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While Republicans Attack Women’s Rights, Their Policies Actually Lead to More Abortions

birth-controlWomen’s rights have been front page news here lately as states controlled by Republican legislatures all across the country have been moving at a feverish pace to pass new, highly restrictive, attacks on women and their bodies.

A fact you fail to see many Republicans address is that abortion is a Constitutionally upheld right.  Sure, they might disagree with abortion, but that doesn’t change the fact that for 40 years women have had the right to have one.  Yet, despite being given this Constitutional right, Republicans (you know, the part of “Constitutional values”) have continuously done everything they can to deny women their rights.

But even if you want to move past that, the hypocrisy within conservative ideology as it relates to abortions (and sex in general) is astounding.

Ask yourself this question, “What’s the leading contributor to a higher number of performed abortions?”  The answer is pretty simple.  It’s sex between a man and a woman where contraceptives weren’t used, which resulted in an unplanned pregnancy.

Now, I’m not implying that using contraceptives is a foolproof way to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.  But when two individuals decide to use either a condom, a birth control pill — or both — the odds of an unplanned pregnancy are greatly reduced.

This isn’t rocket science, it’s just basic logic.

Now, are conservatives right in their assertion that the best way to prevent an unplanned pregnancy is by waiting till marriage to have sex?  Kind of.  Well — if you believe that all pregnancies that occur while married are planned.

But even if you believe that abortions never occur with married couples (which is false, by the way), the unrealistic idea that people should just “wait till marriage” isn’t a plausible, or sane, policy to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

So what is the sane, and logical, option to help curb the rate at which abortions occur?  Well, rational thought would dictate a couple of things:

  • Proper sex education at a young age to stress the importance of safe sex and to educate young people on the responsibilities and consequences they face if they choose not to have protected sex (unplanned pregnancy is just one of the risks).
  • Access to contraceptives that is affordable to everyone.  I would even argue they should be free at certain clinics for low-income individuals and offered at schools through counseling programs.

Except, Republicans strongly oppose both of these.  In fact, almost every social stance conservatives take on these issues actually increases the likelihood of higher rates of abortions.

While Progressives often support better sex education in our schools, conservatives often strongly oppose these classes.  While Progressives often support affordable, or free, access to contraceptives for Americans, conservatives spout lines like, “I am not paying for someone’s sexual activities!”  While conservatives consider Progressives part of the “party that wants to murder babies,” Progressive policies actually seem constructed to curb the likelihood of an abortion.

Progressives promote policies built to educate young people on the responsibilities that come from being sexually active, and policies that promote access to and use of affordable contraceptives.   These are two fundamental failures in the conservative argument, which together are key to curbing occurrences of unplanned pregnancies — and abortions.  While most Progressives are “pro-choice,” we are realistic about the world around us.  Instead of clinging to some naive ideology about “Well the Bible says…” we ask ourselves, “What can be done to lower abortion rates by acting with reason and logic when it comes to these matters?”

Then as conservatives claim to be “pro-life,” they seem to shape their policies on sex education and contraceptives in a way that would directly lead to more women having abortions.

Because the simple, and indisputable fact is this — the majority of abortions are a result of unplanned pregnancies.  Unplanned pregnancies are more likely to occur when a man and a woman are naive to the consequences of sex, then proceed to have sex without any kind of protection.

Which is the exact situation conservative social policies on sex seem geared to make happen more frequently.

So while Progressives are pro-choice, we do what we can to shape policies which hopefully will curb the number of unplanned pregnancies — which are the leading cause of a woman having an abortion.

Yet, as Progressives seek reasonable stances on sex and contraceptives, conservatives claim to be “pro-life” while supporting policies which are the leading factors that contribute to unplanned pregnancies — which then result in a higher number of abortions.

Because that makes perfect sense for the party that’s “pro-life,” right?

The Republican Party: Doing all we can to restrict abortion rights, while supporting policies that lead to a higher number of unplanned pregnancies — the leading contributor to abortions.

It’s easy to see why conservatives often discourage funding for education.  If their supporters began to actually think for themselves, they’d have no one voting for them.

About Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column. He is also the founder of the Right Off A Cliff facebook page, on which he routinely voices his opinions and stirs the pot for the Progressive movement. Follow Allen on Twitter as well, @Allen_Clifton.

  • Concerend Citizen

    Question- why is it ok to have a “clinic” to preform these abortions where the “doctor” has no hospital privileges and can’t do anything medically to protect his patient? Did he not take the Hippocratic oath? Or is he just doing it for the money? If I had a medical condition, I would want to go to a doctor that is credited and licensed to cure my problem, not a back alley doctor who will be cutting into me with whatever he had. Isn’t this what they are fighting for? To make the abortion clinics safe for the patients?

    • zippytk

      As a business model, a hospital only gives privileges to a physician if they are going to be performing procedures in the hospital on a regular basis. If a doctor only works in an outpatient clinic, why would any hospital grant him/her privileges. They won’t give them just in case one of the doctor’s patient’s needs to come to the hospital. These bills are not designed to make any procedure safer, only to reduce the access.

      • buhhhhhh

        plus hospitals have those “emergency room” things, in case there’s an emergency and someone who’s not already in the hospital needs emergency medical care

    • minime13

      No. You are discrediting every OB-GYN and any other medical staff that works for these clinics to assume that they are “back alley” doctors. Weird, I don’t understand why the “doctor,” by your own terms, must be a “he.”

      All of these doctors are accredited (not credited) and licensed to do exactly what they are doing. You should probably ask the individual clinic what their emergency procedures are. It probably has to do with what any birthing center staffed with midwives does for actual childbirth (weird how they aren’t held to the same standard).

      The clinic has everything needed and required to perform the surgery and it doesn’t have unnecessary, excess equipment to keep the cost for both the abortion procedure and other healthcare they provide down. The safety record for these clinics are typically better than a hospital’s.

      Hospitals can choose not to allow doctors who perform these services admitting privileges, and often do because they don’t want to get caught up in protesting and other anti-abortion activities (you know, people seem to like to bomb those places) that are associated, as they have a hospital to run. Often, hospitals don’t allow admitting privileges for those reasons. The lawmakers know this. They know all this. They know that the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are against this bill. If you don’t know what that is, it’s kind of a big deal. I suggest you google it.

      They are trying to shut down clinics and reduce access to abortions – not to everyone. To the lowest income persons in rural areas.

      When people say it is damaging to women, they say it because it is.

      • Anonymous

        When you say ‘lowest income persons in rural areas’ you mean the Republican demographic, right? That’s generally who votes for Republicans despite party claims to the contrary. :-

      • minime13

        I would say that a lot of those areas are a little more red than blue.

      • skandrews1123

        I live in a low income, rural county in Texas with a large hispanic population and what you say is true – this is overwhelmingly a Republican voting county. It’s pretty mind blowing and goes against much of Repub rhetoric about poor people just wanting more handouts. I attribute it to very low level education rates and lots – lots – of Bible belt evangelical fundamentalism .

  • Eloise

    This seems like such a no-brainer, but I’ve had arguments with conservatives, mostly evangelicals, who do not get the connection at all with not using birth control and the rise of unplanned pregnancies, thus the rise of abortions. In fact, they tell me that contraceptive use actually leads to more abortions because sometimes the contraceptive fails and then there is an unplanned pregnancy, thus the abortion. Really. How convaluted is that?

  • Ekaterina Kaverina

    So? That is what sane people say automatically. You want to reduce abortions, reduce unwanted pregnancies. Treat women with respect, leave them alone, don’t force them to have (unprotected) sex. Grass is green, skies are blue.

  • disambiguation

    The constitutionality of abortions creates a distraction with this argument, I think. On the constitution issue, conservatives disagree that the right to an abortion exists as a constitutional right. And anyone adhering to a strict constructionist mindset would tend to agree with that assessment. That viewpoint doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) deny that the Supreme Court has acted in determining that it is a constitutional right. Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop challenges to that ruling by the Supreme Court as they can (and do) change the meaning of the Constitution regularly.

    With regards to the more potent arguments made above, as you mentioned, the obvious solution is to reduce unwanted pregnancies. I would add that it would also be to provide better support — both educational and economic —for pregnant women. If “life” is a paramount concern, then promote life through child birth and after. Provide support programs for women with newborns. Pass laws improving rights to maternity leave.

    The problem with the conservative viewpoint is not that they view abortion as wrong (there can be legitimate philosophical arguments on this point either way), but that they not only opposing abortion, but also fail to acknowledge the reality that individuals will have sex whether abortion is legal or not. That, as you said, the most effective way to reduce abortions is to reduce unwanted pregnancies. And the most effective way to do that is not ignoring the human drive to procreate and pretending that telling people to just not have sex is going to work. The most effective solution is to acknowledge that people are going to have sex, and that pregnancies can still be reduced even if they are having sex. But so long as the viewpoint is that sex is, in and of itself, an immoral act, there cannot be a solution on these grounds either.