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Old Feb 23, '12, 1:04 am
Elizabeth502 Elizabeth502 is offline
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Join Date: November 19, 2008
Posts: 9,120
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: Why should contraception be free?

I don't know if any of you listened to Chris Matthews' Hardball on Wednesday. I've been behaving "against type" and deliberately listening to the MSM lately, to see their reaction to Church opposition to various political issues (including but not limited to the HHS mandate). There was a segment on Wednesday's show in which Matthews introduced the rationale behind the free contraception push: according to him (and the female guests agreeing with him), the theory is that free contraceptives will virtually eradicate abortion. I'm sure that those espousing this theory look to part of the research, which does show that erratic or non-use of contraceptives among the sexually active is sometimes a matter of affordability. IOW, extremely poor women are having sex out of wedlock, and extremely poor women have lots of abortions. (Better-off women can afford contraception out-of-pocket and will in fact pay for it if insurance does not cover it.)

The problem is, it's not that simple. There are factors other than financial -- among the very poor -- that stimulate a subculture of very young unmarried sex. The affordability question may be a contributing factor excuse, but there's an awful lot involved besides affordability.

Research shows that poor, young women use contraception erratically for a variety of reasons, including poor education about it, including immaturity & irresponsibility, including hurdles to obtain it if one is under-age, including ambivalence about it if there's a subconscious wish to become pregnant for practical/emotional reasons. Free contraceptives will not resolve any of these other contributing factors.

An aside:
Research does not show that couples who use contraception consistently and correctly end up having high rates of abortion. Research shows that the unmarried, of whatever age and income level, are the category responsible for the great majority of U.S. abortions, and that married couples --both those using and not using contraception -- are the group least likely to have abortions in this country.

The bottom line is that the use of contraception is less related to income and more related to education (the research shows), and that abortion rate is less related to contraception use and more related to marital status. In any case, availability of free contraception does not guarantee its use nor (in itself) reduce abortion. The talking heads claiming otherwise on Hardball are not thinking like poor, uneducated, very young, unmarried women who have mothers just like themselves; they're thinking like what they are: highly educated, well-off women making assumptions that people of very different circumstances think just like they do.
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