Slate recently reported that a Guttmacher study showed abortion rates were at the lowest ever in the 41 years since Roe vs. Wade, with a 13 percent decline between 2008 and 2011. Of course, religious conservatives are rushing to claim credit for this statistic.
“That abortion rates and numbers continue to decline is heartening because it shows that women are rejecting the idea of abortion as the answer to an unexpected pregnancy,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “This latest report from Guttmacher shows the long-term efforts of the right-to-life movement to educate the country about the humanity of the unborn child and to enact laws that help children and their mothers are having a tremendous impact.”
Having spent my entire childhood in the middle of the anti-abortion movement, this really doesn’t come as a surprise to me that they would state their efforts had brought down the abortion rate. Over the last few years, there’s been a massive attack on women’s reproductive rights – and not just abortion – by the radical fringe which has hijacked the Republican Party. It’s not just abortion that they’re trying to outlaw, but they’re after the very things that help prevent abortions in the first place – sex education and access to birth control. So for the far right, religious conservatives to claim credit for the decline in abortion rates isn’t just laughable, it’s downright sickening. It’s a slap in the face to each and every political activist who has tried to make sure abortion is safe, legal and as rare as possible. The likes of Carol Tobias, Randall Terry, Phyllis Schafly and even members of my own family believe that they can legislate abortion out of existence, yet these are the very same people who believe that we can’t place any restrictions on guns. You know, because “outlawing guns won’t work, because criminals don’t follow the law.”
The report states:
The increased use of contraceptives, improvements in consistency of use and greater reliance on highly effective methods can reduce levels of unintended pregnancy. (Source)
40+ years ago, we didn’t have the contraceptives we do today and women found themselves more likely to end up with an unwanted pregnancy than they would now in 2014. Let’s be clear, nobody has an abortion because they like them. Have you known anyone who got ecstatic that they finally got to redeem their “have 5 abortions, get the sixth one free” coupon from the local abortion clinic? Of course not. So if you were “pro-life” as people like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Paul Ryan like to claim, wouldn’t you do everything in your power to make sure that an abortion isn’t necessary in the first place? Wouldn’t you make sure that every person of reproductive age had access to contraceptives and if someone did end up with an unintended pregnancy, wouldn’t you do everything you could to support that woman financially so she could afford to raise a child?
However, these fanatics believe that they can force everyone in the United States to accept their bizarre religious laws which basically state that sex should only be between married heterosexual couples, and only for the purposes of procreation. Any sort of sexy time between anyone for any reason other than making Christian babies? That’s a sin. Can’t afford to have kids? Well, then you can’t have sex. Have a pregnancy you didn’t intend? Well, that’s your fault because you’re a slut and/or it’s God’s will, but we will do everything we can to keep you from getting an abortion. Oh, and don’t even think of asking for government assistance, you lousy welfare queen.
I know this sounds like an extreme interpretation of the religious right to some, but this is really how many of them think. For them to now claim that their campaign of shaming women, restricting access to birth control and closing abortion clinics is responsible for the decline in abortions is disgusting. Yes, they may have prevented some women from getting access to an abortion, but they’ve also prevented many more from getting contraceptives which would have kept them from getting pregnant in the first place.
The credit goes to Planned Parenthood and every single person who has fought tirelessly for women’s healthcare and sex education. The decline in abortions isn’t because of the anti-abortion movement, it’s in spite of them. Their agenda isn’t being “pro-life” because if they were, they would be furious that millions of Americans were left out of the Medicaid expansion leaving them without access to preventative medical care. They aren’t pro-life, they’re pro-control and intent on forcing their twisted religious beliefs on the rest of us. That’s all it’s ever been about.
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