A problem with the pro-life movement and its supporters is not the moral opposition to abortions by virtue of their religion. Rather, it is the complete hypocrisy and refusal to acknowledge the facts surrounding the issue of abortion. Most of us understand the seriousness of this issue and the moral dilemma that coincides with it. No one is truly “pro-abortion.” I ask, If pro-life leaders are so vehemently opposed to abortion, why are they not doing all they possibly can to lower the abortion rate? Pro-choice supporters, on the other hand, respect the decision of a woman to choose while also attempting to combat the root problem of unwanted pregnancies through affordable contraception and improved sexual education programs.
Poor sex education combined with limited access to birth control is proven to lead to unwanted pregnancy. If a pregnancy is unplanned, it is more likely to lead to abortion. The pro-life movement only directs attention to the result of unintended pregnancies. It is reactive instead of proactive. If we focus on preventing unintended pregnancies by improving the country’s sexual education with programs that are based on facts, not religion-based abstinence, then we will have better success at achieving our goal. 37 states require the inclusion of abstinence in their sex education programs, with 26 of those states requiring that abstinence be stressed (Guttmacher Institute). States with abstinence-only sex education have higher rates of unwanted teen pregnancies than states who include methods of birth control (Health Research Funding). The fact that many schools across the country are still teaching students abstinence- only in sex education is absolutely ridiculous. Republicans and pro-life supporters need to come to terms with the fact that teens are still going to have sex, and teaching inaccurate and biased information based on religion has no place in sexual education programs.
The defunding of organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which offers pap tests, breast examinations, STI treatments, and access to birth control all in addition to abortion services, also increases the number of unwanted pregnancies. It should be easier for women to access safe and affordable birth control instead of more difficult. A study done in the state of Colorado from 2009 to 2014 shows that providing teenage girls and poor women with intrauterine devices (IUD’s) and implants has decreased teen births by 40 percent and teen abortions by 35 percent (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment). The argument that more access to affordable contraception does not decrease abortion rates is simply false. The decline is huge. If pro-life supporters really want to get what they want- fewer abortions- they need to support improved accessibility to contraception.
But they seem to be perpetually stuck in their ways, afraid of change, and attached to their limiting traditional values. The battle over abortion has been going on for so long that acknowledging effective solutions that may compromise their moral values is something they are unwilling to do. I hope they realize soon that what they are supporting- the reversal of Roe v. Wade and the defunding of Planned Parenthood- is very dangerous and limits accessibility to safe abortions while also infringing on the sovereignty of women’s bodies. I hope they can eventually come to terms with the facts, and that there are real, plausible solutions to lower the number of abortions that occur in this country.
“Sex and HIV Education.” Guttmacher Institute. N.p., 01 Feb. 2017. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.
“American Teen’s Sources of Sexual Health Education.” Guttmacher Institute. N.p., 1 Feb. 2017. Web. 2 Mar. 2017.
“20 Abstinence Only Sex Education Statistics.” Health Research Funding. N.p., 09 Oct. 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.
“Colorado’s Teen Birth Rate Continues to Plummet.” Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. N.p., 21 Oct. 2015. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.
Linker, Damon. “The Glaring Hypocrisy of the Pro-Life Movement.” The Week. N.p., 4 Aug. 2015. Web. 2 Mar. 2017.