October 21st, 2007

science wins

want to reduce abortions?

Family planning reduces abortion rates.

It's been all over the news for days. Societies which do not allow legal abortions nonetheless have exactly the same rates of abortion as those societies which do allow legal abortion. Making abortion legal does not increase the number of abortions. Making abortion illegal will not reduce it... it will only kill more women who are forced to do it less safely.

Those of us in the reality-based community are also very well aware of the corollary. If a society wishes to reduce rates of abortion, family planning--i.e. birth control--is necessary. Birth control is the only thing that will effect the rates of unwanted pregnancies, and are thus capable of reducing the numbers of pregnancies likely to considered for termination. Thus, the natural conclusion is that if you are pro-life and rational, you should prefer pregnancy prevention to pregnancy termination, and should be supporting the widespread use of birth control especially by those you would most like to see not get pregnant (i.e. teenagers!).

This seems strikingly obvious to those of us that care about what actually happens in the real world. Better pregnancy prevention = fewer abortions. No woman lightly chooses abortion, but there will always be occasions when a woman simply can't handle another child. And so which of the three options do you prefer: infanticide? abortion? birth control?

Religion willfully chooses not to live in the real world. We'd all love to live in some kind of perfect world where every pregnancy was wanted and people took perfect responsibility for themselves and never made mistakes.... the difference is that I recognize that that is a fantasy. It's nice to strive for, but it will never be perfectly achieved and accomodations must be made for it. Religious people, on the other hand, believe that it can be achieved through authoritarian means. Even if the world won't conform to their idea of perfection, the people can be made to act as though it's true by means of threatening them... first with eternal damnation, and if that doesn't work, by establishing their religious principles into law and closing their eyes to the truth.

Folks, if you really want to come as close to possible to eliminate abortions, you will advocate the proper use of existing birth control methods before kids become sexually active. And you will poor money into researching better and safer methods of achieving pregnancy prevention. This is the only way to achieve the goal of abortions being rare. Going about it your way will turn us into a third world country where women die every day from botched abortions because they want to take back control of their lives. Continuing in the vein you have only reveals the truth of your motives... that women should be under your control and not free and responsible individuals.

Stop pretending the problem is about life. It's not about life at all. (Dare I say death penalty?) It's about control. And I, for one, will never be controlled.