The events of this week have focused a spotlight on women’s reproductive rights. With the Supreme Court’s decision on the Hobby Lobby case and it’s piling on by vacating decisions of lower courts in two more cases involving birth control. No War on Women? Bullsh1t.
The GOP’s war on women is especially hard on poor women. The argument that female employees can buy their contraception on their own is disingenuous. Justice Ginsburg was correct in stating that the cost of an IUD is “… nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.” An IUD, including fitting and placement, can cost over $1000. Since an IUD is the most effective form of contraception, more women are opting for it since the ACA was passed.
But low-income women who work for employers who claim to have “deeply held” religious beliefs will now struggle to prevent unintended pregnancy. The unintended pregnancy rate for women living below the poverty line is five times higher than that of higher income women. When a poor woman does get pregnant unintentionally, she has little choice. Oppressive abortion laws, inability to travel to what may be the only abortion clinic in the state, paying for the procedure… these all prevent a low-income woman from ending the pregnancy. Being forced to carry the child, there is little help for her afterwards. Child care, groceries, diapers and other expenditures that come with a child can push her even further into poverty. And programs that help with those very things are the first things Republicans cut.
The fact is that the conservatives on the Supreme Court rejected legitimate science to open the way for limiting contraception on the grounds of “religious freedom.” But let’s not pretend that they — or any conservative — give a damn about lowering abortion rates. No, this argument is about control.
How do we know that the supposed fight against abortion is a sham? Because of their opposition to the things that prevent the need for abortion: contraception and sex education. They are also ignoring the fact the abortion rate has fallen 13% since Obama became president. You’re not likely to see conservatives mention this because it contradicts their talking points. And their faux outrage.
A new study by the Guttmacher Institute shows that the abortion rate has declined to 16.9 per 1,000 women 15-44 in 2001 (the latest year statistics are available). That’s down 13% — the lowest abortion rate since 1973!
The abortion rate has been declining since a high of 29.3 per 1,000 in 1981. There was a bit of a stagnation during the Bush administration, before the rate began to head downwards again. Don’t expect an apologies from those on the right who call President Obama a “baby killer,” though. Lordy, don’t they love that one!
The study, while it did not specifically investigate the reasons for the decline, noted that the study period falls before the mad scramble by Republican legislatures to pass abortion-limiting bills. The lead author of the study, Rachel Jones, stated:
“With abortion rates falling in almost all states, our study did not find evidence that the national decline in abortions during this period was the result of new state abortion restrictions. Rather, the decline in abortions coincided with a steep national drop in overall pregnancy and birth rates. Contraceptive use improved during this period, as more women and couples were using highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, such as the IUD. “
So, no, righties, your insane laws did not do this. Women did this. Women with access to free or inexpensive contraception. A study done in 2012 showed that free birth control dramatically cut the rates of abortion and teen births. Tell me again why you oppose contraception? And sex education, which also helps prevent pregnancy. In fact, teens who receive comprehensive sex education are 60% less likely to get pregnant.
Tell the truth. This whole song and dance is not about abortion. It’s about control. It’s about men having control over women. This isn’t about abortions otherwise you’d support everything that prevents them. Republicans know that this issue whips up their base. They don’t want to stop abortion. Not when it sends their base to the polls. It’s a cynical and ugly thing to exploit abortion but what can we expect from a morally bankrupt bunch like the GOP?