IUD’s for all!

When one considers what’s at stake, I’m absolutely amazed at how careless people are with their birth control.  Most “failures” of birth control are not actually about the birth control not working like it’s supposed to, but rather people failing to actually use it like their supposed to.  Of course, in the real world of preventing unwanted pregnancies, that’s a real problem.  Thus, it turns out that the new versions of the IUD (not the problematic ones of the past) are enormously effective birth control.  From Slate:

We’ve learned that some kinds of contraception are more prone to human error than others. But have we taken the lesson to heart? Half of the 3 million annual unintended pregnancies at any age in the United States occur among people using birth control. The pill is the most popular method, used by more than half of all women trying to avoid pregnancy. People believe it is highly reliable because it is over 99 percent effective when “used correctly” in supervised drug trials…

But the most dramatic result of Peipert’s study was that the risk of contraceptive failure was 22 times higher with the pill than with IUDs in adult women, and double that for teens. Just imagine, Peipert recently told me, if a miracle drug suddenly slashed cancer deaths or heart attacks by 95 percent. Every patient would demand it and no one would want the older therapies. The parent in the above example would sleep better at night knowing the teen’s risk of pregnancy was only 0.3 percent, instead of 10 percent. However, only 2 percent of teens and 4 percent of American women now get IUDs. More couples than that rely on withdrawal, which has an estimated 25 percent risk of failure, as their preferred contraceptive method.

Peipert makes another persuasive argument. Though this aspect of his research is still in peer review and awaiting publication, he suspects that the abortion rate can drop by half when women are given free access to IUDs. Again, imagine if a magic treatment suddenly made half the country’s abortions unnecessary. For what good reason would anybody be opposed?

Wow– I’m sold.  Doing all they can to dramatically expand the use of IUD’s could probably be the single most effective thing that pro-life persons could do to reduce abortions.  Something tells me that’s not going to happen.  That said, I don’t know exactly how to achieve it, but clearly we need to make IUD use way more widespread.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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