Zero.

“Among women who don’t get pregnant, the abortion rate is zero.”

I saw that quote in the middle of a Bulwark article about today’s March For Life and it got me thinking. For those “pro-life” marchers, if they really want a world with no abortion — as they claim — it would only make sense to work toward a world where nobody gets pregnant unless they want a baby.

The cool thing is, we pretty much know how to do this. It’s not an overly complicated, much less mean-spirited, endeavor. We could support access to contraception, first and foremost, without all of the barriers and stigmas that currently exist. We could target funding and research toward better and safer long-acting reversible contraceptives like IUDs and hormonal implants, making them more widely available, more affordable, and even safer. We could address issues of systemic poverty, since we know that poverty is often a driving force behind unwanted pregnancies. We could prioritize and fund the educational programs that teach our nation’s youth (and for that matter, some of its adults) about their own sexual health, instead of continuing to propagate “abstinence only” programs that have been widely proven to champion ignorance and, as a result, wind up leading to more unwanted pregnancy. And that’s just a couple ideas for starters.

Here’s the truly amazing part of it, though: All of those things could be done without criminalizing women’s legitimate health care, without shouting down at-risk pregnant teenagers, without shaming young girls with purity culture nonsense, without women being scared to use period-tracking apps or have honest conversations with their doctors, without these insane laws that turn people into tattletale vigilantes against their fellow citizens for profit, without some congressman having a say in our bedrooms or doctor’s appointments, without a need to reconcile differing opinions on what constitutes the beginning of “life,” and without _ever_ accusing women who miscarry or tragically lose a much-wanted late-term pregnancy of the act of murder.

Oddly, though, I don’t think there was anyone marching today who really talked about these things. Weird, right? All of this passion about not wanting abortions to happen, but then not doing and/or advocating even the most basic things to prevent those unwanted pregnancies in the first place? It’s almost as though they don’t really want to reduce unwanted pregnancies, but instead just want to police the sex lives of ladyfolk. What’s that about?

Among women who don’t get pregnant, the abortion rate is zero.

Cool march, but what’s your actual priority?

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