Restricted Access to Birth Control is Counter-Productive to Women's Health

A recent study, released by the Guttmacher Institute of New York and the World Health Organization shows that global abortion rates have stopped declining and have leveled off. The study goes on to say that the abortion rate has leveled off due to a decline of easily accessible birth control. Obviously, if accessibility to birth control becomes difficult than there will be an increase in unwanted pregnancy and thus abortion.

Restricted access to birth control coupled with the fact safe abortions are often heavily restricted have only served to increase unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. Just because there is restricted access to birth control or safe abortions does not mean unwanted pregnancies vanish, it only makes it more dangerous to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

If the desire is to reduce the number of unwanted pregancies, then restricted access to birth control is actually counterproductive. The study directly states, “Restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. Measures to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion, including investments in family planning services and safe abortion care, are crucial steps toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.”

Restricting access to reproductive health care, including safe abortions and birth control, is counterproductive to any plans that aim to decrease unwanted pregnancies and/or abortion rates. For example, when South Africa liberalized their abortion policy in 1997 maternal deaths due to unsafe abortions dropped by 90%. The country has the lowest abortion rate on the continent. Comparatively, the United States and Western Europe have much lower abortion rates than countries in Latin America and Africa where abortion and birth control is heavily restricted. In fact, birth control may have declined when the U.S., the largest distributor of birth control in impoverished countries, began diverting funding to AIDS research and mosquito nets. While funding for other health measures is vital, the emphasis on quality reproductive health care cannot wane, as it affects such a large part of the global population.

While everyone can agree on wanting to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, we can’t always agree on how to achieve that goal. However, it’s important for leaders to look at the clear facts and realize they have an obligation to offer easily accessible, safe, reproductive health care to women.   

Photo Credit: blmurch

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Matty Carville

Matty Carville is 17 and lives in New Orleans, LA. She is a reader, writer, and traveler. People have told her she should work in politics when she gets older as it is the "family business". She has ignored these people and will do whatever she pleases.

MORE FROM

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.

Theresa May announces pact with Northern Ireland's conservative DUP

10 of the DUP's MPs will vote alongside May's party in exchange for more than $1 billion of funds.

Supreme Court will hear case of baker who refused service to gay couples on religious grounds

The Supreme Court will take on the case of a bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care opposition, Trump on Russian meddling & Pakistan tanker explosion

The important stories to get you caught up for Monday morning.

Dozens missing after tourist boat carrying more than 160 passengers sinks in Colombia

At least six people are confirmed dead and dozens more unaccounted for.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's website hacked with pro-ISIS propaganda

The same attack also hit government websites in Brookhaven, New York, and Howard County, Maryland, according to reports.

Mom slams ACA repeal, shows what's at stake in a tweetstorm about son's health

This mom says that without the ACA, her son wouldn't get the medical care he desperately needs.

Theresa May announces pact with Northern Ireland's conservative DUP

10 of the DUP's MPs will vote alongside May's party in exchange for more than $1 billion of funds.

Supreme Court will hear case of baker who refused service to gay couples on religious grounds

The Supreme Court will take on the case of a bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Health care opposition, Trump on Russian meddling & Pakistan tanker explosion

The important stories to get you caught up for Monday morning.

Dozens missing after tourist boat carrying more than 160 passengers sinks in Colombia

At least six people are confirmed dead and dozens more unaccounted for.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's website hacked with pro-ISIS propaganda

The same attack also hit government websites in Brookhaven, New York, and Howard County, Maryland, according to reports.