If/when Roe vs. Wade is struck down, pro-life advocates will wake up the next day with a headache. With abortion gone, they will need to find another reason to vote Republican, a party which has otherwise shunned all other good “conservative” values. They will also realise that people are still having sex, still getting pregnant, and still faced with unwanted babies. Oh, we can wish that people would act responsibly, and we can wish that people valued unborn life, but still, that ain’t the way it works (alas).
Cynthia Tucker has a good OpEd at the ACJ that addresses this issue. She turns her attention towards the pro-choice crowd. In short, Planned Parenthood et.al. could do more, a lot more, to promote the one thing that would really make abortion rare–contraception–rather than making abortion rights their only crusade:
Reproductive-rights groups have already ceded too much of the moral high ground with their seeming enthusiasm for abortion. Too many of their public relations efforts have portrayed the decision to terminate a pregnancy as if it were as inconsequential as getting a prescription for a toenail fungus. A few years ago, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America sold T-shirts on which the wearer advertised the fact that she had had an abortion. The slogans were much too glib.
Abortions should be — as Bill Clinton once said — safe, legal and rare. While the abortion rate has gradually declined over the last decade, the Alan Guttmacher Institute estimates that more than a million are still performed annually — far more than in most other Western industrialized countries, where contraceptives are used more widely. The Guttmacher Institute also estimates that nearly half of all pregnancies among American women are unintended.
Family planning advocates would find overwhelming public approval for a high-profile campaign advocating broader use of contraceptives: Ninety-four percent of Americans believe that contraceptive use is morally acceptable. It’s a crusade whose time has come.
Abortion is a complicated issue for me. One thing is for sure, though: a million abortions a year in the US is a tragedy. I wish it weren’t so. If Roe goes, contraception must become a national issue. Abstinence is one option and kudos to all those who manage it, but abstinence only education is simply head-in-the-sand craziness (and one which may be the next goal of the Religious Right). That said, I wonder why the UK has the highest rate of teen pregancy in Europe despite being a country with liberal abortion rights and where contraceptives are discussed in school. Is there more to it? How does one promote responsible sex in the real world (the one where not every one shares your religious views)?