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Abortion and the Pill: The Numbers
National Review ^ | 05/04/2013 | Robert VerBruggen

Posted on 05/05/2013 6:33:03 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Jillian Melchior makes the case for selling the pill over the counter. I couldn’t agree more; women should not need a doctor’s permission to take a birth-control pill (or just about any other pill, for that matter). But regarding the argument that this measure will reduce abortion, I was compelled to check the data.

As I argued two years ago, abortions by and large aren’t the result of poor access to birth control. Instead, most abortions happen because people intentionally engage in high-risk sexual activity and use abortion as a backup. But this is a country with a million abortions a year, so even a small change can save a lot of lives. We need to bear all of this in mind when trying to reduce abortion in the context of Roe v. Wade.

This survey of women having abortions — conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank strongly supportive of abortion rights — is highly instructive.

Forty-six percent of respondents didn’t use any form of contraception at all in the month they became pregnant. Perhaps they didn’t use the pill because it would have required an expensive visit to the doctor — but if that’s the problem, it’s awfully difficult to explain why they didn’t use condoms either. The potential improvement here is in situations where people (A) would rather have unprotected sex than use a condom; (B) would rather have unprotected sex than take a pill every day if that pill requires a doctor’s visit; and yet (C) would rather take a pill every day than have unprotected sex if that pill is sold over the counter. I won’t guess how often these three categories overlap, but I doubt it’s a high number.

The other 54 percent of respondents used birth control of some kind — 14 percent of respondents used the pill, 28 percent condoms — but most did not use it well. Only 13 percent of pill users and 14 percent of condom users said they got pregnant despite “perfect” use.

Only 10 percent of pill users reported that their supply ran out, a situation that might be remedied by over-the-counter sales. (If this category disappeared entirely, it would eliminate only 1.4 percent of all abortions. Still, that’s more than 10,000 lives a year in the U.S.) The others forgot to take their pills on time, didn’t bring their pills when they left the house, and so on.

In my view the most promising data are from the condom users. About half said they didn’t always bother with the condom, and 42 percent (the categories overlap) reported slippage or breakage. Perhaps some of these women would use the pill in addition to condoms if the pill were available without a prescription. Then again, the morning-after pill — which has been available without a prescription since 2006, will now be available off pharmacy shelves for women 15 and up, and doesn’t require daily responsibility — might be a simpler solution for occasional lapses. (The Guttmacher data were collected in 2000 and 2001.)

In short: Expanding access to the pill is a worthwhile endeavor from a pro-life perspective, but we shouldn’t expect too much.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abortion; pill; premaritalsex

1 posted on 05/05/2013 6:33:03 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I agree that the regular old birth control pill should be sold over the counter.


2 posted on 05/05/2013 6:35:39 AM PDT by annelizly
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To: annelizly

I haven’t been able to access the web like I used to. But when I do the news is so bad that I can’t stay on it for very long anyways.
The left is pumping out discusting news faster than ever before.
The point may be is that they are trying to keep me off


3 posted on 05/05/2013 6:43:44 AM PDT by reefdiver (Be the Best you can be Whatever you Dream to be)
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To: annelizly

Anyone unable to support raising children without tax dollars should be required to use some means of birth control.


4 posted on 05/05/2013 6:48:05 AM PDT by soycd
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To: SeekAndFind; Mrs. Don-o
I was compelled to check the data.

If only more people would. We want people to check the data - and USE the data! - regarding guns and crime, or regarding minimum wage and unemployment.

Policy-making should also be guided by the data regarding contraceptives, abortion, and disease.

5 posted on 05/05/2013 7:00:25 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Sarah is right.)
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To: soycd

Including abortion? Your policy sounds like China. It also begs the question: Is population reduction good for a country? Europe is presently conducting this test. The native are willing to contracept but the Muslims invaders, not so much. What happens if the tipping point occurs and those who acceptt traditional western values are overpowered by those who do not?


6 posted on 05/05/2013 7:40:18 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: Tax-chick
Ideologues want to shape the data to fit their presuppositions. When Galileo disproved Aristotle’s contention that a large rock falls faster than a small one, he found himself on a road many people did not want to follow. To change a paradigm, there must be many funerals, including those of a succession of men willing to risk all to change it..
7 posted on 05/05/2013 7:47:23 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: SeekAndFind

The ironic thing is that the pill is an abortifacient. The pill does not stop conception, it stops the created life from attaching to the uterus and developing. Not to mention that only 1 of the ingredients in the pill is non-carcinogenic to women.

Truths the medical system assumes we’re not interested in.


8 posted on 05/05/2013 8:41:21 AM PDT by Momtothe8th
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To: RobbyS

Interesting thoughts! I think there is a clash of paradigms of which a significant segment of the population is simply unaware.

When one clashes with the Islamic paradigm, that gets a little hard to ignore. BOOM. This does not necessarily result in what I consider a wise or productive response. However, others have different preferred outcomes ...


9 posted on 05/05/2013 9:00:19 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Sarah is right.)
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To: RobbyS

If the population of a country is not working to raise their family and instead is taking money from those who do work, then that country will fail. When you allow the sloth to reproduce on your dime, bad things happen. Also, I don’t consider abortion to be birth control.


10 posted on 05/05/2013 9:26:13 AM PDT by soycd
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To: Momtothe8th; SeekAndFind
Mom8th, you are right that even the ordinary Pill (OC) can function as an abortifacient, but jut to fend off possible objections I want to point out that it can also function as a temporary sterilizant (blocks ovulation) and/or a barrier producer (changes female cervical fluids so they do not support sperm motility.) No particular woman, at any particular point in her cycle, can know whether this time it acted as a spermicide/barrier, an anti-ovulatory, or an abortifacient.

Plus, you sometimes get the (cough) "bonus" that it'll give the female thrombosis and she'll die of a stroke --- one less breeder.

Margaret Sanger, crisp around the edges in her eternal digs, is pumping the flaming air and saying "It's all good. Inshallah!"

11 posted on 05/05/2013 10:12:11 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Oh, the womanity.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

True. As someone who believes that Yahweh is the creator of life, however, I couldn’t live with “what I don’t know doesn’t hurt me/anyone else/the Creator of Life”. I grieve for younger, dumber days...when I may have very well ended God given life by being a “responsible” young adult. Aye aye aye!!


12 posted on 05/05/2013 11:17:23 AM PDT by Momtothe8th
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To: Momtothe8th

I’m with you 100%.


13 posted on 05/05/2013 11:26:05 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Takes one to know one, and vice versa.)
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To: soycd

Sloth might include the unwillingness of natives to produce heirs. Abortion is the backup to failed/no contraception, if it takes the form of morning after pills. People get to think that an early on abortfacient is sort of like an aspirin after a night getting smashed. Well brought up young lady wakes up next to a guy she does not know. Despite her headache remembers she has failed to take birth control pills, so pop in a pill; also pop in pill for headache. Too bad they don’t have a pill to make the passed out guy in the bed go away.


14 posted on 05/05/2013 1:27:52 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS; soycd; Mrs. Don-o

“Sloth” also includes to unwillingness to address larger societal problems other than by throwing money at people who are annoying.

We could have a functioning education system, for example, but a significant number of people in power don’t want us to, and the vast majority don’t care ... so we throw money into a failing system and produce ever more illiterate and unskilled people.

We could have many more jobs available, at wage rates that reflect productive value, but ideologues and unions don’t want us to, and a lot of people just don’t care ... so we throw money at the unemployed, the unemployable, and the deliberately idle.

We could recognize, as a society, the social pathologies and attendant costs produced by people reared without fathers in communities without functioning authority ... but that would go against some people’s deeply-held ideology, and the majority just don’t care ... so we throw money at the children of the never-married and their mothers, and pretend it “fixes” something.

No matter how one “feels” intuitively about contraception, the point of this article is that the outcome of accepting and promoting contraception is more births to never-married mothers AND more abortions AND an ever-larger share of the population comprised of those who are immigrants, government-dependent, or both. Oh, and Moslems.

One can wish this were not true, just as one can wish that gun control reduced crime or that raising the minimum wage made the entire wage-labor population better off, but the facts are the facts.


15 posted on 05/05/2013 2:15:52 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Sarah is right.)
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To: Tax-chick

But you are pushing contraception as a social solution. This policy led very quickly to the judicial coup known as Roe v.Wade, which created the most liberal abortion law in the world outside the Communists states, although this fact was masked by the Blackmun’s sophistry about the trimester scheme.


16 posted on 05/05/2013 7:28:07 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS
you are pushing contraception as a social solution

I must have been completely garbled (not unusual) for you to reach that conclusion.

What I intended to say is that contraception does not aid with the problems we are told it will solve, including abortion, but is actually a contributing factor to abortion, disease, and family breakdown.

Part of my problem with clarity is that I hadn't read to the end of the article. I thought the author had made a more sensible argument than he actually did.

17 posted on 05/06/2013 4:20:19 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Sarah is right.)
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To: Tax-chick

I didn’t think you were garbled. :o) And you certainly made a heapin’ helpin’ more sense than the author of this article!


18 posted on 05/06/2013 5:05:30 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Takes one to know one, and vice versa.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o; RobbyS

I think this is one of those situations where “At the time, it seemed as if I was making sense.”

Going back to RobbyS’s point about paradigms, I think that one of the points of confusion for commentators in general is that we assume everyone desires the same outcome: people living in stable families, getting a reasonable education, avoiding vice and disease and crime, getting jobs, contributing to the community, etc.

However, this is exactly the situation against which the 60s-people now ruling us rebelled. If we assume they want to maximize employment and constructive living, while minimizing crime and social chaos, we’re probably wrong.


19 posted on 05/06/2013 5:23:38 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Sarah is right.)
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To: Tax-chick

They want to maximize their enjoyment of their lifestyle and avoid all consequence for their actions, I think. In this they seem to be succeeding. Now if the boomers can just slip out of this world before the follow-on generations start chopping off their heads or giving them the needle before they are ready....


20 posted on 05/06/2013 6:41:47 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS

The next 25 years are going to be interesting.


21 posted on 05/06/2013 8:23:48 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Sarah is right.)
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