Pro-lifers are often told they cannot really be opposed to abortion if they don’t also support publicly-funded contraception. While promoting her latest book, pro-abortion author Jodi Picoult called it “a bit of a hypocrisy” for anyone who opposes abortion also to oppose contraception. She and others argue that contraceptives prevent unwanted pregnancy, and abortions result from unwanted pregnancies — and therefore, those who oppose abortion must support the expansion of taxpayer-funded contraception as a means of reducing the number of abortions.
In reality, studies show that when contraceptives are made widely available, the abortion rate rises in some instances. Abortion activists are quick to point out, as Picoult does, that once contraception reaches saturation in a population, there is a subsequent fall in the abortion rate. Thus, even if contraception appears to correlate with a rising abortion rate, they claim, there will eventually be a fall in the abortion rate. The question that remains is if the falling abortion rate ever reaches the previous, pre-contraception level. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.
We don’t need to rely on speculation. After decades of legal, elective abortion and widely available contraceptives, we have consistent data on the relationship between contraceptive use and abortion. And what the data proves is that more contraception isn’t the solution to abortion.
Data from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service
A recent survey by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) shows:
- 51.2% of abortion patients were using at least one form of contraception in the month they conceived.
- 1 in 4 women seeking an elective abortion was using one of the “most effective” forms of contraception at the time they became pregnant. (The methods considered most effective, hormonal contraception or a long-acting reversible contraceptive, can also cause early abortions, which is a fact not taken into account in this research.).
Even with perfect use, every form of contraception has a failure rate. BPAS notes, “No method of contraception is 100% effective, yet public discourse and some family planning initiatives frequently imply that abortion can always be avoided through the use of contraception.”
BPAS chief executive Ann Furedi made it very clear that contraceptives aren’t going to be reliable, which is why she believes taking the lives of children already conceived should be legal. She stated, “When you encourage women to use contraception, you give them the sense that they can control their fertility…. Our data shows women cannot control their fertility through contraception alone, even when they are using some of the most effective methods. Family planning is contraception and abortion. Abortion is birth control that women need when their regular method lets them down [emphasis added].”
England is considered the gold standard for contraceptive studies because the National Health Service (NHS) offers every type of contraceptive for free. Yet, as the Economist observes, “Even in England, with its well-run sexual-health clinics and policy of providing contraceptives free, about a fifth of pregnancies end in abortion. And a third of women who have abortions have had at least one before.” In an example of the horrific pragmatism of legal killing, the article goes on to state, “It [abortion] cannot be abolished, no matter how enlightened a government’s policy. But the English have more-or-less the right attitude.”
If one of the most extensive, taxpayer-funded contraceptive programs in the world results in the violent killing of 20 percent of all preborn children, the assumptions underlying such a contraceptive regime deserve re-examination.
Data from the Guttmacher Institute
The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute’s analysis of abortion patients in 2000 and 2014 shows:
- More than half (54% and 51%, respectively) of abortion patients were using some method of contraception in the month they became pregnant.
- Only between 8 and 10% of abortion patients had never used contraception. The Guttmacher Institute saw similar levels of contraceptive use among abortion patients in 1994-1995.
Researchers have found that unplanned pregnancies that occur after contraceptive failure are more likely to result in abortion than those that resulted without the use of contraceptives. Looking at the outcomes of unintended pregnancies, another Guttmacher researcher concluded that “contraceptive users appear to have been more motivated to prevent births than were nonusers, although many nonusers did have abortions.”
Guttmacher’s researcher states, “That half of women were using a contraceptive method does not mean that contraception is ineffective. Rather, it indicates that women and couples are imperfect.”
Guttmacher researchers examining the relationship between contraception and abortion admit that “a residual demand for abortion always exists.” Despite the continual calls for more taxpayer-funded contraceptive programs, it is clear that contraceptives are readily available, and even with the “most effective” forms of contraceptives (which entail a wide range of serious health risks for women) that “residual demand” will constitute a significant portion of preborn babies.
Data from the CDC
Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has consistently reported that more than half of abortion patients “currently used” contraception during the month they became pregnant, and noted that abortions usually result from unintended pregnancies, “which often occur despite the use of contraception.”
Increased sexual activity, with or without the use of contraceptives, increases unintended pregnancy. Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion business and recipient of more than half a billion taxpayer dollars annually for services including contraception, promotes sexual activity at early ages. People are reluctant to identify abortion as a means of birth control, but the supposed experts on these issues — research organizations that support an agenda of widely available, publicly funded contraceptives and legal abortion — do not view contraception and abortion as separate issues; instead, to them, abortion is needed not if contraceptives fail, but when.
While Picoult and others claim that pro-lifers who oppose contraception are attempting to “control women’s sexuality,” abortion activists set on promoting taxpayer-funded contraceptive programs that inevitably lead to abortions do not give women information about ethical and effective alternatives for spacing children and preventing pregnancy. It would seem the parties withholding pertinent information are the ones set on “controlling women’s sexuality.”
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