Take Note, Religious Right: Access to Birth Control Slashes Teen Pregnancy and Abortion Rates July 6, 2015

Take Note, Religious Right: Access to Birth Control Slashes Teen Pregnancy and Abortion Rates

For as long as contraception has been a thing, the Religious Right has tried to vilify it.

First, they said it was an affront to God’s Plans. When they realized that argument wasn’t working, they shifted to saying it would increase promiscuity. When that was shown to be incorrect, they pivoted to insisting on abstinence-only sex education (for the sake of the kids). Those programs have since been proven ineffective, but proponents continue to proclaim the curriculum necessary.

Well, hate to be the bearer of bad news, you crazy fundamentalists, but you are once again wrong. (Did I say hate? Just kidding. I meant love.)

It turns out that providing access to free birth control significantly lowers teen pregnancy and abortion rates:

Over the past six years, Colorado has conducted one of the largest ever real-life experiments with long-acting birth control. If teenagers and poor women were offered free intrauterine devices and implants that prevent pregnancy for years, state officials asked, would those women choose them?

They did in a big way, and the results were startling. The birthrate for teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There was a similar decline in births for another group particularly vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies: unmarried women under 25 who have not finished high school.

“Our demographer came into my office with a chart and said, ‘Greta, look at this, we’ve never seen this before,’ ” said Greta Klingler, the family planning supervisor for the public health department. “The numbers were plummeting.”

Would you look at that? When you trust women to make their own decisions about what happens to their body and when, the very things the Religious Right claims to want to prevent actually decrease in frequency. What a revelation!

I wouldn’t hold your breath, though, waiting for an apology.

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