Abortion advocates tend to be very vocal about avoiding (or ending) pregnancy while remaining fairly quiet about what causes it in the first place. The way they tell it, pregnancy is a mysterious disease that descends upon hapless women at random. Of course, humans have known for a very, very, very long time what causes pregnancy: sex. Say that to an abortion advocate, though, and they’ll likely be outraged – because in their thinking, sex shouldn’t cause pregnancy. (But then, science and the abortion lobby are often at odds.)
Pro-abortion writer Olivia Rich recently wrote about her anger at the “assault” on abortion rights, and how abortion advocates need to stop mentioning an exception for rape, because even if a woman makes the choice to have sex, abortion should be an acceptable option if pregnancy occurs…
The implication is that surely a rape victim, who didn’t consent to sex, shouldn’t be forced to carry a child to term.
It seems like a good idea, but also reinforces the ideas that we are trying to fight.
And what ideas are those, exactly?
People who support abortion only in cases of sexual assault are suggesting that women who have sex voluntarily deserve to have an unwanted pregnancy: that childbearing is a fitting punishment for sluttiness. This is a very problematic idea and those of us who want to defend women’s rights cannot pander to it.
Here’s the problem with Rich’s outrage: every time a woman has sex, she does, in fact open herself up to the possibility of pregnancy. It’s not a “punishment for sluttiness”; it’s biology. It’s how our bodies were made. And because of this, pregnancy should never be entirely unexpected. Perhaps what the abortion advocates Rich mentioned are really “suggesting” is that women having consensual sex should be smart enough to know that doing so can lead to pregnancy. Yes, some women may use birth control of some sort, and it may be effective for them. But it’s never foolproof. Any good sex education program (and not of the Planned Parenthood variety) should tell you that.
According to the CDC, contraceptive implants and IUDs have a failure rate of less than 1%. (Even permanent methods of birth control, like a vasectomy or a tubal ligation, have a failure rate, of around .15% and .5%, respectively.) Other methods of birth control are less reliable. The birth control shot has a 6% failure rate. The pill, the patch, the ring? 9%. Diaphragms have a failure rate of approximately 12%, condoms 18%. There is always a failure rate.
Therefore, by having sex, a woman is indeed opening herself up to the possibility of getting pregnant, no matter how remote. It doesn’t mean that a woman who has sex and gets pregnant is some kind of ‘slut’ who is being punished — it simply means that science and biology worked as expected. The pro-life response to this would be, then, that once a child is created, he doesn’t deserve to be thrown out or viewed as a mistake – because he isn’t a mistake. He’s the result of basic, healthy, biological human reproduction. And no one is being “punished” with a baby (sorry, Mr. President) – either in the case of rape or in consensual sex. It’s a simple case of cause and effect: sperm met egg, and a new human life was created. Biology.
We know for a fact that there is no method of birth control that is 100% accurate, so the simple, logical fact of the matter is that having sex means opening yourself to the possibility of pregnancy.
That’s not hatred or “anti-choice” rhetoric. It’s science.