Study Shows Abortion Rates Are Down–But Not For Reasons Anti-Choicers Will Like

Robyn Pennacchia | March 3, 2016 - 5:30 pm

If you were an anti-choicer and were told that abortion rates were going down, you’d probably think it was due to all your hard work—creating over 300 new anti-abortion laws, forcing patients to look at sonograms against their will, requiring patients wait for 1-3 days in order to get an abortion in hopes they’ll change their mind, making them read medically inaccurate brochures, and standing outside of clinics promising hellfire and damnation at the top of your lungs.

In fact, in 2014, when the Guttmacher Institute released a study showing that abortions were at their lowest levels since 1973, National Right to Life President Carol Tobias stated:

“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. 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.”

Despite the fact that the authors of the study were clear about the fact that the year they were specifying was 2011–before many of the major crazy abortion restrictions went into place in different states–pro-lifers were quick to take credit for the drop.

However, it turns out that many of them may not be quite as excited by a new study conducted by Guttmacher that shows that the while rates of abortion in unintended pregnancy didn’t drop, the actual unintended pregnancy rates themselves dropped by 18%

unintended-pregnancies-abortion
CREDIT: New England Journal of Medicine

Furthermore, the study concluded that these laws and the promotion of a “culture of life (with exceptions for war and the death penalty)” had literally nothing to do with the decline in abortions at all. Which is not at all surprising given that studies have shown that mandatory waiting periods and “counseling” have no effect on the decision to have an abortion, and that the forcing a patient to look at an ultrasound doesn’t sway them either.

The real reason? Birth control, bitches!

Overall use of contraceptives increased slightly among women at risk of unintended pregnancy between 2008 and 2012, while use of highly effective methods—such as the IUD and implant—more than tripled between 2007 and 2012. Research shows that the two-thirds of women who use contraceptives consistently and correctly account for only 5% of all unintended pregnancies.

OOOH. That has got to burn. Especially considering the fact that in recent years, many anti-choicers have opposed things like the birth control mandate and started falsely insisting that birth control pills are abortifacients. Not to mention how much they hate IUDs.

This decline is also not due to abstinence-only programs, which have been found to be entirely ineffective! It’s not like everyone found Jesus and decided to wait until marriage to have sex. People are still having sex, they’re just taking birth control. Also, while teens who receive comprehensive sex-education and teens who receive abstinence education delay their first sexual experience at about the same rates (and both longer than teens who receive no formal sex-ed), the difference between the two is that those that get comprehensive sex-ed are more likely to take precautions like using condoms and birth control when they do have sex.

It also bears mentioning that in states that have taken extreme measures to restrict abortion, people have started self-inducing them. In fact, a study conducted in Texas found that between 100,000 and 240,000 women had attempted to self-induce an abortion in the years following the passing of HB2. The fact is, if someone wants to end a pregnancy, they will find a way.

The moral of this story? If you’re really opposed to abortion–if you really, truly want to see abortion numbers drop, and you’re not just mad about people having sex you don’t approve of? You should support liberal policies like providing access to birth control and comprehensive sex-education, which reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies, because that’s what’s actually effective.

[Guttmacher]