Reduces Abortions


P1. Free access to contraception reduces unwanted pregnancies

P2. Reducing unwanted pregnancies reduces abortions

C. Therefore free access to contraception reduces abortions


While the argument may seem intuitive, there are likely unintended social consequences of contraception which impact the number of abortions. In William Newton’s paper Contraception and abortion: Fruits of the same rotten tree? he comments:

In these three cases (Spain, UK, and Turkey), we observe a hand-in-hand increase in the use of contraception and the rate of abortion. The most plausible explanation for this is that both phenomena reflect a change in attitude toward sex and babies. Supported by the increased use of contraception, extra-marital sex is becoming more prevalent, and women are orientated more and more to smaller family sizes: there is a more-sex–less-babies attitude developing. This in turn is likely to lead to more pregnancies being unwanted and in turn to more abortions.

Certainly, in the case of Turkey the abortion rate drops once contraception use saturates, but it never returns to where it began, rather it levels off at a rate that represents an overall 40 percent increase in abortions.

The conclusion I would draw from this data is, therefore, the following. There is no convincing way of arguing that contraception is a panacea for abortion. Even if the extremes of Soviet Russia can be clipped, there appears to be in other situations a positive correlation between contraceptive use and abortions built upon the fact that contraception is an important element in changes in cultural attitudes, especially the attitude toward sex. To put this another way: we might say that contraception is the linchpin in a cultural revolution that has abortion as one of its principal effects. The overall result of this is that, far from liberating a culture from the scourge of abortion, contraception engrains, and entrenches this practice into a culture that accepts it.