New Evidence Shows Preventative Care REDUCES Abortion RatePosted: February 3, 2014
Evidence from around the world continues to roll in – comprehensive sex education and access to contraception can drastically reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy and abortion.
The town of Swindon, England, now serves as a shining example of the positive effects of a comprehensive prevention program. In the last 10 years, the town has seen a 42% drop in the rate of teen pregnancy. This remarkable decline reflects a comprehensive, community-wide program to educate teens and provide proper contraception, which includes comprehensive sex education in schools, weekly health clinics for teens, and increased access to effective long-term contraception methods. We all can, and should, take a page from Swindon’s book and realize that preventing unintended pregnancy requires a comprehensive approach in every community. If towns and cities across the nation committed to educating individuals and increasing access to preventative services, the results could be truly remarkable. In California, for instance, expanded sex education has contributed to a 60% drop in teen pregnancy over 20 years – but we can still do more to empower individuals.
In the U.S., the effects of family planning are proving very real. An expansive new study by the Guttmacher Institute reveals that the rate of abortion is at its lowest in 30 years. The decrease in abortion, which mirrors a decrease in pregnancy overall, likely finds roots in the growing use of effective contraception. Birth control has long proven one of the most effective methods of reducing abortion and allowing families to make smart decisions, and the recent findings only further this conclusion. Advances in reproductive technology are also proving critical, with a growing number of women turning to highly effective long-acting contraceptives such as IUDs or implants.
The one factor that is not showing a positive reduction in the rate of abortion is restrictive anti-choice legislation. In the past few years, we’ve witnessed an onslaught of medically unnecessary restrictions on access to preventive reproductive healthcare (over 320 bills proposed in 2013 alone). Proponents of such anti-choice legislation claim they are trying to eradicate abortion nationwide, but in fact, this study shows both unintended pregnancy and abortion rates were already on the decline prior to the recent attacks. Yet on both the state and federal level, anti-choice activists continue to force extremist legislation on citizens. Many of these new restrictions only serve to harm women and increase the incidence of late-term abortion. Women that were seeking abortion in recent years had been doing so in smaller numbers and in earlier, safer stages of pregnancy, but the new attacks on choice will likely have an adverse effect on that trend. Sadly, extremists continue to attack individual rights while largely ignoring the real causes of unintended pregnancy and abortion.
The bottom line? Comprehensive education and access to contraception reduces the rate of unintended pregnancy and benefits everyone in the long run. Instead of fixating on new restrictions brought by anti-choice extremists, we should all agree on the positive steps we can take to reduce the need for abortion. Education and preventative resources are essential for the well being of Americans and the nation as a whole, and we must work together to promote these positive steps.