Following the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, abortion is one of the most controversial issues of our time. Most people (whether they consider themselves pro-choice or pro-life) dislike abortion. Most people agree that abortion is bad. In light of this, why can’t we all agree on legislation that has proven time and time again to decrease the rates of abortion?
Just because those of us who aren’t experts on the topic can’t understand why something works doesn’t mean that it doesn’t. When we don’t understand, we can’t simply ignore expert opinion and create our own logic. Yet, this is exactly what has been happening in the effort to prevent abortion worldwide.
The latest example of this is the reinstated executive order, originally created by Ronald Reagan, that stops all US funding of foreign nonprofits that give abortions or even simply give information on abortions. While at first glance to people who are anti-abortion, this may seem like the holy grail of laws. Many are thinking “thankfully we are finally going to stop abortion.”
However, when looking into the specifics of the executive order, it has the opposite effect. In addition, before we accept the new executive order wholeheartedly, we need to at least look at the current laws and see whether we need it.
First, we need to look at methods that have been proven to decrease unwanted pregnancies and decrease the numbers of abortions. It seems like anyone who calls themselves pro-life would be in full support of policies accomplishing this. A clear policy that does exactly that is increasing access to contraception. Now, there are many legitimate research studies that have shown access to the pill and condoms don’t increase the number of abortions happening. I, unlike many people on the opposite side of the issue, am always willing to believe expert opinion and science. I wish people who are pro-life would do the same.
What has been proven as extremely effective is greater information and access to long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as IUDs, injections, and implants. Because there is no room for human error in these birth control methods (as there is with the pill and condoms), they are incredibly effective. Every place that has implemented greater information on LARCs or subsidized them has seen significant rates of decrease in the number of abortions occurring.
Defunding any place that gives information about abortions mostly just guts money for contraceptives. If you’re a believer in abstinence-only education and an abstinence-only world, even though it has shown no effect on stopping abortions, then you are not anti-abortion and pro-life, you are merely anti-sex. If you, like me, are actually interested in stopping the growing number of abortions, we should be trying to help more women get access to contraceptives (LARCs in particular).
Now, even though some people can’t accept that this would decrease abortion rates (because they can’t accept science that opposes their own personal beliefs), they should at least see that this mass defunding plan increases abortions. The previous implementations of the executive order have caused large increases in the number of abortions taking place, as well as making unsafe abortions a leading cause of death in regions affected by the law.
How can we be pro-life, yet support a policy that increases death rates for poor women as well as the fetuses that we are so desperately trying to protect and save? It just doesn’t make sense.
If your main concern is that you don’t want the great United States to be seen as a supporter of the unimaginable act that is an abortion, don’t worry, we’re not. There already is a policy that makes it so that the federal government and our tax dollars will never be used to pay for an abortion. This is true domestically and abroad.
In both cases, our money is going to help prevent HIV/AIDS and other fatal diseases, help with family planning and give women access to contraceptives that will stop them from needing an abortion. When politicians say they are defunding abortion, they’re not being honest. We already have defunded abortion all around the world.
Ultimately, the executive order is ridiculous. In this fight against sex and information, we are subjecting the most vulnerable women in society to disease and injury. Abortion isn’t a party line issue. I, though pro-choice, don’t like abortion. I want to stop it just as much as any pro-life person. We should use the most effective tools to accomplish this, not the most “PG.”
We need to stop fighting and start protecting women. If you say you’re pro-life, prove it. Instead of trying to stop women from getting abortions by shutting down clinics, support improved education and help educate those women so they never have an unwanted pregnancy in the first place. And if you do persuade a woman to not get an abortion, you also better be there to help her and fix the things in her life that made her want the abortion in the first place.