Friday, March 2, 2012

Contraception: Good works, bad people

Another rumination on pro-choice issues: Planned Parenthood has been besieged by conservatives all last year, but this might be a turn-around year for them. Susan J. Komen foundation announced that it was going to cut off grants to PP. Before Komen backtracked completely, it announced that it would still fund four locations because they were the only facilities in their areas for low-income women to receive breast cancer screenings.

This confirmed what I suspected: healthcare for the poor is spotty; PP is a major player for poor women; in some poor areas, PP is the only provider.

I wonder how many of the people who are working strenuously to defund (or preferably permanently close) PP have considered how poor women will get the healthcare that PP has provided. Are unsullied providers (with no connection to abortion) ready to step into breaches that would open if PP were closed or cut off from federal and state funding? The big question is: Can you actually separate contraceptive care from abortion?

I did a quick web search and found many independent women's health service providers. Roughly half stated that they provide abortion services, so scratch those. Many of the rest do referrals. Only one stated that it didn't provide abortion services. So it may be hard to find providers who are squeaky clean--no connection to abortion.

It's no surprise if it's hard to separate contraception services and abortion. Many people who use contraception want some sort of backup if the contraception fails. The failure rates aren't insignificant; they range from less than 1% to 20% depending on the contraceptive method. The backup is often abortion rather than continuing the unintended pregnancy. The provider who helped with the contraception will often want to help the woman with the unintended pregnancy, which means providing an abortion, referring her for an abortion, providing prenatal care, or making a referral for prenatal care. Few providers of contraception will want to throw up their hands and not help a woman whose contraception has failed.

So, the big answer: I don't think you can operationally separate contraception providers from abortion providers. People interested in providing contraceptive services don't usually stop there.

And what if they fail?

"I’m amazed, almost daily, at the fervor and zeal for which many conservatives, independents, and liberals espouse, nay advocate, for the murder of human beings to allow for the convenience of a mere vessel." --Wall Street Journal comment

More answers to the big question.
Indiana has trouble separating the services.
Washington Times article regurgitates pro-choice research.

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