Surprise! Contraception reduces abortion rates

Much is being made of a recently completed study by Washington University in St. Louis that showed use of contraceptives reduces abortion rates. Well, duh. All those teenagers who didn’t get pregnant subsequently didn’t need abortions. Nor did they need to wreck their lives bringing unwanted children into the world, and there might have been an instance or two wherein some young person avoided contracting HIV, though these issues were not studied in the study.

Could someone point this out to all those folks who want to ban contraceptives? You know, inhabitants of that parallel universe wherein no one ever has sex except to procreate?

The two-year Contraceptive Choice Project enlisted more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor and/or uninsured, and offered them a range of free contraceptives. The results? As reported in the New York Times, there were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study, compared with the national average of 34 births per 1,000. There were 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study, compared with 13.4 to 17 per 1,000 women in the St. Louis area. The national rate is close to 20 per 1,000 women.

There seems to be a triple-disconnect loose in the land: Sex happens, even when the participants aren’t thinking about making babies. Unwanted pregnancies happen, especially when people can’t get contraceptives. Abortion happens when women — and teenage girls — get caught in human biology.

Why would it not make sense to quit shouting obscenities, making judgments and trying to force one group’s belief on everyone, and focus instead on these realities? Who knows, fewer tragedies of messed up lives and unwanted children could result.