Abstinence? You’re Kidding, Right?

Every abortion is a mark of failure. Ideally, there would be no abortions. Most everyone can agree on that. How to reach that goal is where the contention lies.

Next let’s agree that we’ll never get perfection in reaching for that goal. Some would argue against that, but if you do, you have to accept the possibility that you may be responsible for an unnecessary death of two people. Remember the woman in Ireland a few years ago who was not allowed to have a lifesaving abortion because Catholics don’t do that, dear? And so she and her unborn child died because the procedure was denied. Is that what Jesus would have done? Who is responsible for her death?

Then there’s the ten-year-old child in Paraguay who was repeatedly raped by her stepfather. Pregnancy at that age can be very dangerous, and she might easily have died. Fortunately, she did not, but now she’s eleven, and the unmarried mother of a baby who is the product of rape. No abortion is the law of the land in Paraguay and several other Latin countries, but who will be responsible for the next pregnant child if she dies? The politicians? The priests?

The forced-birthers have failed to recognize that the number and proportion of abortions are falling in the US, and have been falling for some time. This is good, but if they want to continue the trend, they are going about it all wrong.

Forced-birthers seem most determined to repeal the sex act, and perhaps rely on forced abstinence to eliminate abortion. But somehow every new bunch of kids manages to discover sex, and eventually aspires to participate in the game. Sexual abstinence as political policy has a record of complete failure. In fact, Bible belt states, where the greatest efforts to prevent sex occur, have the highest rates of sexual ignorance, unwanted pregnancy, and abortion.

Two things mark the most successful programs to prevent pregnancy and therefore abortion. First, sex education beginning at young ages. Second, liberal availability of contraception for older teens. And maybe, third, acceptance of sex as normal.

Students who attend sex ed classes at several grades have a much better record of responsible sexual behavior. Their initial experiences come later, and result in pregnancy less often. With these kinds of statistics, it is amazing that anyone could believe they could prevent pregnancy by promotion of ignorance and denial that everyone wants sex as they approach adulthood. Telling young people they can’t have sex is a laughable policy.

Prevention of abortion comes down to information. When youngsters know all about sex, they behave more responsibly and there are far fewer unwanted pregnancies, as well as fewer abortions.

Abstinence as policy? There could hardly be a better way to promote unwanted pregnancy and the frequently resulting abortion.

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