The number and rate of abortions dropped 13% during the first three years of President Barack Obama’s term, concludes a new report from the Guttmacher Institute. Noting that abortion access was not significantly reduced over that span, and that states with liberal abortion laws had similar rates of decline as those with more restrictive laws, the authors suggest “it is possible that fewer women experienced unintended pregnancies in 2011 than in 2008, and one factor could be the uptake of more effective contraceptive methods.”
Previously, the heyday of abstinence education during the Bush presidency did nothing to cut down on unwanted pregnancies — the rate stayed flat between 2005 and 2008. The obvious conclusion to draw from the latest numbers, whether you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life, is we should be doing all we can to increase the use of effective contraception and further drive down the number of unintended pregnancies and, in turn, abortions.
Conservatives need not resist the simple math, despite the bizarre anti-contraception push we’ve seen from the leading Republicans since Obamacare mandated insurers cover birth control. They betray no principle regarding when life begins by accepting contraception as the best tool to reduce abortions.
But if they don’t want to listen to a liberal like me, they could listen to one of our most celebrated anti-abortion activists … Kirk Cameron.
Back in 1989, Cameron starred in the “Bring It On” of the Reagan-Bush Era, “Listen To Me,” playing hayseed college debate prodigy Tucker Muldowney. Squaring off against Harvard in the National Debate Championships, Cameron’s Muldowney wins the day — and the love of Jami Gertz — when he successfully persuades the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
How does he do it?
By promoting a national education campaign to promote contraception.
Unlike today’s Republicans, Cameron’s Muldowney realizes he can’t win the argument without having a “plan” to prevent a flood of unwanted pregnancies. And so he thunders in his close (at the 01:33:00 mark in the video above): “I’m not saying abortion is wrong, but not training the young to approach sex and contraception as everybody’s sacred responsibility is wrong. Making one gender pay the price for our sins is wrong.”
Before Cameron was trying to disprove evolution with a banana, he was speaking common sense. More contraception = fewer abortions. He didn’t need some fancy think tank report to figure out.
25 years later, Republicans need more help. But now they have it. They could save themselves a lot of political grief, and achieve their own policy goals, if they read the Guttmacher report, and follow the logic.