Scott here again...
Well, how about that. It may seem counterintuitive to think that increased access to and education about contraception will prevent unwanted pregnancies and hence lead to fewer abortions--what a crazy idea, tried only by those crazy liberal democracies that don't see the American health care system as the world's best!--but apparently the GOP-led move to irrational sex ed and de-funding the provision of contraception to poor women has had this result:
Poor women in America are increasingly likely to have unwanted pregnancies, whereas relatively affluent women are succeeding more and more in getting pregnant only when they want to, according to a study analyzing federal statistics.
As a result of the growing disparity, women living in poverty are now almost four times more likely to become pregnant unintentionally than women of greater means, the study found.
The abortion rate also rose among poor women while declining among the more affluent.
What a surprise! Which brings us to the choice faced by American pro-lifers: protect fetal life through the largely ineffective and grossly inequitable method of criminalization, or by increasing access to contraception, decreasing child poverty, etc. Given that the pro-choice mix of policies consistently leads to lower abortion rates (even in Canada, where abortion is unregulated and state-funded), there's little question about what works. But give the typical pro-lifer the choice between protecting fetal life and regulating female sexuality, and I think we all know what the answer is:
Leslee Unruh, president and founder of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, a South Dakota-based nonprofit that seeks to educate [sic] about abstinence programs, said the growing number of unintended pregnancies among poorer women shows that traditional sex education programs are failing.
"Programs for poor women are often so condescending, even degrading," she said. "They teach how to put on a condom rather than how to take control of their lives."
Oh, yeah. On the other hand, there's nothing at all degrading about being told that you should not be given the tools to make choices that busybody reactionaries deem inappropriate, and reproductive freedom should be reserved for the affluent. Truly, I must (as centrists are always telling me to do) bow to the formidable moral consistency, sincere concern for the prospects of poor women, and not at-all-illogical policies of the American pro-life movement. The sooner that Democrats sell out to them, the better!
To conclude, there are two kinds of people in the abortion debate: people who think the politics of the forced pregnancy lobby are inextricably intertwined with atavistic conceptions of sex and gender, and people who simply refuse to look at the evidence.
[Cross-posted to L, G & M.]