New research shows that a huge contributing cause of unintended pregnancy in the US isn't birth control failure or devious condom-sabotaging gnomes, it's women believing that they can't get pregnant because they're magical and special, nothing like those other silly non-magical fools who get pregnant all the time. Hmmm... I wonder what fixes that sort of ignorance? God, it's on the tip of my tongue. Schmeducation? No, that can't be it...
The Guttmacher research examined unintended pregnancies that resulted in abortion in 2008 and found that a disturbing number of women who accidentally got pregnant either weren't using birth control at all or were using it totally wrong but thought they'd be immune to pregnancy anyway. Some thought they couldn't get pregnant because they'd had good luck not getting pregnant in the past (oh boy), others thought they were infertile for no particular reason, and others believed that skipping like three birth control pills in a row was a totally okay way to take birth control. The women Guttmacher interviewed honestly believed they weren't at risk for pregnancy. In reality, women who have unprotected sex have an 85% chance of getting pregnant within a year — a likelihood which seems low for those of us ladled from bubbling Catholic stock and get pregnant when we so much as make eye contact with a man who has a healthy carpet of chest hair.
The study, which Guttmacher's news release refers to as a year of "magical thinking," concludes that more research is needed into why women who become unintentionally pregnant overwhelmingly eschew birth control or do it wrong, but it's clear that the least lawmakers and community organizers can do is promote more education. Reducing the number of abortions in this country might be as simple as telling men and women the truth about their bodies, something pro-life conservatives, ironically, have fought tooth and nail.
Improving access to birth control is important, but equally important to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies is conveying accurate information in the form of comprehensive, medically accurate sex ed. Because "The Secret" is a terrible contraception plan.