The Case for Free Contraception
Trump and the GOP are waging a runaway religious war against women’s health
Everyone loves fornicating;
it’s the oldest sport and the oldest business in the world. But we’ve now got 7.6 billion human products of fornication (and other forms of copulation) overpopulating the planet to prove the point.
Fornication without some form of birth control produces an exploding human population, straining government resources, degrading the environment and driving mass migration. If we could do just one simple thing to stabilize the globe, it would be to give the world’s women unrestricted, free access to modern contraception.
And yes, it turns out, government can play an important role in the bedroom. Look no farther than Colorado, the state that has also, wisely, made cannabis legal. This purple state with a Democratic governor and an open mind has offered free or low-cost access to intrauterine devices for poor young women since 2009. The result: Between 2009 and 2017, the state’s teen birth rate fell 54 percent, and the teen abortion rate declined 64 percent. As a bonus, according to The Denver Post, Colorado avoided paying nearly $70 million for labor and delivery costs, neonatal costs, medical expenses, food stamps and child care assistance because of fewer births to teen moms.
That strikes us as falling squarely within conservative values. But guess who’s opposed to that kind of stunning reduction in the abortion rate? Colorado Republicans, who briefly cut funding for the program in 2015 before it was restored. They can’t stand a government success story, and they lie in the name of religion by calling IUDS an abortifacient, which they are not. Apparently, Colorado Republicans would rather concuss America’s brains with a prayer book and see higher abortion rates than solve a problem with common contraception.
Unfortunately, this kind of reason-free, religious la-la land has dominated Washington for years, growing much worse in the Trump era. And America is far from the only casualty.
One of Donald Trump’s first acts as president was to re-implement the global gag rule that prohibits allocation of U.S. funding to foreign nongovernmental organizations that offer abortion services or talk about abortion. One year later, global health care workers say the result has been disastrous, with contraception clinics closing and unsafe and fatal abortions rising. Even if a clinic supplies birth control pills, condoms, IUDS or other nonabortion services, if it “talks about abortion,” it now gets zero U.S. funding and may have to close. A zero-tolerance abortion policy has produced a zero-tolerance contraception policy.
Marie Stopes International, a London-based abortion and contraception provider, estimates that the 2 million women it serves are losing access to all types of contraception from their organization alone due to the global gag rule defunding. The real impact is much larger and destructive when all global NGOS are combined. Making matters worse, Trump also ended U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund, the world’s largest provider of contraceptives and reproductive health services, serving 12.5 million women in more than 46 countries.
Overpopulation is worsening, environmental degradation is accelerating, and mass migration from poor countries to rich countries is booming. Meanwhile, the Republican Party is praying and telling the world to be fruitful and multiply, even as it sends troops to the border to confront a caravan of women and children.
With a Congress filled with new faces, now’s the time to lobby your (likely Democratic) representative and stop the right-wing war on women, logic and common sense. →Chelsea Handler is a comedian, author and activist. Glen Handler is her brother.