Jan. 22 marked the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. Ever since, the moral status of abortion has been one of the most hotly contested political issues in the ation.
I do think, however, that there is some common ground to be found between pro-life and pro-choice advocates.
Even among those who support abortion, there are those who would agree with me that things would be better if fewer abortions were performed. I will now present a way to achieve that goal.
The most intuitive solution is to provide more readily available contraception.
While I understand that this idea is very attractive and seems to make sense, I have to disagree. The only way that I can see reducing the number of abortions in this country is not to increase, but to decrease, the use of contraceptive products.
I know that in our post-sexual revolution world that is an incredible statement to make, but if we look at the effects of contraception on our culture, my conclusions are not that surprising after all.
In 2000, The British Medical Journal reported that teens who ask for information about contraception actually have more unwanted pregnancies than those who do not.
Likewise, Janet Smith, a professor of bio-ethics, wrote in her book “Why Humanae Vitae Was Right” that over 80 percent of young women who have abortions have used contraceptives.
From this, we can conclude that not only are contraceptives highly ineffective at preventing unwanted pregnancies, but also that they increases the frequency of abortion.
Moreover, the reasons why most women have abortions are nearly identical to the reasons why women use contraceptive products.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute, which is decidedly pro-contraception, reports that three-fourths of women who abort say that they did so because having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities.
I have heard many who support abortion say that they would not support it if it were viewed merely as another contraceptive. But don’t these statistics imply that this is in fact the case most of the time?
Even the U.S. Supreme Court endorses this view. In the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court said “people … for two decades of economic and social developments have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.”
Now that we have seen compelling reasons that suggest a link between the use of contraception and the increase in abortion, we ought to consider why such a link exists.
For one thing, contraception facilitates sex in cases where those involved are not prepared to raise children. If an unwanted pregnancy occurs in such a situation, abortion may be seen as the only way out.
So, increased contraception will not limit abortions, but in reality only increase their frequency by making the situations in which people turn to abortion more common.
Another reason for the link between contraception and abortion is that contraception creates a culture that devalues the dignity of human beings and in fact sees people as problems.
Think about it. If I use contraception to prevent having children, I am at least indirectly saying that babies are burdens, not blessings.
When I start to think this way, it is easy to want to get an abortion if contraceptives fail, since I have trained myself to not want children.
The problem stems from us not acting according to our deepest values. Most of us, I think, would say that people are more important than things, and that if there is a conflict we should put people first. But contraception creates the opposite mentality.
The values of contraception say that things are more important than people. The sad thing is that the values of contraception are for the most part not the values of those who use it.
The contraceptive mentality says that if there is a problem in taking care of a person, eliminate the person, not the problem.
At the heart of the matter is the notion that if it is difficult or even inconvenient to take care of a person than we should prevent that person’s birth. But if for living persons we would try to solve the problem instead of trying to get rid of the person, why not take the same stance towards those who are yet to be conceived?
After all, any one of us might have been denied life because of contraception. I, for one, am very glad my parents made the sacrifice to bring me into the world, and I think we should offer the same opportunity to as many people as we can.
There is a clear link between the use of contraception and the practice of abortion.
Whether we are pro-life or pro-choice, we should agree that one of the best ways of limiting abortions is to explore avenues of limiting unwanted pregnancies other than contraception, such as the intensified promotion of abstinence and chastity.