The above headlined flashed up on my iPhone’s newsfeed today. What? Contraception prevents unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, and women who choose to have abortions do so, to a large extent, because of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. So doesn’t it follow that advocating the use of contraceptives and promoting their availability would reduce the demand for abortions? Yes, it does.
But that logic seems to be beyond what many religious and social conservatives can grasp, so they continue to follow the paradox of being opposed to both abortion and contraception.
The federal right to contraceptives is accepted in the United States because the Supreme Court decided, in the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut case, that married couples have a constitutional right to buy and use contraceptives without government intrusion.
Yet after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the decision that gave women the right to have a legal abortion, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and other conservatives justices have vowed to erase the right for women to have access to birth control by going after Griswold v. Connecticut just as they did Roe v. Wade.
In an effort to ensure the right for Americans to have legal access to birth control, Democrats introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, The Right to Contraception Act, that would enshrine that right to contraceptives into federal statutory law. It would ban states from restricting access to the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraceptives, while also giving both the attorney general and medical providers the authority to bring civil lawsuits against state governments that restrict contraception access. It passed the House last week in a 228-195 vote.
But for some reason, the Democratic effort to guarantee the right to contraception under federal law sputtered in the Senate along partisan lines Wednesday. Republican Senators said no to codifying contraceptives on a federal level.
I just don’t understand why those who oppose abortion also often oppose contraception. It seems rather paradoxical to me.
As Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts said on the Senate floor today, “No abortion, but no birth control to prevent the need for one. That is where the Republican Party is today.”