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Still Debunking the Right’s Contraception Misinformation

February 23, 2012, 4:06 pm | Posted by Kristin Ford

birth control pillsIrin Carmon has a great piece at Salon this week debunking the conservative myth (most recently perpetuated by Ross Douthat) that contraception access isn’t linked to lower abortion rates.  As Carmon points out,

…Even if you believe women have no right to terminate pregnancies in any circumstance, it requires serious, willful ignorance to argue that contraceptive access has nothing to with lowering the U.S.’ unusually high number of unwanted pregnancies, which is what we should really be talking about here.

Nick dealt with this same bogus argument when he interviewed Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List last year. Playing loose with the concept of causation, anti-birth control advocates attempt to explain that since contraceptive use and availability have increased in the same period abortion rates have, contraception has clearly “failed” to reduce abortions.

Carmon takes a detailed look at actual scientific studies that prove Douthat and Dannefelser wrong. She also points out that the U.S. has the highest rates of unintended pregnancy in the developed world, and that increasing access to contraception and accurate sex education can make significant strides in helping support women and families:

Spacing out and planning pregnancies (or avoiding them altogether) improves the overall health of women and babies; the federal Institute of Medicine’s own research has indicated that unintended pregnancy is linked “to a wide array of health, social and economic consequences, from delayed prenatal care and poor birth outcomes to maternal depression and family violence to a failure to achieve educational and career goals.” The new contraceptive coverage guidelines could be the single most significant pro-active policy tool to combat those consequences…

Unfortunately, too many on the Religious Right would rather use this issue as a culture-war cudgel than acknowledge the positive impact contraception has on the lives of individual women and families and our society.

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