A new article on so-called “emergency contraception” (hereafter: EC) was published last week in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
Its central finding:
We find that expanded access to EC has had no statistically significant effect on birth or abortion rates.
If you’ve been following the research on EC in recent years, you’ll recognize that this is not so much news as it is further confirmation that the ever-increasing propagation of EC has been an utterly failed strategy.
How utterly? Consider that when the FDA first approved EC pills in 1998, supporters predicted that “50 percent of all abortions and unintended pregnancies in this country could be avoided if women had access to emergency contraception.”
Since then, these predictions have proven to be hopelessly wrong.
A Staggering Increase in Planned Parenthood’s EC Numbers
Consider also that in 2001, the nation’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, distributed [PDF] 458,892 EC kits. Their EC numbers continued to increase substantially each year, and in 2004 [PDF], Planned Parenthood distributed nearly one million EC kits.
In 2011 [PDF] (the last year for which data are available), they distributed over 1.4 million EC kits—a staggering increase of 210% over the number they distributed in the first year of this century. (And let’s not forget that it’s you the taxpayer who is often the one footing the bill for the EC kits distributed by Planned Parenthood. Is it any wonder they unload so many?)
Yet all of those millions of megadoses of the regular birth control pill have had “no significant effect” on unintended pregnancy and abortion rates.
Even Princeton’s Dr. James Trussell—whose bio page notes that he is “a senior fellow at the Guttmacher Institute, a member of the National Medical Committee of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and a member of the board of directors of the NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation and the Society of Family Planning”—who has been one of EC’s biggest cheerleaders for decades has, in recent years, begun to backtrack on many of his earlier predictions.
In fact, earlier this week he was quoted in a Daily Mail article warning about a proposal in the UK that would “give all women access to ‘advance provision’ of emergency contraception.”
Quite simply, Trussell said, “I don’t think it’s a strategy that is going to lead to a reduction in unintended pregnancies or abortions.”
The article also noted:
[Trussell] also warned that there is also evidence to show the guidelines make women more inclined to have unprotected sex – as they come to regard the morning-after pill as a safety net.
Remember: this is not some longtime pro-lifer talking. Trussell has spent decades thumping the tub for EC, and with his connections to Planned Parenthood, the Guttmacher Institute, and NARAL, no one would question his “pro-choice” cred.
Increased Access to EC, Decreased Reports of Sexual Assault
There is, however, one finding from last week’s Journal of Policy Analysis and Management article that many will find eye-opening.
Noting that “access” to EC has increased in the last 15 years, the authors note that these expansions:
…have changed the venue in which the drug is obtained, shifting its provision from hospital emergency departments to pharmacies. We find evidence that this shift may have led to a decrease in reports of sexual assault. [emphasis added]
Earlier this year, when a federal judge ordered that EC be made available over-the-counter to all women (and girls) with no age restrictions, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards gushed that this was “wonderful news for women.”
Now that there’s evidence that increased access to EC has led to fewer rape victims actually reporting their assaults to police, what does Planned Parenthood have to say now?