Common sense and common ground
The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions, along with a variety of health care services for women. The Virginia General Assembly last week approved legislation that requires abortion clinics to be regulated as hospitals, and providers say the stricter regulations will force many of them out of business. Both measures were pushed by anti-abortion activists. Should personal and religious views be allowed to prevent women from having access to a legal medical procedure?
By David Gushee and Cristina Page
Last week House Republicans voted to ban federal funding to the nation's largest provider of contraceptive services, Planned Parenthood, and to vacate all federal funding of Title X, the nation's contraception program for the poor.
Putting the 'mare' in nightmare for pro-choice advocates, House Republicans then introduced an amendment in favor of funding birth control for wild horses. Of course the irony was not lost on pro-choice supporters, but this time the joke is on pro-life Americans too.
We are two advocates on opposing sides of the abortion conflict who are uniting to oppose and sound the alarm over these irrational acts of Congress. While abstinence is the only foolproof way to prevent pregnancy, contraception is currently the most practical form of preventing unintended pregnancy, and thus to reduce abortions. The research is not ambiguous: Women who are not using contraceptives or use them inconsistently, account for 95 percent of the unintended pregnancies each year; 40 percent of these end in abortion. Indeed, contraception is credited with preventing an estimated 112 million abortions worldwide each year.
Not only is the Republican proposal illogical, but it takes direct aim at our most vulnerable populations, the poor who incidentally are the most likely to seek abortions. Today, women living in poverty are nearly four times more likely to become pregnant unintentionally and three times more likely to have an abortion than women of greater means.
To reduce unintended pregnancy and abortion, we know what works. And it is not simply moral outrage. Countries that have the lowest abortion rates in the world, such as Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, are those that have made contraception most easily available; typically free of charge. And so the cuts to family planning being pushed by House Republicans will have dire consequences, not only for their anti-abortion cause, but for many Americans interested in controlling when and how often to have a baby. Indeed, researchers have calculated the effect: cuts to Title X will result in an estimated 973,000 more unintended pregnancies. And those unintended pregnancies will lead to 433,000 unplanned births and 406,000 more abortions each year.
Read the entire post at The Washington Post.