For all of the debate surrounding abortion from both sides of the aisle, two things have been made abundantly clear:
- Abortion rates have been declining for years
- Mainly thanks to birth control
Taking out the politics of whether or not a woman should have a choice about her own body, the easiest way to prevent an abortion is to prevent the pregnancy from happening in the first place.
In 2014, the abortion rate in the U.S. reached 14.6/1000 women, according to the Guttmacher Institute, below the 1973 Roe v Wade rate of 16.3/1000 women and well below the peak of 29.3/1000 women set in 1981. It just so happens that as access to birth control and information about it becomes easier to obtain, abortion rates go down.
Already in the new session of Congress, a House bill has been introduced that would defund Planned Parenthood, one of the largest distributors of free and low-cost birth control in the nation.
It would seem like common sense to leave in place a mechanism that probably prevents more abortions than it performs, if your goal is to prevent abortions in the first place. If your goal is to legislate morality and attempt to punish people having sex, then yes, what the Republicans are doing does make perfect sense.