Access to birth control brings abortion rate to lowest in decades, but Congress

Let’s start out by stating the obvious.

No rational person is excited at the prospect of an abortion. It is absolutely one of the more difficult decisions a woman may make during her life, however it currently is and always should be a woman’s choice as to what happens with her body. However, a person is more important than a blasocyst.

Regardless if you’re for or against abortion, we can all agree that the lower the rate of abortions, the better. So it comes as great news that rate of abortions has been steadily declining for decades, and is now at an all-time low.

Soure: Guttmacher Institute

The Guttmacher Institute report found that:

In 2006, Iowa expanded access to family planning for low-income women, and between 2007 and 2013, a privately funded initiative sought to increase access to [long-acting reversible contraceptive] methods among the same population.31 Areas of the state with the most exposure to these programs experienced larger declines in abortion than did those with less exposure.31

It makes sense. Despite many states, including my home state of Indiana, [passing laws restricting women’s ability to get abortions](passing laws restricting women’s ability to get abortions) and [states closing clinics that offer abortions at a record rate](states closing clinics that offer abortions at a record rate), women have [more access to birth control](more access to birth control) than ever before. The available evidence we have would suggest that, generally, better access to birth control means a lower abortion rate. Win-win, right?

The problem Lawmakers have introduced legislation like HR 586 and HR 354. HR 586 reads:

This bill declares that: (1) the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human and is a person’s most fundamental right; (2) each human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its equivalent, at which time every human has all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and (3) Congress, each state, the District of Columbia, and each U.S. territory have the authority to protect all human lives.

I’ve posted about HR 586 on the page already:

However, HR 354 is different in that it will defund Planned Parenthood unless Planned Parenthood ceases performing abortions at any clinic. This is likely due to many Planned Parenthood opponents’ emphatic claim that federal tax dollars will go towards funding abortions.

For as much concern there is about “fake news” lately, it’s somewhat ironic that this is the strongest argument opponents can make against Planned Parenthood. The fact is that federal tax dollars do not go towards abortion services. It just doesn’t. It’s not a thing that actually happens. Planned Parenthood offers a variety of services, of which only [3% of its total services are abortions](3% of its total services are abortions).

So what’s the real reason?

Evidence has repeatedly shown us that comprehensive sex education paired with access to birth control is the best method to limit undesired pregnancies. With all the research on the subject that is currently available, this is not debatable.

The rationale behind legislation like this likely comes from religious groups’ influence on lawmakers. A [Pew Research Center study](Pew Research Center study) in 2011 found that the amount of religious advocacy organizations in Washington, DC have more than doubled since the early 90s. Conservative estimates put these groups’ expenditures at over $350 million a year in their lobbying efforts.

These groups use their faith as a basis to push their views onto others. Religious groups who oppose birth control believe that abstinence-only sex education should be taught in schools. As I’ve written before, abstinence-only sex education simply is not effective. It results in “virginity pledges” that lead to teens engaging in oral and anal sex at a similar rate to their peers. Abstinence-only education actually increases the teen pregnancy rate, and has similar STI rates as their non-ridiculous-pledged peers.

It is incredibly hypocritical of lawmakers to use their faith as justification for these laws. They simply cannot claim moral high ground when they are attempting to infringe upon the rights of others. What you are doing is attempting to instill your religious ideology on others by means of legislation. These people are not morally superior and they are not making legislative decisions based on actual evidence. They are allowing their faith-based, emotional opinion to guide them in restricting the freedoms of others.

If your goal is to prevent abortion, comprehensive sex education is literally the best way to accomplish it.

What can you do?

Challenge people who spread the lie that federal money goes towards abortions. Ask them to explain why, without using myths or faith-based reasons, women shouldn’t have access to birth control. Support Planned Parenthood by donating. Contact your lawmakers and briefly share why you think they should oppose legislation that restricts women’s access to healthcare.

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