Are the conservatives who oppose abortion committing evil, even by their own standards?
A new Guttmacher Institute report released today demonstrates clearly that the best way to reduce abortions is to improve family planning.
Don't get me wrong, I applaud the Guttmacher report – it will add solid science to the debate. But I have to wonder: Why is such a report even necessary?
The irony is that conservatives, in their zeal to prevent abortions, have blocked family planning, thus increasing the number of abortions performed, probably far in excess of the "babies" they've managed to save.
Twenty or thirty years ago, I heard an interview with Dr. Carl Djerassi, the inventor of the first birth-control pill. He was pro-abortion too, but when someone criticized him on his beliefs, he said something like, "The thing we all agree on is the hope that one day no abortions will be neccessary." He went on to explain that birth control was the solution to the abortion problem. If families and women have access to effective family-planning services, abortions can become a thing of the past.
So ironically, the conservative agenda that opposes abortion and withholds other family-planning services, causes abortions to increase, exactly the opposite of their intention. If the Bush administration had simply funded family-planning services worldwide, and ignored the fact that some money was being used for abortions, they could have reduced the total number of abortions, surely a good thing from anyone's point of view.
Unfortunately, there is a terrible connection between AIDS and abortions, too. It's been shown time and again that the most effective way to prevent AIDS is with condoms. Abstinence programs are 100% ineffective, and in some cases I've heard they're even counterproductive.
The Bush administration's knee-jerk opposition to abortion caused them to withhold funds from places like equatorial Africa. The direct, measurable result of that is a terrible increase in the spread of AIDS. Even if you believe the human soul is injected by God at the moment of conception, and even if you believe that many babies were saved from abortion, more people are dying in the end, from illegal abortions, starvation, and AIDS.
It's the typical head-in-the-sand attitude we see so often from religious conservatives. They get on their soap boxes and yell about some commandment from God, without ever considering the real-life consequences of their actions.
If evil is defined as that which harms and kills, the Republican leaders who set America's international family-planning policy for the last decade or so were among the most evil in history. Literally millions of people around the world today have AIDS, simply because the United States withdrew family-planning money from countries that allowed abortions at their medical clinics.