Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Fewer Women Using Birth Control

They're sneakin' round the back door, the pro-lifers are. At least, that's how I'm reading this. Seems that according to surveys, about 92.6% of women who are not sterilized, pregnant or trying to conceive do use birth control, but that the number of women involved here is so large, that this increase of just 2.2 percent of women over two years is enormous. Big.
...analysts called the spike a troubling development that translates into at least 4.6 million sexually active women at risk of conceiving a child they had not planned on.
Trussell has determined that half of all unintended pregnancies occur among the more than 95 percent of women who used some type of contraception, probably because the method failed or was used improperly. That means the other half of unintended pregnancies came from the sliver of the population not using birth control.
Half. And why would women of child-bearing age be taking this kind of risk? The article mentions that yes, unplanned pregnancy can be a happy surprise, but more often than not, unplanned pregnancy happens to women who are not psychologically or financially prepared to have a child. So back to the question - why?
Many physicians put partial blame on federally funded abstinence-only education programs that by law prohibit discussion of contraceptives, except to detail their failure rates.

"We are spending an enormous amount of money on something that hasn't been shown to work," Trussell said. "It's a giant step backwards."
The article also mentions that funding that had previously been used for birth control is now more widely spread out to include other things, such as testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Planned Parenthood reports that if you do the math and adjust for inflation, their 2003 budget for Title X Family Planning was 57% of what it was in 1980.

Another quote that I find ever so helpful:
"Pregnancy is not a disease. . . . The women making these choices are making a conscious choice. They are not stupid," said Leslee J. Unruh, president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse. "Women don't want to use birth control because of the side effects. And a lot of men refuse to use a condom."
"...a lot of men refuse to use a condom." I'm sorry, is there an actual reason there? And women don't want to use birth control because of the side effects? Are these women thinking that the side effect of having to feed, clothe and house a human being for a large number of years is a better choice?

So what do we have?
  • Less education about birth control methods
  • Less government funding for family planning
  • A government that talks about "family values" all the time
I've done my own math.

I think that people should have children when they both want them and are prepared to care for them. And if you have children, you should be prepared to understand that creating a human life is possibly the most important thing that anyone can ever do. Having a baby as a "side effect" demonstrates irresponsibility and a refusal to see reality. Children are too precious for that.

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