Is One of These Things Not Just Like the Other? Why Abortion Can’t Be Separated from Contraception

Beverly Winikoff, MD MPH

We have come to a pretty pass: advocates of family planning, who have long believed they could shelter their cause from unending fundamentalist attacks on reproductive health services only if they could distance themselves from the subject of abortion, have received a rude shock. Family planning advocates who are opponents of mixing abortion with their contraception have suddenly awakened to the fact that the return tactic is merely to tar all contraception with the allegation that it, too, might be equivalent to abortion. In other words, making “abortion" into an unequivocally stigmatized word (and action) has drawn attempts to attach “abortion" to whatever aspect of reproductive care challengers wish to discredit.

How could we have been so confused in the first place? It has never been behaviorally, biologically or pragmatically sensible to try to promote contraception by segregating abortion. First, it may be helpful to review the history of how abortion was banished from the world of family planning and the misconstructions on which this tactic has been based.

This article is available to subscribers only.
Subscribe now or log in to read this article.