by Sheryll Bonilla, Esq.
Want to bring down the incidence of abortions? Start with the obvious – not getting pregnant in the first place.
One word: contraception. It works.
Delaware accounts for 0.2% of all abortions in the US, according to a 2022 report by the Guttmacher Institute. Delaware has the lowest abortion rate in the country, even though it ensured that abortion is accessible and available by doubling the number of clinics providing the procedure.
How did Delaware accomplish this? Increased access to contraception.
Unplanned pregnancies make up almost half of the 6 million pregnancies in the U.S. each year, and result in most abortions.
In 2009, Delaware had the highest unplanned pregnancy rate in the country. Newly elected Governor Jack Markell – a Democrat, repeat, a Democrat – set out to change that.
His goal was to reduce unplanned pregnancy by increasing access to contraception so that women can have more control over when they become pregnant. His administration made contraceptives affordable and universally available.
In a whopping three short years, Delaware’s abortion rate dropped steeply, 37%, more than four times the national decline, even though at the same time it increased abortion clinic access by 33%.
That is a statistic worth repeating. Markell’s Democratic approach to this issue sharply cut abortions by 37% even though it increased abortion availability by 33%. That proves that women would rather prevent the pregnancy in the first place and not have an abortion.
Markell’s success – without bans or restrictions – proved that the universal affordability and availability of contraception is what prevents abortions. It is a remarkable success, and it is a Democrat success.
The US Supreme Court could point out Delaware’s effectiveness in reducing the number of abortions to show that the goal of reducing abortion can be accomplished by less restrictive means.
Courts regularly review cases and decide based on methods that achieve goals through less restrictive means. There’s no fanfare in what Delaware did, no drama, no air of moral superiority.
The worst result of Alito’s Dobbs opinion is that a complete ban forces rape and incest victims to endure the psychological horror of daily remembrance of the sex crime committed on them. It’s difficult enough to live with the emotional pain of the attack without an ongoing reminder of that dreadful experience.
Resistance to universal access to contraception counteracts the goal of reducing the incidence of terminating pregnancies. Be realistic: people don’t have sex because they got contraceptives.
They do it for all the regular reasons – hormones, social pressure, media influences, dirty minds, etc. Prevent the unplanned pregnancy and you prevent the abortion. Contraception works.
A quick sidenote: poor women are often unable to buy menstrual pads so can’t work during their periods, making them poorer. Helping women afford their reproductive needs helps them and their families.
Delaware accounts for 0.2% of all abortions in the United States. Delaware achieved this amazing result by helping women with their reproductive health.
You want to be pro-life? Do it the right way, like Delaware did under Democratic Gov. Markell, with competence, sensibility, and respect.
Make contraception universally affordable and available. Its stunning success is undeniable.
by Sheryll Bonilla, Esq.