Let’s start this post with a little about me. I am adamantly, unapologetically pro-choice. I believe that all reproductive decisions belong to the person making them and not to anyone else without that person’s consent. As a matter of human decency, the full range of reproductive health services must be accessible (economically, geographically, logistically and any other adverb that seems applicable) to all people. Now, obviously I don’t find abortion to be morally suspect, but I am offended by how pro-abortion Rick Santorum is. Santorum loves abortions. Santorum wants more abortions. More and more and more and more and more abortions. Abortions for everyone! How do I know this anti-abortion man actually wants more abortions? Elementary, my dear Watson!* If you follow his stances on reproductive rights to their logical conclusions, you get more abortions. Santorum loves abortion.

Let’s look at birth control. I am going to assume that his opposition to contraception applies to both uterus-centered forms and penis-centered ones, but Santorum isn’t going after Trojan. No, only that birth control that requires a prescription. And everyone knows, having a doctor present is automatic consent for the government to intervene in reproductive healthcare. So, no birth control. No birth control means more unplanned pregnancies. More unplanned pregnancies mean more abortions. Santorum loves abortions.

But but but but, you may be thinking, Santorum is going to make abortion illegal! Surely that will prevent those unplanned pregnancies from becoming actual abortions. Wrong, my dear Watson. Making something illegal doesn’t prevent it from happening. Criminalization does not equal prevention. They are not even in the same building as each other. And I can prove it.

Let’s take the hypothesis that illegal abortion equals fewer abortions and legal abortion equals more abortions. How should we try to test this hypothesis since counting illegal abortions is an impossible task? Well, taking the second part of the hypothesis, more abortions should mean fewer babies. Fewer babies means a smaller population or smaller population growth. So let’s look at those numbers, and lucky for you I have made charts from the Census Bureau data for both population and population change!

First, raw population growth:

Source

Okay, nothing of note there. The population seems to be growing as it has grown. No weird drops in population between the 1970 and 1980 censuses.

Now for change rate of the population:

Source

More movement in the change rate, but nothing way out of the ordinary. The biggest drop in population growth was during the World War II decade. I could insert a snarky comment here about how war is worse for makin’ babies than abortion, but I’ll let you do that yourself.

So that’s the population. Let’s also take a look at births and birth rates.

Source

Roe v. Wade happened during a decline in total births numbers which have then climbed back up. With the birth rate, nothing stands out except for a small spike in 1971. From both of these, we also see again that World War II was way worse for births than Roe v. Wade.**

Legal abortion does not lead to a massive abortion wave, and illegal abortion does not stop nor prevent abortion. Behind those numbers are stories of people facing personal decisions about their families, made with all the individual data of a person’s life, including their own moral compass. Illegal abortion only hurts Americans. Those people that determine for their life and family to terminate a pregnancy will now be pushed to do so outside of a physician’s care. It means more people dying or facing complications from illegal abortions. It means you could lose a partner, a sibling, a parent, a child. It means a community loses someone. But let’s get back to Santorum and birth control.

Since we have established that making abortion legal or illegal only affects the safety of care people receive when terminating a pregnancy and doesn’t actually stop people from aborting, let’s talk about prevention. It makes sense to me that if fewer pregnancies are unintended then fewer pregnancies will be terminated. So the primary source of abortions are unintended pregnancies.*** The next logical question then is: how do unintended pregnancies happen? I am going to make a list!

  • Rape and domestic violence
  • Lack of access to contraception (economically, geographically)
  • Lack of sexuality education including positive relationship discussions (i.e. giving young people the tools to say “no” and the tools to hear “no”)
  • Failure of contraception

Contraception is on there twice! Here is the direct line: no birth control, more unintended pregnancies, more abortions. The other line: BIRTH CONTROL FOR EVERYONE, fewer unintended pregnancies, fewer abortions. Of course we need other infrastructure to compliment the accessibility of contraception (sex ed, economic justice, and ending rape culture to start). But Santorum wants you to give up your birth control, condoms, IUDs, diaphragms, and spermicides and supports failed, abstinence-only programs, which means more unplanned pregnancies.

And thus we have proof: Rick Santorum loves abortion.

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*I am a big geek and am currently geeking out over BBC’s Sherlock as well as reading the original stories.
**There is an entire other story here to be told about education and economic justice that could be part of the reason for the Baby Boom, but that’s another blog post.
***I am purposefully not addressing wanted pregnancies that tragically must be terminated due to a variety of medical reasons.

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