is that they cannot afford contraception. Making it free may help reduce some unintended pregnancies, but not many.
Sorry, but Obama’s policy on contraception is unlikely to put a dent in the abortion rate, and does not make him a pro-life hero. He’s the same pro-life foe we’ve known in the past.