It’s January 22, and that means it’s Blog for Choice Day. It’s question is: “What is your top pro-choice hope for President Obama and/or the new Congress?” Mine is that the Global Gag Rule be revoked and that real measures to prevent unwanted pregnancies be enacted in the United States and abroad.
Why do I support pro-choicers? Well, I am incapable of ever having to face the decision about whether to have an abortion, and for that reason, I think it’s inappropriate for me to interfere with the decision of those who are.
Another reason is that pro-choicers actually take actions that reduce the abortion rate. Many pro-life organizations are opposed to, or at least ambivalent about, the very things that reduce the abortion rate.
One such thing is contraception. In the United States, 46% of women who have an abortion did not use a birth control method the month they got pregnant.
And yet many pro-life organizations are against birth control. Well, it’s possible that banning birth control may somehow reduce abortion more than making access to contraception easy. Since this hypothesis predicts that restricting access to both contraception and abortion would reduce the abortion rate more than easy access to contraception, and well more than easy access to both, it is readily testable: you find places that do those three things and compare their abortion rate. Such a situation exists in the Americas:
Here in Canada, there are no laws governing abortion. None. In addition, in most provinces, the government pays for them. Indeed, if you wanted the world’s “most pro-abortion country”, Canada would be a clear front-runner. In most of Latin America, access to both contraception and abortion is often limited or restricted to situations. The United States is in the middle, although closer to Canada than Latin America. Hence, if restricting access to both abortion and contraception is the most effective measure at reducing the abortion rate, Latin America ought to have the lowest abortion and Canada the highest, with the United States in the middle.
This is the exact opposite of what is seen. Canada’s abortion rate is lower than the United States’, and the United States’ is lower than Latin America’s. As the hypothesis predicts something, and its prediction has not come true, it is falsified. Hence, the policies that pro-life organizations advocate do not reduce the abortion rate. And by advocating contraceptive use, pro-choice organizations do more to reduce the abortion rate than pro-lifers.
That’s one of the reasons why I support pro-choicers. And that’s why you should too.
Coming January 28, Blog for Choice Day 2009 #2.