I read with interest the article by Nicholas Kristof
urging President Bush to promote sex education and increase access to contraception in an effort to reduce the already high numbers of abortions performed in America.
Mr. Kristof seems to be unaware that contraceptive use is “virtually universal among women of reproductive age” and has been for a very long time (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advance Data No. 350, Dec. 10, 2004: “Use of Contraception and Use of Family Planning Services in the United States: 1982-2002.”)
Contraceptives are available, in many places for free or at low cost, to women who request them. The Alan Guttmacher Institute notes that 89% of sexually active women who are “at risk” of becoming pregnant use contraception and 98% have used it in their lifetime (Abortion in Women’s Lives, available at www.guttmacher.org
You would think that with such a huge number of women using contraception for such a long time that we would have seen a sharp decrease in abortions over the last several decades. But we have not.
Four noted studies indicate that increased access to contraception does not result in a decrease in the numbers of abortions performed, but in fact lead to an increase in the numbers of women who contract a sexually transmitted disease and very well may lead to an increase in the number of unintended pregnancies.
The bottom line is that abstinence is the only thing that can guarantee prevention of an unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.
How many more billions of dollars must be spent and how many years must we wait before we come to realize this essential truth?