How to reduce out-of-wedlock births without reversing 40 years of contraceptive freedom

Gil Bailie quotes Michael New, writing for The Witherspoon Institute’s online publication, The Public Discourse:

Contrary to the bold claims of abortion advocates, there is no proof that legal abortion has reduced either the out-of-wedlock birthrate or the incidence of child abuse. In fact, both the out-of-wedlock birthrate and the rate of child abuse have increased since the onset of widespread legal abortion. And research claiming to show that legal abortion has reduced the crime rate has been proven flawed. Since their empirical arguments for abortion’s benefits are weak, abortion advocates today generally focus on arguments for the autonomy and liberty of women. However, as we observe the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade and consider the impact of forty years of legal abortion, it is certainly worth noting that abortion advocates’ many promises for society remain unfulfilled.

Sophie Sommers responds:

ContraceptionIn 1996, the Brookings Institute published an excellent policy brief about the increased rates of out-of-wedlock births. They provided convincing evidence that the availability of contraception and abortion over the last fifty years led to the demise of “shotgun weddings.” As a result, sexual activity without commitment was increasingly expected in premarital relationships.

How to go forward is the critical question. Can it be done by overturning Roe v. Wade and banning contraception? The authors of the brief believe that would be all but impossible. Here is what they say:

Attempts to turn the technological clock backwards by denying women access to abortion and contraception are probably not possible and might be counterproductive.

Denying women access to abortion and contraception that this point would only increase the number of children born out-of-wedlock and reared in impoverished single-parent families.

Easier access to birth control information and devices, before sexual participation, and easier access to abortion, in the event of pregnancy, could reduce both the number of unwanted children and improve the timing of those whose mothers would have preferred to wait.


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