Want to reduce the number of abortions? Here’s my plan:
Step 1: Proper sex education. How many of you had a PROPER sexual education course? I know I did. I still have nightmares about the slideshow. If you had a proper course, you know what I’m talking about. The extreme closeups on ravaged genitalia.
“What is that? Is that a hippo with gout?”
“Oh. I’m never touching a woman. Ever.”
Those slideshows always reminded me of what could happen if I had unprotected sex. Even over a decade later those images are burned to the backs of my retinas. And for the record, a proper sex education still teaches that abstinence is the best way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. But it should not be the only thing taught.
Expecting teenagers to just “say no to sex” is incredibly naive. This is when hormones are flowing and every single facet of society tells you to have sex… it’s fun and popular. So just saying “abstain” and washing your hands of it is not a solution. Teaching kids about condoms, the pill, and other options are what works. Kids that don’t get sex education don’t know that you can get STDs from oral sex, or that you can get pregnant even if you do “pull out.” So obviously their education is incomplete.
Part of this sex education will be teaching that pregnancies are a purely biological function, not a horrible stigma upon whatever woman has it. My theory is that part of the reason for getting an abortion is the fear of the shame of being an unwed teenage mother.
Step 2: Access to contraceptives. All this teaching doesn’t do any good if they can’t get the things they need for safe sex. This seems fairly self-explanatory. Expecting kids not to have sex because they have no access to condoms is like expecting to reduce the number of fires by removing fire extinguishers.
Step 3: Financial support for women who DO become pregnant. One of the determining factors in getting an abortion is “can I afford this baby?” If they get help with things like medical attention, maternity clothes, leave of absence from their job, a legitimate way to get affordable care for the child while the mother works her job… why, they might not get an abortion! Far too often the “pro-life” crowd seems to cease caring about the life once it is outside the womb. That’s not pro-life, that’s pro-fetus.
Now of course, there will be some concern over people abusing this, and saying “I’m pregnant, give me money.” There’s a really simple way around that. Give them funding in a way that can only be used towards legitimate enterprises. I obviously don’t know the most fool-proof method yet, but some thoughts I’ve had include:
- Something like food stamps, but used only towards things like maternity clothes, cribs, diapers, etc.
- “Pregnancy counselors” or something of the sort that you must go through to buy all these things. You must check in with them every so often for medical checkups and help planning and purchasing.
- Medical checkups would be required for proof of pregnancy.
This should be something both sides of the issue can get behind. It doesn’t impede on a woman’s right to choose, which will make pro-choice people happy, and it decreases the amount of abortions, which makes pro-lifers happy.