Ideology and birth control

It’s one thing when facts are ambiguous, it’s only natural then that people will have ideological interpretations.  But, throughout the country, Republican legislators are uninterested in letting pesky things like facts, science, or empirical evidence get in the way of what they know to be true.  So frustrating when the result is worse public policy and actual human suffering for a result.

The latest from Colorado (via Steve Benen):

Colorado launched a health initiative a few years ago with a specific target: reducing teen-birth rates. To that end, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) implemented a program that provided tens of thousands of contraceptive devices at low or no cost.

The results were amazing: teen-birth rates dropped 40% in just five years. This week, the state even won an award from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, celebrating Colorado’s success story.

Ironically, the award came the same week Colorado Republicans chose to scrap the effective policy…

As one local report noted, “Opponents of the bill worried that increasing access to birth control would not have a net public health gain because it would increase promiscuity.” One GOP lawmaker accused the policy of “subsidizing sex.” Another said of the program, “Does that allow a lot of young women to go out there and look for love in all the wrong places?”

The amazing thing to remember here is that Colorado wasn’t talking about experimenting with a new policy measure; state lawmakers were considering whether to keep an existing policy in place. That’s important because, in this case, Colorado already knows the program was working.

In other words, Republican critics of the idea raised concerns that the policy might fail – which might be a credible point were it not for the fact that the policy has been in place for five years, offering real-world proof that those concerns are unfounded.

I half expected to find quotes from GOP lawmakers saying, “Sure, the idea works in practice, but does it work in theory?”

Or, as my FB friend who shared this succinctly summed it up:
Sure, why would we want to prevent abortion, poverty, crime, health problems, higher public spending, and other negative outcomes at little cost?
Well, that’s easy.  Old white men cannot seem to handle young women having sex.  At least if it’s not with them.

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

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