birth control

On Thursday the Supreme Court voted to stay a Louisiana law that would have required abortion clinics in the state to have admitting rights at a hospital within 30 miles. Pro-choice advocates argued this would have left the state with one abortion clinic.

The good news may be only temporary for women in the Pelican State. The Court did not knock down the law; it merely gave itself time to consider it. In 2015, they had struck down a similar Texas law, but with the addition of Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, the Court has lurched right. And the fate of a woman’s right to choose in Louisana is on shifting sand.

Should the Court uphold Louisiana’s anti-woman law, the anti-abortion crowd will celebrate. But their joy should be tempered. They will have done little to reduce abortions while they will have put women at risk.

Consider this, the Guttmacher Institute estimates that in 1967, when abortion was mostly banned in the US, around 829,000 women got illegal abortions. Closing down legal abortion providers doesn’t reduce abortions it merely sends desperate women into back streets and basements.

It also disproportionately affects poor women who cannot afford to travel.

It is one more example of the Conservative belief that the solution to problems lies in tackling the supply side of the equation while doing nothing about the demand —  which experience shows is doomed to failure.

Women get abortions to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Any serious attempt to reduce abortions must accept that fact. Better sex-ed, greater availability of contraception at a reasonable cost would prevent pregnancies. Parental leave, accessible day-care, and a higher minimum wage would make more women prepared to bring the fetus to term.

But what conservatives offer is ‘abstinence-only’ sex-ed. A strategy that relies on teens having better impulse control than their own parents and pastors can often manage. Take David Vitter the ex-Senator from Louisiana. His love for commercial sex was so exuberant it was common knowledge to the bayou good old boys.

But this faithlessness to his marital vows didn’t prevent him from directing millions to abstinence programs that assumed hormonal teens would show a maturity he could not muster. To justify this dismal strategy he offered this: “ by teaching teenagers that saving sex until marriage and remaining faithful afterwards is the best choice for health and happiness.”

And this is the sort of hypocrite who thinks he the right to tell women what to do.

Washington didn’t impede this rake’s progress. Vitter continued his caddish ways until the police found his name in the DC madam’s big black book. He did not admit to the obvious but did concede that he had committed “a very serious sin”.

Conservatives aren’t just lying about abstinence-only sex ed. They are also wrong about the nature of abortion. To most people, the image of a woman wanting the procedure is an unwed youth who is pregnant as the result of an ill-considered coupling. In reality, 85% of abortions are by women over 20.

Women do not use abortion as a means of birth control. If that were the case, women would be getting abortions at a far higher rate. Nor is late-term abortion common — 98% of abortion occur before the 21st week

Abortion neither raises the occurrence of depression nor does it increase the incidence of breast cancer. And the argument that preventing abortion is justified by considering a woman’s ‘safety’ is ludicrous. First, because, as said above, women will still seek abortions. Secondly, because giving birth is 10 to 20 times more likely to kill a woman than getting an abortion.

And most surprisingly — and this dispels the notion that explaining ‘life’ to women seeking abortions would change their mind — a majority of women obtaining an abortion (59%) had already had a child.

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