by Roger Resler
Continuing with my responses to “10 Arguments in Favor of Pro-Choice Policy” from Amplify Your Voice.com:
9. If people want to stop abortion, they should turn to methods that do work. These include comprehensive sex education and safe, affordable contraceptives. Unfortunately, as illogical as it sounds, the people who are most against abortion are also often most against these preventative measures. If they truly wanted to reduce the number of abortions that occur, they would embrace these methods.
Many pro-life people are against contraceptives for religious reasons. I am not one of them but I respect the rights of those who are. Pro-choice people often preach tolerance. They should practice it when it comes to those who avoid contraceptive use for religious reasons. People who are opposed to contraceptives on religious grounds are usually not the ones having abortions. If they oppose contraceptive use, then they nearly always oppose abortion.
So why do pro-choice people make a big deal about it? It’s part of a tactic to paint pro-lifers as backward, religious hypocrites whose real goal is to control women. But this is ridiculous. Contraceptives are widely available and no one is complaining or trying to ban them. Some churches discourage their use among their membership, but that’s about it.
Ironically, Margaret Sanger, champion of birth-control, darling of many modern feminists and founder of Planned Parenthood, was opposed to abortion. That was not a typo. The founder of Planned Parenthood believed abortion is morally wrong! In typical fashion, she didn’t mince words:
Although abortion may be resorted to in order to save the life of the mother, the practice of it merely for limitation of offspring is dangerous and viscous. I bring up the subject here only because some ill-informed persons have the notion that when we speak of birth control we include abortion as a method. We certainly do not. Abortion destroys the already fertilized ovum or the embryo; contraception, as I have carefully explained, prevents the fertilizing of the ovum by keeping the male cells away. Thus it prevents the beginning of life. – Margaret Sanger, “Birth Control Advances: A Reply to the Pope,” 1931, Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College MSM S71-243.
Today’s Planned Parenthood execs would do well to follow the logic of their founder when it comes to abortion. Sanger lived at a time when contraceptives were illegal. She advocated for the legalization of contraceptives as a means of reducing or even eliminating abortion. It’s ironic that birth control has been legal for many decades and yet we’re still talking about how it is supposedly the magic cure for abortion. Radical idea: maybe the real cure for abortion is abstaining from sex until marriage. Borrowing the stated logic of Amplify Your Voice: if pro-choice folks “truly wanted to reduce the number of abortions that occur,” perhaps they should consider the efficacy of just saying no.
Parents may also oppose sex-education in school because they want to instruct their children on such a personal matter and believe that sex-education in schools sends a message to kids that pre-marital sex is okay, which is often contrary to their religious beliefs, not to mention the related health risks. There is nothing sinister or hypocritical in the desire to educate one’s own children in the matter of sex and in adherence to one’s religious beliefs and health concerns, yet that’s the impression given by the Amplify article.
As far as contraceptives go, I and many other pro-life proponents would say, if it’s impossible for you to abstain from sex outside of marriage (which it isn’t, by the way), then, by all means, use contraceptives. But don’t attempt to use the fact that some religious groups oppose the use of contraceptives among their own membership as an excuse for the fact that you are now pregnant and want an abortion.
Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.