Abortion “linked” to the availability of contraceptives: a different, informed view

Dear Signal staff,
As a journalism major, I’ve written for the Signal in the past, and would really appreciate the publishing of this article in one of the upcoming editions. I agree with Rachel Lazzaro’s letter in this weeks edition, that we were supposed to be presented with two opinions to make our own decision on the topic of abortion, but only one view was shared. I am aware it was an opinion piece, but presenting one with “statistics” and unprofessional “conclusions”, while not even presenting an opposing view is unfair. Our article is informative and presents a different view than McCaffery’s, which we feel the students deserve to hear and would be good for the paper. Thank you.

Kait Boyle

Kristofer L. Disharoon


All forms of contraception have been proven by science to be between 75 and 99.9 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and the spread of disease. Who would buy them if they were ineffective? The two most commonly used forms of birth control, the male condom and oral contraceptives, are between 86 and 99.9 percent effective. Those are facts, not assumptions based on loosely related studies or biased opinions.

Mike McCaffery claims that not only are contraceptives “highly ineffective” but that making them less available will lead to a decline in abortions. He assumes that the lack of availability will make people stop having sex. (Conversely, even though contraceptives are available, everyone does not choose to have sex.) That’s a big assumption, for when birth control WAS illegal in the past, sex still happened, and even religious, married women suffered through childbirth after childbirth, straining their relationships and economic situations, not to mention their bodies. Eight, nine, ten or more pregnancies wreak havoc on a woman physically. Meanwhile, desperate thousands died each year due to botched abortions performed by unqualified doctors.

McCaffery claims that abortion “devalues the dignity of human beings”-while in fact it gives value to some. Rape is grossly underreported, not even taking into account the vast amount of cases of coercion, spousal rape, and date rape where the victim is not even sure if it was “rape” that occurred. These women did not choose to have sex. However, after the incident, they can choose what happens to their bodies and control their destinies, taking power away from her attacker and back into her own hands.

McCaffery’s article also fails to mention anything about sexually transmitted diseases or AIDS. If there were fewer contraceptives available, not only would unintended pregnancies and abortions happen more often, but the spread of disease would be exponential and devastating, like in underdeveloped countries were contraception is not made available. It is grossly irresponsible of Mr. McCaffery to completely ignore this undeniable benefit of one of the most common forms of birth control, the male condom.

We do not think people who choose abstinence are ignorant, prudish, or even na?ve. In fact, we applaud them for overcoming their sex drives, which come as natural to human beings as hunger or fear. But they are not the majority. You forget that our right to buy birth control and have sex does not threaten YOUR stance on abstinence; it does not force you to engage in sexual activity. But your struggle to force your views upon others in attempt of social change restricts OUR rights as men and women.

Denying contraceptives to sexually active teenagers, young adults, and married couples is completely unjust and regressive. According to Planned Parenthood studies, 85 percent of women who use NO contraceptives become pregnant every year. Contraceptives are made available to most, yet some still choose not to use them at all. Lessening their availability will not stop people from having sex; it will only keep those who already used contraceptives from having sex responsibly.

Publicly funded groups, by making contraceptives more available to people, avoid over a million unintended pregnancies and prevent over 600,000 abortions, while saving the US three dollars for every dollar it spends. Not to mention that in comparison to other industrialized countries where people are more open about sexuality, and where family planning services are readily available to all, the US has a vastly greater amount of teen pregnancies.

More contraceptives are not the only solution, but reliable sex education plays an important role as well. More contraceptives may not be the best solution either, but lessening their availability is clearly a poor decision. Fortunately, this is a solution for abortion we had not heard of until we opened February 2nd’s issue of the Signal. Expecting to hear “two different opinions on [abortion]”, we were dumbfounded when we found two clearly anti-choice articles. How can we “decide for ourselves” when there is only one idea presented to us?!

Our argument is backed by science, trends, history, and common sense. Where is your argument based, Mr. McCaffery? You are not fighting the availability of contraceptives, or even the procedure of abortion. You are using personal and religious opinions to fight sex, rights, and human nature.