'Abortion Capital of the World' Curiously Less Abort-y After Women Go on the Pill

Better deploy both Captain Obvious and the entire No Shit S.W.A.T. Team to investigate this: in the Eastern European country of Georgia, when birth control was severely restricted by the government, women used to have an average of three abortions apiece in their lifetimes. Now that they're able to access the pill at a low cost, in five years, the average number of abortions a Georgian woman can expect to have is 2. Could it be that low-cost contraception access — like the kind pro-life American politicians want to restrict, because sluts — has actually been proven to reduce abortion? That's horribly inconvenient.

Why was Georgia's abortion rate so high in the first place? The usual suspects — heavy religious influence in the government and a lack of education. In Georgia, the Orthodox Church, like stateside churches, preaches that sex is only acceptable as a procreative act between two people in a church-sanctioned union. Contraception is a sin, but abortion is an extra super jumbo sized sin. Implied by this doctrine is the idea that anyone who doesn't have sex for the purposes of procreation within a church-sanctioned marriage should probably be punished for that act by being forced to have a baby, anyway, and, thanks to biology, just about all of the physical impact of childbirth falls on the woman. No excuses, whores!

Additionally, women in Georgia were bombarded with misinformation about the Pill — it makes you fat, it doesn't work, it makes you sterile, it gives you cancer, you don't have to take it every day — and so many who had access to it didn't take it, or used it incorrectly.

But now, thanks to the United Nations Population Fund and USAID, contraception is much cheaper, somewhat less fraught with moral panic, and likely preventing pregnancies that otherwise would have led to abortions. In 5 years, the abortion rate has fallen by almost half.

Despite overwhelming evidence that contraception is probably leading to fewer pregnancies (because that's it's fucking job) and pregnancy is the leading (only) cause of abortion, the government is still hesitant to fund programs that would provide contraception to low-income women (hey! Like in America!) because the birth rate is currently below replacement. But rather than making motherhood more socially expedient, the government's attempting to bully women into having more children by restricting their access to that which would help them plan their families.

So it seems, dear Watson, that being "pro-life" and "anti-contraception" are such strange ideological bedfellows that they're almost mutually exclusive. But don't tell that to our Congressional Mental Gymnastics Team. The Olympics are coming up.

[NYT]