You want to cut down on the number of abortions in the world? (Of course you do—we all do.) Make contraception widely available, and educate people on how to use it. Studies show that that’s the most effective way to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

Maybe someone can explain to me why people who claim to want to eradicate abortion would rather waste their time picketing and shaming a few women—and threatening health care workers—than fighting to make contraception accessible to all, because I honestly don’t get it. It makes no sense. Logic, science, decency, and rationality all argue for the increased use of contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions in this country.

Of course, I may value logic, science, decency, and rationality more than others. I mean, I must, right? Because this seems so fucking obvious to me.

I’m not being facetious here. I truly don’t get it. The only argument I’ve heard against making contraception more available is that it will lead to increased promiscuity. First of all, that has never been shown to be true—in fact, the more educated people are about sexuality and birth control, the later they’re likely to have sex and the more in control of its risks they will be.

Plus, come on . . . people have been enjoying sex for a very long time. We are biologically programmed to seek it out. People will have sex whether they’re prepared to have sex or not, and preparation (in the form of information and contraception) simply removes any undesired consequences, like an unwanted pregnancy or an STI. If you’re personally not in favor of having sex outside a monogamous marital relationship, then don’t. Live your life. But don’t impose your love of abstinence on anyone else. Like so many issues that people argue about in this country, the problem is easily solved if you simply allow people to make their own choices freely and leave them alone while they do so. You do you. I’ll do me.

But good luck to you, because abstinence doesn’t seem to work all that well, especially for teenagers. That whole biological programming thing works against it. Vowing to abstain when you’re at a fancy dinner in a pretty white dress with your parents is one thing; continuing to abstain when you’re alone with someone who touches you in all the right places is a different and much more difficult thing.

There is nothing wrong with two consenting adults having sex, so long as they take the proper precautions to stay healthy and in control of their reproduction.

Oh, hey, maybe you didn’t hear me. Let me repeat that: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH TWO CONSENTING ADULTS HAVING SEX SO LONG AS THEY HAVE ACCESS TO CONTRACEPTION.

Sex is great. It feels good, it allows two (or more) people to give each other mutual pleasure, and it’s free (except for the cost of contraception, which is why it should be subsidized by the government—it ultimately saves us all a lot of money in STI treatment and unwanted pregnancies). People should have sex. But they should have it wisely.

Of course, the truth is that misogyny, not morality, lies at the heart of people’s reluctance to embrace contraception—as it does at the heart of so many ridiculous beliefs. The idea that women should be pure and inviolate until their wedding day and then be at the disposal of their husbands is outdated, ridiculous, and sexist. Women are sexual beings, just like men. And yet many of the same people who applaud a man for having sex—he’s a player!—scold a woman for the same thing—she’s a slut! And that’s all coming out of the biological reality that women run the risk of getting pregnant and men don’t. Take away the risk of pregnancy and you level the playing field. But there are people who don’t want a level playing field. They tend to have penises.

There is no good or logical reason to be opposed to contraception. Sperm isn’t sacred—it’s a replenishable bodily fluid. Human beings don’t just have sex to reproduce. They have never just had sex to reproduce. And science—wonderful science, which has made all of our lives so much better, reducing disease and increasing food supply—has figured out a lot of really good smart ways to prevent an unintended consequence of a really enjoyable act.

You really, truly want to cut the number of abortions in this country? Donate generously to Planned Parenthood, because they provide contraception and educate people on how to use it, reducing huge numbers of unwanted pregnancies. And support political candidates who understand that education and access to contraception are far more effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies than abstinence-only programs and who will fight to make free contraception available in public high schools.

Oh, and do the world a favor: Allow science and rationality to guide your thoughts. It’s a better way to live.

mm

Author: Claire LaZebnik

Claire is the author of five novels for adults and four YA novels, including Epic Fail. With Lynn Kern Koegel, PhD, she co-wrote the non-fiction books Overcoming Autism and Growing up on the Spectrum. Her next novel,Things I Should Have Known, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017. She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Self Magazine, among many other publications, and contributed a monologue to the anthology play Motherhood Out Loud. Check out her website at www.clairelazebnik.com View all posts by Claire LaZebnik

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