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Pro-Choice or Anti-Abortion, everyone seems to agree that it would be better if there were fewer abortions in this country. Reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies (which currently total 3 million a year) is the single most direct way to achieve that goal.

California leads the nation in preventing unintended pregnancies through family planning, sex education and reproductive health programs, and these programs saved the state $2 million in medical and social services over the past five years. Yet legislators like Congressman Doolittle continue to oppose birth control measures that would further reduce the rate of abortion. Plan B, the “morning after pill,” currently prescription-only, (though the A.M.A. has endorsed it for over-the-counter use) has already averted 51,000 unwanted pregnancies, according to a recent Guttmacher Institute study. The pill is widely sold over the counter in most Western countries.

Of course abstinence would be better. But 800,000 teenagers get pregnant each year. Accidents happen (a lot). We tell people not to speed, but we provide air bags in case they do. We don’t say, “It’s their mistake; let ’em crash and burn.” Disseminating birth control and sex education reduces both unwanted pregnancies and abortions.



Gail Entrekin

Nevada City


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