Access to contraception has helped in abortion rate’s decline

I’d like to thank the writer who wrote a recent letter to the editor, regarding Roe v. Wade. His research on the original plaintiff in the Roe v. Wade case provided insight into one woman’s story. Norma McCorvey’s earlier multiple pregnancies, which resulted in adoption, likely were the result of a lack of access to reliable birth control.

It’s important to keep in mind that it wasn’t until the 1960s that “the pill,” which allowed women more of an opportunity to plan their reproductive future, became an option. The fact that even then many states determined a single woman should be denied access to birth control meant that the incidence of unplanned pregnancies was far greater than it could and should have been. As options for contraception have become more widely available, correspondingly the number of abortions has dropped, and thankfully this trend has continued. The abortion rate is down 66 precent because of access to, and use of, better contraceptive methods, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

I’d like to add another dimension to the “awful reality” that Norma McCorvey faced: Abortion is a necessary medical procedure for many women. A woman carrying a dead fetus is in danger of contracting sepsis, which can be fatal; a woman carrying a fetus with issues that will likely result in death immediately upon delivery, or a painful and short life due to horrid deformities, should not have to explain to anyone other than her family and her health care provider of the decision to end a pregnancy. Every person receiving health care is guaranteed privacy, and this applies to men and women.

It is our job to be discerning in determining if information is true or false; to do our research, just as the original writer did, and to look beyond what confirms our own beliefs.

On a personal level, I’m just going to add this: The label “pro-choice” is often interpreted to mean “pro-abortion” – please understand, no one is pro-abortion. Any pro-choice advocate will tell you that if no woman ever needed an abortion again, difficult choices would not have to be made.

Karen Knapp


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