Report confirms abstinence-only & anti-Planned-Parenthood arguments are illogical

This review from the Guttmacher Institute about unintended pregnancy rates in the U.S. has some really interesting, telling statistics. Not only is there basic info about unintended pregnancy rates per capita, but it also includes numbers — by state — on percentages of total pregnancies that are unintended, how much it costs the state, how many were publicly funded, and how much the rate would increase in the absence of clinic services, a la family-planning clinics like Planned Parenthood.

These statistics tell important narratives in the face of attacks on reproductive rights and comprehensive sex education. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican presidential candidate, recently was asked by a reporter why he advocated abstinence-only education when it obviously isn’t working, as Texas has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. Perry’s response was basically, “Nuh-uh!” But taking a look at these statistics, it’s very clear that Texas has a problem with unintended pregnancies generally.

Texas has the second-highest number of unintended pregnancies in the country, which is no surprise given its large population. Per capita, its rate is 11th highest, overshadowed by states like Mississippi, California, Delaware, Nevada, and also the District of Columbia. Texas, however, is the second-highest spender on public funds when it comes to births from unintended pregnancies. It’s obvious that abstinence-only education is not only inefficient, but that the unintended pregnancies resulting from lack of education about or access to contraception really takes a toll on the budget.

The report says that women who use contraception consistently account for 5 percent of unintended pregnancies. So if 95 percent of unintended pregnancies are from women not using contraception consistently or at all, doesn’t it make sense to focus on education and access to contraception? Yep. Wouldn’t it be more fiscally conservative to educate people about contraception so that they can better prevent these unintended pregnancies, thereby also saving the government money? Yep.

That’s where these ideas of being fiscally conservative smash into moral ideology — which is more important, legislating your personal religious beliefs or adopting a curriculum that best guarantees lowering these rates and consequently the funds spent on them? I’d say the latter.

Another statistic that really struck me was how much the number of unintended pregnancies would increase without family-planning clinics. States where legislators have succeeded in denying state funding for Planned Parenthood — Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin — could see their rates of unintended pregnancy increase by 50, 38, 34, 32, and 55 percent, respectively. And these attempts to defund are attempts to shut down these clinics because 3 percent of what they do is abortions. Can you really look at these numbers, see how dramatically rates of unintended pregnancy would increase without these clinics, and tell me that closing them is a great idea?

The Guttmacher report is only five pages long, and it’s definitely worth reading even if just for the charts and graphs. If you think there are a lot of unintended pregnancies now, just think how that number will skyrocket without clinics like Planned Parenthood. Vermont’s rate would jump 116 percent. Alaska’s would swell by 96 percent. If legislators want to “make a point” by defunding family-planning clinics, these numbers show they’ll definitely make a point — that they are incompetent.

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One Response to “Report confirms abstinence-only & anti-Planned-Parenthood arguments are illogical”

  1. Odd Omission Says:

    I’m all for planned parenthood. People need to stop breeding like rabbits these days and realize that there isn’t an infinite amount of resources available in the world. The last couple paragraphs really scared me, Vermont and Alaska would be filled to the brim with that many people!

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