As has been pointed out repeatedly — and now gets space in my hometown paper — pro-choicers win when it comes to no-brainer issues like contraception and reducing unintended pregnancies.
It’s the family-planning movement that reduced poverty by half in America and opened the doors to college, careers and the work force to women. And birth control allowed men and women to marry when they wanted to, not when they had to, [pro-choice author Cristina] Page says.
It’s the so-called pro-life movement that opposes things like family medical leave, day-care subsidies and insurance coverage for family planning that allow people to have the families they desire. And it’s the movement’s opposition to emergency contraception that increases the number of the very-late-term abortions it rails against by setting up an obstacle course of restrictions and outright assaults on birth control.
And while the pro-choice movement is working to reduce abortions, what are those “pro-lifers” doing?
“Not one pro-life organization in the U.S. supports contraception to reduce abortion,” Page told me. “It’s the pro-choice movement that’s actually working to reduce abortion.”
There can be no common ground, the No Room folks objected, insisting that no “artificial contraception” of any kind can be effective in preventing abortion.
And, just recently when Page was debating Jim Sedlak of the American Life League, she asked him about the sweeping South Dakota abortion ban. His response? It isn’t a perfect law. If it were a perfect law, it would ban contraception, too, he said.
In case you had any doubts that this was maybe about the babies and not, in fact, about controlling women and their reproductive rights, I hope they have been cleared up. But if you need something else:
Also, Page suggests we ask ourselves why one of the biggest supposedly pro-family groups in the country, Concerned Women for America, doesn’t offer maternity leave to its employees. If having and cherishing babies is its foremost agenda, why wouldn’t that group?
Ha. Well then. So much for all that rhetoric about “valuing women” and encouraging them to be with their children. Perhaps it’s because women shouldn’t be working in the first place?
And family planning has been good for everyone — men, women and children.
Back in the ’50s, before the pill and easy, certain family planning, one in four families lived in poverty. Today, with smaller families and more income for women, it’s one in eight. And the rate of teen motherhood in the ’50s was twice what it is today.
Bolstered by family planning, women’s incomes have proven to be the greatest solution to poverty since the New Deal, Page says, not to mention their contribution to family stability. Because of it, men have more flexibility in their jobs and choices. Nearly 85 percent report spending more time with their kids. And half as many couples in the Cleaver era reported themselves as happily married compared with those responding to surveys today.
So much for that golden age of family.
Supporting choice is obviously a winning solution, for all involved. And I’m glad to see family planning at the forefront of the movement — or at least, getting more attention than it has in the past. Pro-choice groups have always pushed contraception and family planning first and foremost (think the name “Planned Parenthood”), but anti-abortion forces have put us so much on the defensive that abortion receives most of the public focus, even though it only accounts for a small part of what these groups do.
But South Dakota has given anti-choice groups confidence, and they’re becoming more public with their opposition to contraception (and non-procreative sex in general). And that is undoubtedly a good thing for all pro-choicers.
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