Friday, April 21, 2006


One of the terms that have taken on a life of their own in recent years is "access." Whether it be "access" to contraceptives or "access" to abortion, we're told over and over again that poor women don't have "access" to something because they are poor. I'm still waiting for the NRA to say that low income men don't have "access" to guns because of the high cost for guns and bullets.

The fact is that low-income women have plenty of access to contraceptives. Plenty. Nothing stops a low-income woman from buying condoms or having her partner purchase condoms. Nothing. If a woman and her partner want to have sex, all she needs to steadfastly say is: "We're not having sex unless a condom is involved" and guess what?

That guy will go out and buy a condom.

Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton have recently written an op-ed (HT: Feministe) where "access" is mentioned.
"Most of these unintended pregnancies -- and the resulting abortions -- can be prevented if we eliminate the barriers that prevent women from having access to affordable and effective contraception."

What barriers prevent women from buying condoms? Are there invisible steel bars at the grocery store preventing women from grabbing a pack of Trojans? Are there invisible walls which stop women from getting a birth control prescription at their doctor's door?

Hillary and Harry later go on to diss South Dakota.
For example, a recent analysis by the non-partisan Guttmacher Institute revealed that South Dakota is one of the most difficult states for low-income women to obtain contraceptives.

What they conveniently don't mention is that South Dakota, which supposedly doesn't provide free contraceptives to poor women, has a much lower rate of abortion than states like New York and California which were given high marks with regards to contraception from the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

Why is it that according to the CDC, residents of South Dakota ( ranked 44th overall by the AGI) had an abortion rate of 6 (per 1,000 women aged 15-44) and an abortion ratio of 94 (per 1,000 live births) in 2002 when New York residents (5th overall by the AGI) had an abortion rate of 30 and an ratio of 462 in the same year? The last year the CDC records abortion statistics for California is 1997. At that time California (occurrences not residents since the resident statistics are basically non-existent in 1997) had an abortion rate of 38 and an abortion ratio of 525. California, by the way, was ranked #1 overall by the AGI. I'm sorry but with results like those, I don't think South Dakota is going to be running to New York and California for advice on lowering abortions.

Maybe, just maybe, a state's policies on giving out free contraceptives don't necessarily correlate to a lower abortion rate. Maybe some other factors apply, like, let's say, where a state pays for low-income women to have "access" to abortion. Or maybe what the average age of marriage is? Or maybe how abortion is seen by the residents of that state? Or maybe how unborn children are seen by residents of that state?

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