Guttmacher Institute Responds to Philippine Daily Inquirer

Your article “Follow U.S. Lead in Rejecting RH Bill’ (February 21) includes a false claim by an official with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines who stated that the U.S. Congress “…decided to scrap a measure allowing funding for a federal family program and abortions.” In reality, no such thing happened. While the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure to remove funding for federal family planning assistance from the 2011 budget, that measure would have to be passed by the U.S. Senate and then be signed into law by President Obama. The chances of either happening are virtually non-existent.

In reality, the debate over contraception has long been settled in real-life America, with virtually every woman (and by extension their partner) who has ever had sex having used contraception. Research shows that the two-thirds of U.S. women who use contraception consistently and correctly account for only 5% of unintended pregnancies, while the one-third who are nonusers or inconsistent user account for the remaining 95% of unintended pregnancies. The challenge is to make contraception affordable and easy to use—not to throw up new barriers that make contraceptive use harder.

To that end, the U.S. family planning program that subsidizes contraceptive services and supplies for poor, low-income and young women has been a huge success: By helping women avoid pregnancies they do not want and to plan pregnancies they do, these services help avoid almost two million unintended pregnancies each year—thereby averting about 860,000 unintended births and 810,000 abortions. Without publicly funded contraception services, the U.S. abortion rate would be fully two-thirds higher than it is today. The fiscal benefits of these contraceptive services are significant, too, with every $1 invested yielding almost $4 in savings that would otherwise have been spent on pregnancy-related care.

In short, efforts by socially conservative U.S. lawmakers to defund contraceptive services for the poor are misguided, well outside the American mainstream and highly unlikely to succeed. Instead, if the Philippines adopted the U.S. model, it would make it easy and affordable for women to plan their pregnancies. Ultimately, allowing and supporting the use of contraceptives reflects the belief that women and their partners—and not politicians or other third parties—know best when the right time is to have children and how many children to have. This holds true in the Philippines as it does in the United States.

Sharon L. Camp, Ph.D.

President & CEO
Guttmacher Institute
125 Maiden Lane

3 Responses to Guttmacher Institute Responds to Philippine Daily Inquirer

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  2. Pingback: My reason for supporting the Reproductive Health Bill, as requested by Ms. Grace Nicolas of “Do It Right Advocacy”. « The Atheist Freedom Wall

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