Abortion rates plummet with free birth control

momj47(7A)October 5, 2012

Interesting article.

Providing birth control to women at no cost substantially reduced unplanned pregnancies and cut abortion rates by 62 percent to 78 percent over the national rate, a new study shows.

The research, by investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, appears online Oct. 4 in Obstetrics & Gynecology....

And very gratifying. I firmly believe abortion should remain available and accessible, but providing free birth control is critical. Birth control MUST be freely available to any woman or man who wants it, with no justification needed.

This is what Planned Parenthood would rather do, counsel and dispense birth control.

Here is a link that might be useful: Free birth control

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Imagine that... something we've been alluding to for... how long, now?

Thanks, Mom.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:14PM
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Good news.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 6:49PM
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I think any abortion is a tragic indictment of the poor health care choices we offer women. The stiff-necked opposition to abortion and birth control means that abortion has now become the only birth control choice for some women.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:15PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

I think any abortion is a tragic indictment of the poor health care choices we offer women.

I agree.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 12:57AM
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I heard this news and was happy the rates have gone down significantly. What we've been saying all along. Provide birth control and you won't be dealing with all these babies who are not wanted and causing a drain on the welfare system and slow down the rate of women getting abortions.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 2:31AM
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I would agree, also. It's grievous that women must turn to abortion as a choice because birth control, or preventive health care, are not available options. Killing off abortion as an option will not stop it, either... but will send it underground, to a place of danger. It's generally not the first choice... but becomes one when options are so limited.

And... the helluvit is, Lily, the slice of pie going to actual welfare is so diminutive in comparison to funding allotted elsewhere, it's less than a fly-speck in the whole scheme. To speak of it all as a drain is to admit that sharing and empathy are not a part of that christian moral people keep mentioning.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 4:31AM
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That's bad news for the anti-crowd.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 6:36AM
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You bet, Maddie. Now, watch this thread sink like a rock.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 2:00PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

I think it's wonderful and encouraging news and shows that we're on the right track. We can't even count the amount of suffering and heartbreak, and very long-lasting negative aftereffects, on a personal and national level, this is helping to avoid.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 3:27PM
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I saw this too. It's great news. But, isn't it just common sense? How is it that anyone can possibly think this would not be the case? Obviously, if you have easy access to free birth control, you are so much less likely to get pregnant, and therefore not need an abortion if you are not in a position to have a baby. I mean, isn't it a big Duh!?

But, there are those that will say we are forcing our anti-religous views down their throat.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 6:04PM
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How can this even be NEWS?

Talk about your obvious answers... Not that it will convince the people who object to birth control and abortion, because their objections are not based on facts.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 6:16PM
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As I said, it's bad news for them.

Gotta love it.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 6:22PM
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terrene(5b MA)

If they want the rates of abortion to plummet to near zero, the US should approve and distribute the RISUG or Vaselgel which is a truly easy and inexpensive birth control for men. Discovered by an Indian scientist decades ago, it is a polymer that is injected into the vas deferens that sterilizes the sperm as it passes thru. Thus far it has proven to be harmless, it's easily inserted, easily removed, and appears to be 100% effective.

Social conservatives can be really weird about birth control. I think that's because they are weird about sex. They don't like the idea of people being able to have fun and have sex without worrying about making babies, it encourages fornication or whatever.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 11:43PM
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Terrene, you have just brought up a topic I have wondered about for years and years. If men had more control over birth control - and had a method they could easily use which would not affect sensation but would effectively prevent fertilization, I think that in and of itself could lower unwanted pregnancies by perhaps as much or more than 50%. The method you mention is very interesting.

If it were offered free to all males, think of what that would be in savings for this country. The savings of pregnancy/birth costs that tax dollars often pay for, the education, the feeding, the housing, the health care of all of them - the list goes on and on about what birth prevention could save in tax dollars.

I will never understand the fury that so many express when it comes to the idea of free birth control. It makes no sense. They don't want to have to pay to feed live children and they don't want pay the cheap price to prevent fertilization from ever taking place. And yet they want to prevent women from having abortions but don't want any financial (or emotional) responisibility for the child that is, instead, born.

It's odd reasoning with no logical conclusion, except the *always* present resentfulness at sometimes being forced to care for others as Jesus instructed by words and by example.

They don't want to care for others and they don't want to pay the little that would go a long way to prevent those others from existing to need care.

It's an illogical, emotional reaction based mainly on resentfulness. I don't get it.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 1:22AM
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It seems that personal attitudes surrounding sex largely influence how people view the social issues attached.

The staunch religionist would maintain a large space between sex and pleasure, keeping with the idea that sex is only for procreation post marriage, and has no other place and no other purpose. In some, those attitudes haven't changed in decades. They're tied up with other beliefs of a religious nature, and since sex isn't enjoyable for them, it shouldn't be enjoyable for any part of society. It's all tied up with guilt, sin, and some perceived moral code ingrained with words like self respect and dignity, etc.

For those who don't confine sexual attitudes to religion, the idea of having protection and reproductive options available is common sense. One can't seriously think that religious ideals will be the same for all of society.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:39AM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

This makes sense, as it is the whole point of birth control.

People who oppose free birth control are usually those who oppose abortions. What a dilemma for them.

Then there is the crowd that thinks providing free birth control encourages promiscuity.

But who can disagree with lower abortion rates?

We'll soon see.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:08AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Mylab, I too have thought about this for many years and just read about this RISUG birth control method for men in the past year. I have 2 male friends who were tricked by their girlfriends many years ago, who lied to them about using birth control when they were not. As young men they were foisted into a parenthood that neither one of them wanted. Quite frankly, this is egregious behavior on the part of the women, and it derails men's lives for many years and costs them dearly (esp. $$$).

My biggest concern is that this not ever happen to my 19-year old son and that all young men, as well as women, have every possible choice that is reasonably technologically available to them to control their reproductive lives. As we all know the condom is far from 100%. And then you have people who play "Oooops" games and will put pin holes in the condom (I've heard of both men and women doing this to trick their partner!)

IIRC, RISUG has been trialed in India for at least 30 years. The article said it was on the verge approval for general use in that country. There is an innovative woman in the US who is trying to get it introduced here. Good luck to her because the conservatives, fundies, and control freaks, plus any corporate predator with a financial motive, will brook interference!

The resentment that comes from some social conservatives on these issues is weird. It's like, if THEY can't enjoy going out and partying and having sex whenever they want, and not worry about getting STD's or pregnancy, then nobody else can either!!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 1:24PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Oh I should add, that some men may take issue with the "easily inserted" part of Vaselgel, because the insertion of the polymer involves a long needle near the "gentlemen parts"! heehee

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 1:28PM
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The resentment that comes from some social conservatives on these issues is weird. It's like, if THEY can't enjoy going out and partying and having sex whenever they want, and not worry about getting STD's or pregnancy, then nobody else can either!!

That has been my observation, too.

Except I don't think it "weird". It figures, since lowering abortion rates clearly is not their goal. Give it some time--let Mom's thread fall off the frontpage and before we can blink they're back at posting their abstinency BS, and defending and downplaying the Republican war on women. Wanna bet?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 3:13PM
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I would no more trust someone that said they were disease free. We all know you can't judge a book by its cover, which means that the cleanest, most well dressed individual may be a carrier of any STD, even unknowingly. And if you can't trust that, how could you trust anyone who simply claimed to take birth control? The only person you can trust is yourself. We know this as adults, but it's a bit of information that needs to be impressed upon our youth, as trusting and vulnerable as they can be.

The bottom line is... sex is nice, but it's not worth your life.

This is why we feel that early education, and lots of it, plus the availability of protection, are so very important.
Disease is always an issue. Most birth control methods, with the exception of condoms, do not protect against disease. A condom with the addition of spermicidal foam is the best insurance you can buy.

People don't often mention the various diseases that can be too easily picked up and passed around, but there are several lesser talked about issues that can cause sterility, or can change your life forever, making you a carrier. It's not worth the risk. HIV and the more well known venereal diseases are not the only issues out there. A person can pick up anything, from a simple yeast infection to a disease that is life threatening.

Statistics prove again and again that having access to information, protection, and birth control lessen the incidence of early or unwanted pregnancy AND disease. But if it's not used, it can't work.

If someone wishes to remain abstinent, more power to them. But how does one trust that their offspring will remain abstinent? You can't. That's why it's so important that education and protection are a part of those early teen years, or earlier than that. Informing our youth is one of the ways we help protect them.

When we're protecting against pregnancy and disease, the abortion rate falls at the same time, as a result. How many times does it need to be said... abortion is not the first choice that anyone wants to make. But without information and availability of protection, it's a choice that would be made more often.

All of this is common sense, though. It's not rocket science.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 4:31PM
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Gee it sure is quiet in here.

Do some think staying abstinent from the truth will make the truth go away?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 4:45AM
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I was thinking the same thing. Isn't this the desired outcome? Seems like it would be welcome information.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:20AM
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Be careful though. The way it's being stated, the inverse COULD be, that abortion is being used in lieu of birth control.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:58AM
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Seems like the fundies mainly don't want 'sex without consequences' --

And I get that, to some degree. Making the decision to have sex does involve consequences. Always. Real ones. I'm not into the whole 'sin' theory, but there are emotional consequences for both parties, and potential health consequences as well. And solving the birth control issue merely removes the most visible consequence, leaving the others untouched.

I do think 'free love' is a concept that generally doesn't work very well.

But a person should never be 'a consequence.'

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:14AM
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david52 Zone 6

Over the weekend, I attended 3 different high school events. I have to arrive early and leave late due to mobility issues, and as the stands/auditorium fill up, I end up with the stragglers - and this weekend, it was one group of teenage moms and their babies after another. I get to listen to the conversations.

Anything, ANYTHING, that can bring down teenage birth rates, please do it.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:26AM
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I totally agree with what you just said sweeby. It's the aspect I keep telling my son (who is turning 13 this week). And explaining that abstinence is so much easier said than done, that I didn't manage it. And I am a strong, strong, determined individual. But I am forever linked to his dad now. I think my son understands how deeply the decision can go. How will he fare? I hope better than I.

Not abstaining is the one and only thing in my life that I mostly regret. I don't regret my son. I am so deeply in love with him! Everything else surrounding it has been heartache. Other my non-sex issue/regrets, I probably would made the same decisions over again with the knowledge I had, at the time that I made those decisions. But those decisions weren't based fully on emotion; it's a tough line to walk. I wasn't even a teenager the first and subsequent times I didn't abstain. It is a decision that needs more care than any other decision ever. Even being "careful", won't stop someone from ending up where they never thought they'd be. Only one thing is 100% guaranteed.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:42AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I agree, having raised a child on my own, I am fully aware of the amount of money, time, and resources that are required to meet the needs of a child. So many people who are either chronological or psychological children or in some other way grossly unqualified having children!! What a mess.

Realistically though, people are going to have sex, and most of the time they don't want the consequences. And I don't see anything wrong with that. Sexual acts with oneself or amongst fully-informed and consenting adults are fair game. To each their own. And if people can protect themselves from STDs or pregnancy in the process, thanks to our wonderful medical technology, then that's great!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:51AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Just to clarify the "agree" part was supposed to be with David52's point about reducing teen pregnancies.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:05AM
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seems obvious....

My Granny used to say
"A stitch in time saves nine."

Preventing pregnancy is so much easier & so much "cleaner" & nicer &...cheaper...than abortion, than the cost of feeding & counseling & so many times incarcerating the children who weren't wanted & who don't have 2 adult parents to support & love them.

I love the idea of free birth control, especially free birth control being distributed to the persons at risk of getting pregnant.

That polymer will protect men, & I'm all for everybody being able to control his/her own reproduction...
but, like those condoms that somehow don't get used, it won't necessarily protect the person who might get pregnant.

If your husband/boyfriend/hottie that you pick up at the football game or at the bar says he's using the polymer (or that he had a vasectomy, or that he had mumps)...

take your pill.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 2:18PM
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how about "Defensive Sex"?

Defensive Driving taught us to proactively look out for out own safety regardless of what another driver might do.

Defensive Sex, & maybe
Defensive Alcohol Behavior,
Defensive Relationships,
Defensive Lending Money to Your Friends....

reckon I could patent these ideas?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 2:25PM
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Cheap and, under some circumstances, free birth control has been available for ages. Cheap/free does not equal effective. The difference here is that most women in the study used long-acting forms of birth control that don't require daily compliance.

The more vigilant you have to be with a birth control program to be successful, the more points of failure exist.

For example, if you're using the pill, you have to take it daily, you have to use extra protection if you lapse for a day or more, you have to refill the prescription every month, and you have to be in a hostage situation where your gynecologist wants to see you every year before they will release a prescription for another year.

Lather, rinse, and repeat every month of your life for years. Lots of opportunities for failure.

Compare that to implants and IUDs. They are effective for several years - 5 to 10 years for the IUD, a good 3 years for implants. They have a very high success rate.

There's no going to the doctor every year so that they will deign to allow you to have birth control for another year, no having to refill the script every single month. Memory lapses are no longer fatal to your birth control plan. If you get food poisoning and are puking for days on end, you don't have to worry that your pill didn't have enough time in you digestive tract to get into your bloodstream.

We've been making the wrong argument about birth control for years and we're too stupid to see it. It's not cost that's the big issue; it's effectiveness and compliance.

Low cost or free birth control hasn't proven to be a successful strategy. Why? Because it has a lot of strings attached and requires the user to be disciplined and vigilant - not hallmarks of a lot of people, but particularly the young and careless.

Heck, I've always been a pretty responsible person, but I have 4 children who are a tribute to my absent-mindedness. We easily-distracted and forgetful people are not meant be users of birth control pills. :-)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:01PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Low cost or free birth control hasn't proven to be a successful strategy.

? ? This is based on your personal research on the subject?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:37PM
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Gotta love the fallacies (one can easily turn it around and dismiss it: Not everyone is that sloppy).

The Study says the exact opposite--free birth control dramatically lowers abortion rates once the women were given free access to it (hint) they didn't have access before that.

Shocking To No one, Free Birth Control Dramatically Lowers Abortion Rates.

The effect on teen pregnancy was striking: There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study. Compare that to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.

There also were substantially lower rates of abortion, when compared with women in the metro area and nationally: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study, compared with 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women overall in the St. Louis region, Peipert calculated. That's lower than the national rate, too, which is almost 20 abortions per 1,000 women.

In fact, if the program were expanded, one abortion could be prevented for every 79 to 137 women given a free contraceptive choice, Peipert's team reported in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Good news is it will be expanded: Access to free birth control is now mandated by Obama Care.

The silence on this is no surprise, whatsoever.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:00AM
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You can get cheap and/or low cost birth control at Planned Parenthood or Walmart, where they offer a number a birth control pills at both the $4.00/month and $9.00/month level. That's pretty affordable and cheaper than a night of partying.

The problem is they are pills and require a daily commitment. You have to acquire them and take them religiously. Teenagers, especially, are not known for their reliability and sense of commitment.

It's great that there are other reliable methods available that have long term efficacy and don't require a daily ritual, which is something lots of us aren't very good at.

If we take the teenage pregnancy rate in the study and consider 3.4% (34/1000) to be ineffective, then I would consider cheap and easy birth control pills, which are widely available, to not be a glowing success compared to IUDs and implants.

If you use IUDs/implants/patches and the pregnancy rate drops to a fraction of what it was previously, then birth control pills, which are fairly easy to get and can be gotten for under $10 per month in some cases, have a much higher failure rate, as much as 10 times higher than IUDs. That's probably the user failure component. Still, that's nothing to crow about. If something is not terribly successful, why demand that other people pay for it?

But it ain't "free" in any way, shape, or form. Someone is paying for these things, unless we are going back to slavery and making service providers work for nothing.

If you want other people to pay for things, those things should be successful or at least serviceable, not prone to repeated failures.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:14AM
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Good grief, lionheart, what would you have people do?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 11:41AM
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I would agree, Syliva... it works both ways. Women AND men can say one thing while doing quite another. This is why it never hurts to add another layer or two of protection. In the end, we can only trust OURSELVES.

Polymer, vasectomies, birth control pills, and other unseen protections STILL don't cover the issue of disease, though. And disease is another unintended consequence of unprotected sex.

We talk about pregnancy often, and we talk about abortion and other issues... but we rarely mention any of the myriad diseases associated with the exchange of bodily fluids.

My husband and I repeated the part about condoms AND spermicidal foam so often in the presence of our children that it became a sort of joke within our household. But the good news is, repeating it so often had the desired effect, and our kids listened, automatically protecting themselves as though it were a normal, expected part of life. Our boys even carried extra condoms and foam in case a friend needed them.

The "abstinence crowd" will skew the numbers any way they can to push the idea that not having sex is the only method that works. While it's true that abstinence works, the reality is that kids and teens are still having sex, still experimenting, even though many of their parents are not aware of this fact.

Forbidden fruit is always sweeter. The more taboo and forbidden something is, the more our youth wants to find out about it, experiment with it. And this is all the more reason to make the facts known, and make protections completely available.

As a concerned parent, one should be willing to help their teenage girls remember to take their birth control pills every day, or make certain the protection chosen is used properly and available.

So far, the statistics actually gathered would negate the ideas that the abstinence crew would have us believe.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:26PM
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IMO, the most important sentence in the article:

"When price wasn't an issue, women flocked to the most effective contraceptives, the implanted options, which typically cost hundreds of dollars up-front to insert. These women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies as a result, "

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:57PM
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I get Lionheart's point. It is important, in order to obtain the greatest effectiveness of the birth control pill, for a female to take the pill at the correct dosage every day at the same time of day for as long as she desires not to become pregnant. That is a lot to demand from adults, much less kids. It's why male contraceptives must also be used when a teen, even if they aren't as effective.
That said, the pill is one of the few really effective options available as of now, so we must grab onto it and be grateful it exists, as well as male prophylactics. As a combo it much more effective.

Lionheart makes another good point - if one store can provide so many extremely cheap birth control pill brands, that is good news for the tax payer, if the adult, responsible minded tax payer wants to be responsible for how well the tax dollar is spent when it comes to 'no cost to the user' birth control vs. govt. assistance for unplanned pregnancies for 18 years or more of a human being's life.

Rob, you might consider that, besides how important it is to explain and encouage all the positives about abstinance, you might find it's equally or even greater in importance to have him aware that you intend to provide your son with all the information and expense that might be required in case he makes personal choices which might not be as you hope - and that he will be able to keep his personal choices just that: personal - if he has to explain to you that he has made choices that perhaps even he is not totally comfortable with and yet he will continue to do so, that is when the odds of pregnancy will dramatically increase as he simply might find himself unable to bring himself to disappoint you. It tends to be a very tricky situation, to try to discuss sex without letting judgement seep in, especially unintended judgement. If he understands that you would not judge him for making choices other than abstinance, then the lines of communication both emotional and financial will be open for you to be there for him in life. Just because he wants to live in abstinance until he is married or committed to one person doesn't mean he will end up being able to do so.

I recently saw the prices of prophylactics - STUNNED. They are not at *all* inexpensive.
There are probably billions of humans who have walked this earth born from men and women who most sincerely believed , fully intended and when with someone they fell for, tried very hard to practice abstinence. And failed.

We are all human with human frailty and a strong sex drive -

- especially during the years when we are at our greatest chances of reproducing and reproducing with robust health.

God, or human nature, designed the human being this way.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:00PM
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The crickets were so loud from the right I had to stop in...

I think it's great that men will have some control over their reproduction. I really do feel for the guys who get tricked.

I think any abortion is a tragic indictment of the poor health care choices we offer women.

Double ditto.

I have NEVER NEVER NEVER met a woman or a man who said "yeah I got an abortion, it was great, I'm proud of it, I feel good about it, I want to do it again"

EVERYONE would avoid that if possible. It's HORRIBLE!! Who wants to do it? But the alternative is even more frightening in a lot of situations.

Prevent abortion. Provide other options. Keep it legal.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:16PM
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That's something we repeat often, here... no one is PRO-abortion. But we know how important it can be as a legal option, one in many.

I think another thing we always try to get across is that you can't trust that your offspring will view sex the same way you did, even if they look you in the eye and say, "no, I'm not having sex"... we can't watch them 24/7... so, having access to facts and prevention is so very important.

Condoms are not that cheap. And the adage that you get what you pay for comes in, here, too.

If helping young people to better plan families costs a few tax dollars for preventive health care, I'm in. It's worth it.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:53PM
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What's the matter with you crocodile-tears-pro-lifers? Fox got your tongue?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 6:30AM
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The conversational interest in here is plummeting faster than abortion rates after free birth control.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 12:53PM
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Abstinent from the truth.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 1:04PM
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I think some people don't want to think about the fact that their offspring are or were having sex while they were still under the impression those youngsters were abstinent virgins.

Or, maybe it was just too embarrassing to go into a litany on sex and protection, so they abstained.

Or, maybe everyone is in perfect agreement... that it's really important to offer our youth the factual information and the protection they need.

Hard to tell by the responses.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 1:56PM
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