It's time for the pro-life movement to address contraception

A message from the No Room for Contraception Campaign

As the 34th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade approaches, the No Room for Contraception campaign reminds pro-life advocates that contraception fuels the demand for abortion. This fact is detailed in the article The role of contraception in increasing abortion . (Though this article covers the 1960s through the 1970s, we are working on an article which covers the period from 1980 - 2003)

Though abortion advocates claim that contraception is responsible for the declining abortion and pregnancy rates, several studies show that abstinence is the primary reason. Even so, I suspect these studies are incomplete - there has been a slight cultural shift on abortion, something the studies do not seriously take into consideration.

It is my belief that the primary reason for the abortion decline is not due to "improved" contraception but instead due to increased abstinence and the hard work of the pro-life movement. The nation's hearts and minds have been [slowly] changing, and as a result abortion has become less and less of an option for those involved in an unexpected pregnancy.

Despite the reductions, abortion still remains a backup for failed contraception. Abortion is far from being rare and contraception still drives the demand for it. In fact, I should say that the contraceptive mentality, and not just contraception, drives the demand since many people don't even bother to use any contraception at all. When these same people are faced with an unexpected pregnancy, they often fall back on abortion as a way of controlling birth.

The answer to unexpected pregnancy and abortion is not more contraception, "comprehensive" sexuality education, or easier access. That formula has failed for decades, and has resulted in driving up pregnancy and abortion rates.

Silence or timidity on contraception is not the answer either. In an effort to appeal to the broadest range of people (and donors), some organizations refuse to address contraception. In the long run this only serves to preserve the culture of death by providing a supply of unborn children whose very creation stems from the contraceptive mentality and/or contraceptive failure. (Though there have been some lone voices in the desert, the movement as a whole has not addressed the issue.)

Part of the failure to address contraception stems from the “put out the fire” mentality – unborn children scheduled to die today won’t benefit from anything else but direct intervention. There is a point to this mentality – firefighters don’t sit around talking about how to prevent fires while watching a house burn, instead they put out the fire. But where this mentality falls short is that firefighters do give fire prevention classes when they aren’t fighting fires. The movement can do both, albeit with greater emphasis on the more urgent problem of abortion.

If the pro-life movement doesn't want to keep fighting the abortion battle in the trenches, and losing countless lives despite their best efforts, then it has to address the contraceptive mentality that has captured the hearts and minds of our nation. Until it does, the movement will always be fighting fires while never addressing the reason why these fires started in the first place.

If I still haven't made a convincing argument that contraception needs to be addressed by the pro-life movement, consider the defeat of several pro-life state initiatives in 2006. Opposition to these initiatives was headed by groups that receive Title X federal contraception funding, such as Planned Parenthood. While this funding may not have been used directly in their efforts to defeat these initiatives, it nevertheless freed up these organization's resources to do so.

As long as the pro-life movement fails to confront the issue of contraception, it will ensure a steady supply of federal funding to the very groups that work to defeat its legislative efforts.

It's time for a shift in strategy, and it's time to address the harms of contraception. Will this be addressed this upcoming weekend at the many conferences taking place prior to the March for Life? Sadly, the answer appears to be “no”…

In closing, abortion isn't the only harm posed by contraception, and we will continue to address these dangers throughout 2007.




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