Here's hoping it will result in some healthy combox debates that will prompt adherents to rethink the latter part of their position and come to see the bleeding obvious connection between contraception and abortion.
Those who believe in contraception can kick and scream and yell and shout all they want about how it helps prevent abortion, but in the grand scheme of things, it, um, doesn't. Quite the contrary, in fact.
A while ago, I responded thusly to an e-mail at work from someone asking about failure rates for the birth control pill:
Statisticians who assess the effectiveness of contraceptives use the term "perfect use" to describe the ideal conditions under which the lowest possible pregnancy rates can be achieved. For the pill, with "perfect use", the pregnancy rate is, as your doctor said, around 1%.
However, the term "perfect use" is, for all practical purposes, useless. It's merely a theoretical concept that offers a false sense of security. How often does "perfect use" occur? Rarely? Ever?
On the other hand, "typical use" is a much more accurate gauge of a given contraceptive's failure rate. Even the Guttmacher Institute—the research arm of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the U. S., and one of the largest providers of contraceptives as well—acknowledges with "typical use", the pill has an 8% failure rate.
This statistic also appears on the same page from the AGI's website:
"Fifty-four percent of U.S. women who had an abortion in 2000 were using a method [of contraception] in the month they became pregnant."
They then say that this doesn't mean that contraceptives fail 54% of the time, and then say that these women apparently didn't use their contraceptives "perfectly".
Another report issued just this month by the Guttmacher Institute indicates that alarmingly high numbers of couples who rely on contraception to prevent pregnancies are still getting pregnant.
An article in the Chicago Tribune on the report summarizes:
•Nearly two-fifths of women on the pill miss a daily dose at least once in the course of three months, raising their pregnancy risk.
•About three-fifths of women who rely on their partners to use condoms reported that a condom was skipped or put on late at least once in the previous three months.
•Nearly 4 in 10 women using birth control do not much like their method, and such dissatisfaction also significantly raises the risk of pregnancy. [Gee, I wonder why they don't like it? —JJ]
•About 5 percent of the women said they used their birth-control method reliably, but it had failed—possibly because of a break in a condom or, rarely, pills that don't work—allowing them to get pregnant.
So, is contraception the answer?