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Reducing the U.S. abortion rate

Part 2 of three parts

Contraceptive (Birth Control)
methods for regulating fertility

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This topic is continued here from the previous essay

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Mechanical-barrier methods:

bullet The condom is the most common mechanical contraceptive. It is a latex sleeve that is placed over the erect penis. If properly applied, this physical barrier almost certainly keeps sperm from entering the woman's body. It has the added advantage of drastically reducing the chances of either partner contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

bullet Intra-uterine devices (IUDs) are believed by many pro-lifers to be an abortifacient; pro-choicers and physicians consider it a contraceptive. The two types that are currently available have a reported effectiveness rate of 99.4 and 99.9%. 1

bullet The diaphragm: This is a soft rubber cap that is inserted into the vagina and located over the cervix. It is often used with a spermicidal jelly or cream. It physically prevents sperm from entering the uterus, and kills any that come in contact with the spermicide.

bullet The cervical cap: This is like a diaphragm, except that it is smaller. It is shaped like a thimble and fits snugly over the cervix.

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Chemical-barrier methods:

bullet Regular usage of the contraceptive pill is generally considered to prevent conception by inhibiting ovulation. It is a very popular method of birth control.

bullet Emergency contraception (EC) or "the morning after pill:" Doctors sometimes prescribed multiple contraceptive pills to preveng prengancy in cases where a woman has had unprotected sex. "Plan B" is one such EC medication. The pills may prevent the release of an ovum if ovulation has not happened. Alternately, it may prevent it from being fertilized; in these cases, it acts as a contraceptive.

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The use of contraceptives:

"...research indicates that 7% of all women aged 15-44 do not use contraceptives; these women account for about half of all abortions." 2

Contraceptives are not effective at preventing pregnancy unless they are used consistently and correctly. A condom will not prevent conception if it remains in the man's pocket.

An overview of abortion was published in 2003-JAN by Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) and the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI). They concluded that:


More than 90% of couples report that "they use a contraceptive method during any given month, although not always correctly and [not] at every act of intercourse."


53% of women "who have unintended pregnancies were using a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant, although usually not correctly every time." 3

The Alan Guttmacher Institute conducted a study of women who had an abortion during the year 2000. They found that 46% of the women did not use a contraceptive method when they became pregnant. Eight percent had never practiced contraception. The women gave many reasons for not using contraceptives; some gave multiple reasons:


33% said they did not think that they could become pregnant. There is a widespread but false belief that a woman cannot become pregnant with her first act of sexual intercourse.


32% had concerns about the method chosen (side effects; past problems)


26% had not expected to engage in intercourse.


22% had not thought about contraception or had not yet begun using a method.


12% had problems obtaining contraception supplies.


5% were ambivalent about becoming pregnant.


2% did not want their parents to know they were sexually active.


1% had been forced to have sex. 2

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Adrienne Bonham, writing for "The Shriver Report," said:

"Despite advancements in contraceptive technology and the millions of dollars that is spent each year on contraception research and development, unplanned pregnancy rates in the U.S. have remained essentially unchanged for decades. The cost of these unplanned pregnancies is enormous, both in terms of public health and personal financial and emotional costs. ... While they occur in all socioeconomic groups, unplanned pregnancies tend to happen more frequently in the underserved -– women who are already financially and socially challenged. Approximately 50 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and of these, 43 percent will end in abortion." 4

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "More Women Opting For IUD Contraception. IUDs Improved Substantially Since Dalkon Shield," WXII12, at:
  2. Rebecca wind, "Emergency contraception (EC) played key role in abortion rate declines. In 2000 Alone, AGI Estimates EC Averted As Many As 51,000 Abortions," Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2002-DEC-17, at:
  3. "An Overview of Abortion in the United States," PRCH & AGI, 2003-JAN, at:
  4. Adrienne Bonham, "Why are 50 Percent of Pregnancies in the U.S. Unplanned?," The Shriver Report, 2013-OCT-21, at:

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Home > Abortion > Lowering rate > here

Home > "Hot" religious topics and conflicts > Abortion > Lowering rate > here

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Copyright © 1995 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last updated: 2016-JUL-01

Author: B.A. Robinson
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