Friday, September 30, 2011

Trost and Vellacott should be calling for end to abstinence only sex education

There are about 50 million abortions performed every year. The highest rates are in the former Eastern Bloc countries. The developing world is next followed by the developed world. As a general rule of numb, the higher the number of pregnancies the greater the abortion rate. This holds for the developing world as well as developed world as well. Access to legal abortion is not a very good predictor of the abortion rate. Abortion in Brazil, for example, is illegal, but the abortion rate there is several times higher than the abortion rate in Canada.

A recent UN report noted that "meeting the world's needs for modern birth control would reduce maternal deaths by 70 per cent, family planning would eliminate two-thirds of unintended pregnancies and three-quarters of unsafe abortions." However, until such time as women in developing countries have access to education and contraception, abortion is an issue aid agencies will have to deal with on a daily basis. Talk to any aid agency and you will get the same response. The Harper government's policy will mean worse health outcomes and will not result in any cost savings. It is far more cost effective to provide a woman with a safe legal abortion than it is helping her recover from a backstreet one.

Changing subjects, the delicious irony of the abstinence only sex education programs in the States is that not only do they contribute to teen pregnancy rates that dwarf anything found in Europe, the percentage of US teens having abortions is several times greater than the rate at which European teens are getting pregnant. For example, whereas the rate of US teenage girls getting pregnant is 79.8 and the abortion rate 27.5 per thousand, the rate at which teenage girls are getting pregnant in Holland is 8. 7 and abortion rate is 4.2. Just once I want to hear a anti abortion activist call for robust sex education programs in the States so as to cut down on the number of abortions.

No comments: