By Maggie Dewitte
Good news: human abortion rates are declining.
The Des Moines Register editorial on October 21st gives all the credit for this seeming decline to contraception use, and none to pro life organizations like Iowans for Life who have been in the trenches educating Iowa kids on the dignity of life for four decades. ( “Contraceptives, not extremists reduce abortion rates.)
Is the Register correct?
Not according to the people who work in the field of human abortion. They acknowledge that contraception use increases the incidence of human abortion.
In his book, “Abortion Politics,” Planned Parenthood’s Frederick S. Jaffe admits:
“…even if everyone were to practice contraception, and use the most effective medically prescribed methods, there would still be a very large number of unwanted pregnancies.”
“…women…have come to request [abortions] when contraception fails. There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might expect, the provision [availability] of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate.”
By attempting to assign credit for the decline in human abortion, the Register seems to acknowledge that this decline is a good thing. Good. We have some common ground: human abortion is bad.
Abortion IS a plague on our society. It is not necessary under any circumstances. It is NOT healthcare. It hurts women.
The idea that abortion is needed to save the life of the mother is a misconception. Abortion procedures are never needed to save the life of the mother. There may be medical complications that cause the indirect death of an unborn child, but that is not abortion.
The procedures needed to fix the complications are first and foremost to save the life of the mother; abortions never save the life of a mother. The pro-life community understands this distinction, and unlike Planned Parenthood truly cares for the women faced with these situations.
Careful readers noted my earlier use of the word “seeming.” Here’s why: many contraception methods are abortifacient in nature, including the Intrauterine device (IUD) referenced in your editorial.
Birth control works one of three ways: 1. To prevent ovulation 2. To prevent fertilization 3. To irritate the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation. The first two methods are ‘true contraception’ in that they prevent conception.
The third method is abortion.
Since the medical community has redefined the definition of when life begins to implantation, they tell patients the birth control methods they are prescribing are not abortifacient in nature when they often are. In addition, abortion deaths attributed to the RU-486 abortion pill are not included in the abortion statistics reported by the Register. So the news may not be quite as good as we all hoped for.
So if it’s not contraception, why are pregnant women becoming more pro life and aborting less? Just 42% of the public considered themselves to be pro life in 2009. Today, it’s grown to 50 percent.
Groups like Iowans for Life (and we’re but one of many wonderful pro life groups in our state) connect with kids. Busloads of students attend the annual March for Life in Washington D.C. with us every year.
The Register doesn’t give this event a lot of coverage, but they should. Typically, half a million people march in bitter cold on behalf of life. Some two-thirds are high school and college kids. These are the pro life generation born post Roe v Wade who know that their life was “a choice.”
Here’s the significance: A third of their peer group were aborted. They understand the significance of laws and a culture that views human dignity as being so disposable, and they don’t like it.
A couple of years ago, the leader of the National Abortion Rights Action League, Nancy Keenan, stepped down as head of NARAL. She acknowledged that they are losing the under 30 voters. She said they need a “change of tactics.”
Tactics aren’t enough. The human abortion industry is losing their base. That’s why abortion rates are dropping.
[Maggie Dewitte is the director of Iowans for Life. This essay is used with permission.]