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The Best way to Reduce Abortion

The state of Colorado has been offering free birth control to low-income women for over five years. The results?

Their teen birth rate dropped 40%.

According to the governor, “This initiative has saved Colorado millions of dollars. But more importantly, it has helped thousands of young Colorado women continue their education, pursue their professional goals and postpone pregnancy until they are ready to start a family.”

Even more interesting is that the teen abortion rate dropped 35% in the counties served by the program.

So can somebody explain to me why some groups that are trying to reduce abortion are also against all forms of contraception?



  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    OK, I’m in. It’s worth a try if it helps. Thanks for going the extra mile in finding relevant data to back up your argument.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 5:32 am | Permalink
  2. TJ wrote:

    The relevant data is great, but shouldn’t this be common sense? Increased access to birth control should by definition reduce pregnancy rates which should by definition reduce abortion rates. Why is this something that people need to be convinced of?

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    For me TJ, it’s the 2nd best choice. I believe that in a perfect world the better choice is a bottom up approach where we teach people to make responsible decisions. In this instance, I am willing to go with a top down since it seems that getting people to do what’s in their best interests ie. not being a teen parent, isn’t working so well.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    “where we teach people to make responsible decisions”

    Hormones. How are you going to fight millions of years of evolution designing your body to absolutely crave sex when you reach the age of fertility? As if your survival depended on it. Because (of course) it did.

    Has any society anywhere, even the most sexually repressive or with the most severe punishments, ever succeeded in stopping teenage sex and unwanted pregnancy? Or even slowing them down significantly?

    Having said all that, I’m more than happy for you to teach people to make responsible decisions. I’ll even pay for it through my taxes. Because there are lots more decisions to be made than just whether to have sex.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  5. Michael wrote:

    I don’t have a single negative thing to say about this post, because these are good numbers AND good statistical practices. đŸ˜‰

    “So can somebody explain to me why some groups that are trying to reduce abortion are also against all forms of contraception?” For many people, it is a flawed assumption of causality and poor logic skills: The availability of contraception CAUSES people, especially teens, to have sex. If you deny access to contraception, people will adhere to doctrines like Humanae Vitae and abstain from sex until marriage. Two problems with this: 1) the implication isn’t true, and 2) even if the implication is true, this argument is a classic example of denying the antecedent (A => B. Not A, therefore not B).

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
  6. PatriotSGT wrote:

    “there are lots more decisions to be made than just whether to have sex.”

    Amen to that

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink
  7. Sam Foster wrote:

    Because their primary goal is the subjugation and control of women.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 7:16 pm | Permalink
  8. Dan wrote:

    Sam, you might be interested in this excellent article:
    Why Rush Limbaugh Gets So Mad About Women Having Sex

    (Warning: more data.)

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink
  9. ebdoug wrote:

    Having read many of the Rev Andrew Greeley’s novels, I learned a theme that develops. He is a beloved Catholic priest. In one novel, his hero (about 40) asks his mother about her use of birth control. “We all use birth control. Of course, it is only sensible to the welfare of the family.”
    In another book that has a Dublin setting “And they passed the Family planning clinic.”
    So what they say against using birth control and what they practice are two things.
    That doesn’t mean birth control pills or IUD, it could well be a diaphragm which are very effective.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
  10. Michael wrote:

    When you’re dealing with an organizational the size of the Catholic church, there will always be a mismatch between the official doctrine and the day-to-day practice. The official stance of the Church, as espoused in Humanae Vitae, is a prohibition of ALL artificial forms of birth control, including IUDs and condoms. It’s kind of like the Church’s stance that all gays should practice lifelong abstinence. It may be official doctrine, but it’s not going to happen.

    I do want to point out that I’m not trying to single out the Catholics here. I refer to Humanae Vitae because it is well known by name. I can’t really refer to, say, the 7th Day Adventist’s policy on family planning, because I don’t know what it is. There is an interesting irony in this choice, though: The lay people that I see who are most vocal in opposing access to contraception are primarily fundamentalist protestants, not Catholics. I have no explanation for that…

    Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink
  11. Iron Knee wrote:

    More irony, Michael!

    However, I believe it has something to do with our puritan roots.

    Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink
  12. Dan wrote:

    Michael, I wonder if more Catholics are part of the church for community reasons than protestants for doctrinal reasons? I can only back this up with poor anecdotal evidence: I’ve met plenty of fundamentalist protestants but not a single fundamentalist Catholic in my social circles.

    Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink
  13. Dan wrote:

    What I meant to add is that the fundamentalist protestants were frequently in it for the theology. The Catholics not so much.

    As one Catholic friend put it: you can’t be obsessed with theological details when you’ve outsourced infallibility to the Pope.

    Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink
  14. ThatGuy wrote:

    In the words of Jim Gaffigan on Catholic adherence to strict doctrine: “Don’t eat meat on Fridays… unless you forget… ehh do whatever you want.”

    Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink