If you want to prevent abortions, you make sure everyone has health care, sex education and birth control. Not the exact opposite.
You’ve probably heard that North Dakota has become the first state to pass a “personhood” bill that bans all abortions. It will now head to voters for approval. But you probably didn’t hear that the same people have blocked a law pushing the kind of comprehensive sex education that prevents unplanned pregnancies.
Instead, they’re pushing an “abstinence-only” measure that will ban any sort of education that includes actual information about sex and family planning.
That the war on a woman’s right to choose has also become a war on family planning reveals the true agenda of many in the anti-abortion rights movement — preventing women from having the same sort of sexual freedom men enjoy. And they’re so obsessed with that goal that they’re willing to increase pregnancies and the burden on taxpayers to do it.
Texas is the perfect example. Rick Perry and Republicans in the state cut $73 million from family planning as part of their effort to destroy the state’s Planned Parenthood organization. The result was a projected $273 million increase in the costs the state will have to incur to cover unwanted pregnancies.
The science on providing family planning is in. When women have access to family planning, children are 5 percent less likely to be poor, 15 percent less likely have parents on welfare, and 4 percent less likely to have a single parent, according to a new study from The Brookings Institute.
“Reductions in unwantedness, increases in birthweight, and increases in the material living circumstances of the average child point to family planning programs’ broad benefits for children in the shorter to medium term,” writes the study’s author the University of Michigan’s Martha J. Bailey.
Basically, family planning is what being pro-life should be all about. (And in this way, ObamaCare is the most “pro-life” thing to happen to America ever.)
Opposing family planning increases the burden on women and taxpayers. But the saddest fact in this whole ridiculous argument is that there is no evidence that making abortion illegal makes the procedure less likely. Abortion rates are actually higher in countries where it is illegal.
Laws like the ones being pursued in North Dakota will only result in more poverty, more unwanted pregnancies and much more dangerous abortions.
There are ways to prevent abortions — education, contraception, family planning, health care — but America’s pro-life movement is part of a right wing intent on limiting women’s options, making unwanted pregnancies inevitable and forcing children to be born into a world where they will be blamed for their inevitable poverty.
[Photo by Anne Savage.]