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Feminspire | April 24, 2014

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Shocking: Not Getting Pregnant Means Not Having An Abortion

Shocking: Not Getting Pregnant Means Not Having An Abortion

Birth control is a hot topic in the US right now. The Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate requires new or renewed health insurance plans to provide birth control at no cost to the policyholder – no copay, no deductible, no out-of-pocket costs at all. Birth control is expensive; Planned Parenthood estimates its cost to be $15-$50 each month. For people who have a hard enough time paying for health insurance, the added cost of copays each month can be a huge burden and may not even seem worth it. But by making it free, millions of people who previously could not afford it are now able to take birth control.

The mandate has been hotly contested – many people claim it violates their religious freedom, while others want to earmark their tax dollars to go to something they don’t morally oppose (which is a whole other article in itself). Suffice to say, a lot of people want the mandate to be repealed, and Conservative politicians have chimed in to say they will do just that. These are the same politicians (and voters) that are anti-abortion, which leads me to wonder how they feel about the results of this study:

When more than 9,000 women ages 14 to 45 in the St. Louis area were given no-cost contraception for three years, abortion rates dropped from two-thirds to three-quarters lower than the national rate, according to a new report by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis researchers.

From 2008 to 2010, annual abortion rates among participants in the Contraceptive Choice Project  – dubbed CHOICE — ranged from 4.4 abortions per 1,000 women to 7.5 abortions per 1,000. That’s far less than the 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women nationwide reported in 2008, the latest year for which figures are available.

You mean to tell me that not getting pregnant leads to not having an abortion? Shocking.

Mitt Romney and company should be pleased to hear this news. The best way to reduce abortion rates is to reduce pregnancy rates. But still, I’m sure they will tout abstinence. Because sex is the devil’s act and is only to be used for reproduction. Even though abstinence-only education and policies do not work.

I’m going to be straightforward here: it is absurd to expect everyone who can’t afford birth control and also doesn’t want to get pregnant to simply abstain from having sex. Demanding that people resist their biological urges is paternalistic and overbearing. Conservatives want a small government that doesn’t interfere with their lives but by repealing the birth control mandate and outlawing abortion, they would be doing exactly what they claim they are fighting against.

They don’t want you to push your morals (or what they see as a lack of morals) on them, because they have freedom of religion. But what they are refusing to recognize is that we also have freedom from religion.

The Obama administration is not forcing anyone to use birth control. That is not what the mandate is about. They are simply making sure that everyone has access to it in case they want or need it. Birth control should not be available only to people who have enough money to afford it and it is classist and offensive to demand that poor people pay for it out-of-pocket when they need food on the table.

If a person can’t afford birth control, how are they going to afford an abortion? And if they can’t afford an abortion, how are they going to afford raising a child? Especially when Romney wants to make cuts to government assistance programs like welfare. You can’t deny them any help at all and expect them to be okay. How do we better our lives if every opportunity we have to do so is taken away? This every-man-for-himself attitude that’s taken over the country in the past 30-odd years is really, truly sickening.

We aren’t all born with a silver spoon in our mouths. It’s time to stop pretending like we are.

Written by Alisse Desrosiers
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  • Kirsten Darner

    LOGIC. something the GOP doesn’t seem to possess.

    • Stephanie Willis

      The lack of logic behind the argument against birth control is something that is soooo obvious to most of us but I think so many people have been brainwashed into slut shaming that they don’t even see that their arguments have no logic.

      • Jess Mary

        seriously, this should be as newsworthy as “study discovers most rainstorms are preceded by clouds”

  • Abigail Lewis

    I totally agree with you, but I thought I would bring a British perspective to this, which adds an interesting element. In Britain all contraception is free but we have the highest teen pregnancy and abortion rates in Europe, much higher than other countries where contraception is expensive – Switzerland, for example. I believe inequality and the gap between rich and poor is the culprit behind this. Making contraception free is the first step but making sure education about and access to contraception is available across all classes is imperative.

    • Clive Warren

      I too think that despite contraception being freely available in the UK there’s a slightly different class issue going on. I suspect one of the contributing factors to the high teenage pregnancy rate amongst ‘lower class’ girls is the lack of worth put upon them, on a psychological level. I think some women are made to believe that they have no place in society as a successful person because they are 1) female and 2) poor, so intentionally become mothers at a young age to reestablish their worth and desire to feel needed.

      Not to say being a young mother is a bad thing at all, and I do think mothers very worthy and can obviously go on to be highly successful in other ways after having a child, but it is a large sacrifice of your own freedom and other potential prospects and can put you at a disadvantage when you’re that young.

      • Abigail Lewis

        Have you read The Spirit Level? This is one of the main arguments in it and I think you and it are so right. Becoming a mother puts young women in social circles of other mothers who provide them with support etc. It’s very well argued in The Spirit Level.

  • Clive Warren

    I literally just picked up fifteen months worth of the birth control pill for free today, and I am extremely grateful that as a British woman I’m able to do so.