The media is pumping up results of using a birth control implant or IUD on teen girls as government policy.
They claim it reduced abortions. I love fewer homicides.
But there are more civilized ways to reduce abortions. Protecting life from the point of its beginning, offering women help, holding fathers responsible, and raising people into adulthood so that they don’t have sex outside of marriage are not strategies that secular bureaucrats appreciate. The plan we are seeing unfold as an alternative is totalitarian and unacceptable as government policy.
The New York Times is (no surprise) at the center of the PR campaign: “Colorado’s Effort Against Teenage Pregnancies Is a Startling Success.”
Over the past six years, Colorado has conducted one of the largest ever real-life experiments with long-acting birth control. If teenagers and poor women were offered free intrauterine devices and implants that prevent pregnancy for years, state officials asked, would those women choose them?
They did in a big way, and the results were startling. The birthrate for teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There was a similar decline in births for another group particularly vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies: unmarried women under 25 who have not finished high school.
“Our demographer came into my office with a chart and said, ‘Greta, look at this, we’ve never seen this before,’ ” said Greta Klingler, the family planning supervisor for the public health department. “The numbers were plummeting.”
I’m sure that there was some effect from the program, but the numbers have been sinking dramatically across the nation, not just in Colorado. The story mentions this, insists things are better in Colorado, because of the implants and IUDs, but doesn’t tell us how much better. It is all left hazy after the breathless headline and first paragraphs.
(See also this analysis at the National Review of another PR blitz coming out of Colorado.)
Furthermore, no one is talking about family opportunities and a woman’s limited time to procreate:
In 2009, half of all first births to women in the poorest areas of the state happened before they turned 21. By 2014, half of first births did not occur until they had turned 24, a difference that advocates say gives young women time to finish their educations and to gain a foothold in an increasingly competitive job market.
“If we want to reduce poverty, one of the simplest, fastest and cheapest things we could do would be to make sure that as few people as possible become parents before they actually want to,” said Isabel Sawhill, an economist at the Brookings Institution.
So where is the data that shows these women are economically better off? Do we have actual studies to investigate if these women are bringing in more income than they used to?
And are we better off economically with everyone delaying their decisions to procreate until at least their mid-twenties?
Another weirdness about the story is that it pretends that women don’t have choices.
Women’s health advocates contend that long-acting birth control is giving American women more say over when — and with whom — they have children.
Outside of the crime of rape, women have absolute say over whether to have sex when a man offers. People who risk pregnancy and then get pregnant have done so because they wanted to risk getting pregnant in order to have sex. There is no other reason. To assume that we all have a fundamental right to sex that doesn’t end in pregnancy is a ridiculous assumption. Yet it is taken for granted.
If you don’t want the man to be the father of a child with you, don’t have sex with him. Likewise, men should use the same rule for having sex with women.
Another fact that is dramatically missing from the New York Times puff piece is the presence of STDs, when rates are reportedly climbing. The methods of birth control being promoted here do nothing to prevent these diseases. To the extent that widespread use of these devices would make people more likely to have sex and less likely to use a condom when they do have sex, such a policy could have serious consequences.
Finally, where is this going? The New York Times story is begging for public money to keep paying for the options. I’m sure that’s what Big Pharma is lobbying for. But we already know of schools giving eleven-year-olds IUDs without parental knowledge. If school bureaucrats are already willing to put abortion-causing devices in children, what other forms of coercion are planned?
Implanting our daughters as a matter of public policy is, in my opinion, obviously a goal behind this story. In so doing, we will be taking the adult matter of sex and pushing it into an attitude of permanent childishness where people assume they can not bother to take care of themselves and expect others to do it for them. Such people are not likely to ever become responsible adults with the Nanny State watching over them.