Thursday, June 09, 2011

Towards making abortion rare

Childbirth kills women. Pregnancy kills women. Illegal abortion kills women. Therefore, safe, sterile, legal abortion saves lives and contraception saves even more lives. From the Guttmacher Institute, and old piece on "Toward making abortion rare" by Susan A. Cohen.
Safe, legal and rare. President Clinton first used this phrase, as early as 1992, to capture the essence of a desired national policy on abortion. For the most part, even the most ardent abortion rights supporters have come to embrace this notion and to accept the validity of its two-fold underlying premise: Abortion in the United States must remain legal in order to be safe, and at the same time, even with abortion services legal and accessible to women who need them, abortion can be rare—or at least far less common than it is now.
Most on the prochoice side would agree that lessening the need for abortion is a worthy goal, one both that reflects the fact that most American women try to control their fertility by using birth control rather than abortion and that recognizes the reality that even many of those who support legal abortion also have moral qualms about it. The evidence is strong that abortion’s legal status, however closely related to the conditions under which it is performed, is not the central determinant of its prevalence (related articles, March 2003, page 8, and May 2003, page 3). Prochoice advocates, therefore, assert that the route to rare depends primarily on a societal commitment to helping women be more successful at preventing unintended pregnancy. And this is impossible, they say, without a central emphasis on increasing and improving the use of contraception. (Read more)

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