Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Want to help protect women's bodies? Stop talking about abortion. An argument in favor of a woman's personal right to choose an abortion isn't really going to trump an argument about preventing murder. Switch the topic to birth control, and it's easy to prove that the real sentiment behind anti-choice rhetoric has more to do with controlling women than it does supporting life.

Yesterday, Susan Wood reminded the nation that the same people who are trying to outlaw abortion are also engaged in campaign to cut women's access to birth control.

The former top women's health official at the FDA said Monday that she believes the agency's refusal to approve over-the-counter sales of a morning-after contraception pill was on orders from above.

I don't think FDA was acting independently,' said Susan Wood, who resigned in August after the Food and Drug Administration issued its decision on the contraceptive, called Plan B.
Hers is a serious charge for an agency that was chartered to base its decisions on science, not politics. Both an independent advisory committee and the agency's scientific staff had recommended Plan B as safe for over-the-counter sales.

Plan B is opposed by religious conservatives who say it will promote promiscuity, particularly in young people. It uses a large dose of a common birth-control drug that can prevent conception up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. It is not an abortion pill.

Last time I checked, educating women about contraception and providing them with access to affordable methods of birth control were still the most effective ways to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions. Yet so many pro-lifers are opposed to birth control, too. Tsk. Tsk. Where are there priorities?

If I thought abortion was a heinous crime, I'd be all over increasing access to anything that lowers abortion rates. They aren't because this isn't really about life, or about protecting it. Besides supporting access to birth control, a real 'pro-lifer' would fight for well-funded social programs that help women feel less alone with the responsibility of parenting. If single motherhood were less difficult and less scary, some women might feel like an abortion is less necessary. Instead, many anti-choice leaders are the same people who promote a derogatory image of single mothers and who want to cut social programs that support pregnant women and children.

If we put all three things together, it looks like anti-choice leaders are more interested in sticking it to women that they are concerned about supporting life. It's something like: "no birth control, no abortion, and no help caring for your baby." The other tragic possibility is: "no birth control, no abortion, and no help dealing with the life-threatening consequences of a botched back-alley abortion." Either way, this is looks like an assault on women. And that's exactly what it is.

If we center anti-choice ideas within the context of all of the choices that 'lifers want to deny women, then they have to deal with being called the bad guys. Which means that they begin the debate with the disadvantage.

So let's stop talking about abortion. Let's go on the offensive, talk about choices, and shape a conversation that we can win.


  • At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just responded to your previous blog and it seems to be also suited for this entry. Education is so important. I have been told I knew nothing...then I am asked for very important information. Hmmm.
    A Friend


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