Rick Santorum: No Funding for Birth Control, Despite Its Obvious Benefits

OPINION

on October 20 2011 5:05 PM
Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum, a Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, would cut federal funding for birth control. Reuters

Rick Santorum, a 2012 candidate for the Republican Party nomination for U.S. president, would eliminate all federal funding for birth control if he were president, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania said in a recent interview.

One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is, I think, the dangers of contraception in this country, Santorum told interviewer Shane Vander Hart. It's not OK. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.

How are things supposed to be? Well, according to Santorum, sex is supposed to be within marriage. It's supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also procreative. That's the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. ... This is special, and it needs to be seen as special.

The idea, apparently, is that if we make birth control unaffordable, people just won't have premarital sex -- or even sex within marriage if they're not looking to have a baby. And that's as idiotic an idea as anything I've heard.

What would actually happen is that a small percentage -- a very small percentage -- of the women who could no longer afford birth control would stop having sex, and the rest would have sex anyway. Some would get lucky and not get pregnant, but overall, there would be nearly two million more unintended pregnancies, according to estimates from the Guttmacher Institute.

Under Santorum's Proposal, Abortions Would Likely Increase

There is no telling exactly how many of those women would have abortions, but the Guttmacher Institute estimates that if even two sources of federal funding for birth control -- Medicaid and Title IX -- were eliminated, the number of abortions would be about two-thirds higher than it is now.

Then again, under President Santorum, abortion wouldn't be legal, either. So those two million women would have two choices: get an illegal abortion or have the baby. Many would choose to have an illegal abortion, and many of those women would die or suffer serious complications. As for the women who decided to carry their pregnancy to term -- well, at least they could count on help from some government programs in raising the baby the government forced them to have.

Oh, wait.

So let's recap: in order to enforce this pie-in-the-sky principle of no non-procreative sex, Santorum would cut funding for the single most effective means we have of preventing abortions. Then, when the number of women who carried unintended pregnancies to term increased, he would slash the federal programs that would help them get by.

Honestly, Rick, do you live in this world? Do you really think you can make contraception less accessible and just magically make people have sex only to procreate? And do you really think you will make the country better by passing laws that are guaranteed to fail in pursuit of some lofty principle?

Contact Maggie Astor at m.astor@ibtimes.com.

More News from IBT MEDIA