The Washington Post has a regular feature exploding myths about familiar topics. Its latest installment is about Planned Parenthood, beginning with the falsehood that federal money for a variety of valuable health services and family planning subsidizes abortion. It doesn’t. And those services tend to reduce the demand for abortion.
Contraception prevents the need for abortions, but most politicians who oppose abortion do not support birth control, either. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the chief House sponsor of a bill to bar abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood from Title X, has praised a few elements of the program: pregnancy tests, breast cancer screening and HIV testing. He never mentions Title X’s essential work for 41 years — to provide information about and access to birth control, which 99 percent of Americans will use in their lifetime.
Women spend about five years either being pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and about 30 years trying not to get pregnant; the Guttmacher Institute estimates that half of the country’s unintended pregnancies end in abortion. If Pence wants to prevent abortions, he should lead the charge to triple Title X funding.