Oppose Abortion and Oppose Subsidized Contraception? It’s a Recipe for Disaster

Across America the righteous right seems to have no shortage of barriers in its arsenal that are designed to make it difficult, if not impossible, for women to obtain safe, legal abortions. When these very same folks also oppose government-sponsored or insurance-sponsored family planning (read: contraception) they fall into the category of biological Luddites.

As part of a study published last October 4 in Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis gave more than 9,000 women and teenage girls free contraceptives.  Participants were 14-45 years of age, at risk for unintended pregnancy, and willing to start a new contraceptive method.

The number of accidental pregnancies fell to between 62 and 78 percent below the national average. Teens are at particularly high risk for unintended pregnancies and, therefore, abortions. The study concluded that free contraception could reduce the number of abortions in the United States by a whopping two-thirds.

When we hear the likes of former senator and would-be presidential candidate Rick Santorum as well as Catholic contraceptive naysayers, decry the idea of government involvement in the contraceptive “business,” it leaves us scratching our heads. We have no argument with the church instructing its adherents about how to deal with their own genitalia. That’s their business. But when you comprehend the realities of unwanted pregnancy, it seems to us that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; the “cure” in this case being abortion.

The research found that providing free, reliable birth control to women could prevent between 41 percent and 71 percent of abortions in the United States.

Three-quarters of the women in the study elected to use long-acting contraceptive methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants, which have lower failure rates than birth control pills. In the United States, IUDs and implants have initial costs in excess of $800 that sometimes aren’t covered by health insurance, making these methods unaffordable for many women. We can only guess that the insurers don’t want to fork over more than 800 bucks for each fertile female client when the insureds might be able to provide their own individual-use contraception.


Copper (l) and hormonal intrauterine devices

According to lead author Professor Jeff Peipert, MD, “The impact of providing no-cost birth control was far greater than we expected in terms of unintended pregnancies. …We think improving access to birth control, particularly IUDs and implants, coupled with education on the most effective methods has the potential to significantly decrease the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in this country.”

Health-care professionals insert IUDs and implants, which are effective for five to 10 years, and 3 years, respectively. They provide superior effectiveness over short-term methods. But only a small percentage of U.S. women using contraception choose long-term implanted methods for a variety of reasons, including expense and fear of implanting devices into their bodies. “Unintended pregnancy remains a major health problem in the United States, with higher proportions among teenagers and women with less education and lower economic status,” Peipert says. “The results of this study demonstrate that we can reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy and this is key to reducing abortions in this country.”

As for those who cannot see the forest for the trees, doesn’t it make more sense for state and federal governments to provide contraception, and to require insurance companies to do so for those low-income folks who are lucky enough to have coverage, than for the government to pick up the tab for pre- and post-natal medical care of mother and child?

In addition, we wonder what other burdens—like education, housing, child support services, and healthcare—such families, especially single-parent households, will impose on society. We say that regardless of the immediate financial costs, Enough of Us already inhabit this planet. So let’s cough up the 800 bucks every three or five or 10 years and save ourselves all the other potential costs.








  1. Makes sense. I see a logical disconnect when people are against both contraception and abortion.
    Abortion goes away when there are no unwanted pregnancies.

  2. If they succeed in forcing women to raise unwanted babies they better start building the prisons required to incarcerate the unwanted progeny later in life.

  3. Anonymous Woman says:

    The worst states have the worst crime rates from what I can tell. I live in one of them and they apparently fudge the stats on crime too from all accounts.

    I have to say that I still thing the likes of Santorum want desperate people to take any jobs at low pay or even illegally low pay because they have too many mouths to feed. Also, given that so many of the Roman Catholic priests are pedophiles one has to wonder how many of them (and I include Santorum) want easy-to-grab victims since there is a limit to how many children one woman can keep an eye on (especially if she is working). I think we need to mention more often that the only logical thing seems to be that these anti-birth control & anti-abortion nut jobs want to have easy to grab pedophile victims. As your commenter James said, abortion goes away as a problem if there are no unwanted pregnanices.

  4. I agree with James that opposing abortion and contraception makes no sense at all, and much of this comes from the Catholic (as in the case of Santorum) as well as from evangelistic Christians who oppose abortion and promote abstention as the only form of contraception (Rick Perry formerly of N_____head Ranch).

    However, whatever the efficacy of IUDs, they don’t protect against AIDS, and I believe that is especially important. Condoms do fail and pregnancies result, but AIDS is still a serious risk, especially for young unattached singles.

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