As a group, we hold diverse views on many issues; contraception is one of them. We therefore don’t have an overarching stance on contraception. We encourage anyone with a view on the efficacy of contraception in reducing abortion rates to engage in meaningful evidence-based debate. In this spirit, here are some facts:
- Being pro-life and being in favour of contraception are not mutually inclusive or exclusive positions. There is nothing about being opposed to abortion that implies a position on contraception either way.
- Contraceptive use greatly decreases the probability of pregnancy from any one act of sexual intercourse, which in turn decreases the number of unplanned pregnancies.
- No contraceptive (or fertility-awareness-based method) is guaranteed to avoid pregnancy.
- Anyone who is convinced of the humanity of the unborn child and of the pro-life message in general will not have an abortion, regardless of whether their pregnancy was planned, and regardless of whether they used contraception when they had sex.
- While there is mixed evidence on whether contraception decreases unplanned pregnancies and abortions (See footnotes 1,2,3,4,5,6), there is no evidence that it directly increases abortion.
Given these facts, we believe that abortion rates ultimately cannot be minimised as long as the rights of unborn babies are not recognised and protected, and so much of our advocacy necessarily focuses on putting forward arguments for doing just that.
In tandem, we advocate for policies, both as a group and as individuals, that will decrease the demand for abortion. These policies include, but are not limited to, assisting those in violent and abusive relationships, increasing social and financial supports for vulnerable families, tackling pregnancy discrimination. For many of us it also includes advocating for increased contraception access and usage; for others, it does not.
- The studies cited above are a small sample of the studies available and are provided for illustrative purposes only. It should be noted that most of the studies that show increased contraception leading to decreased abortion have a strong emphasis on Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs), which amongst other features have a low deviation between method and user effectiveness. The effects of other forms of contraception on unplanned pregnancy rates are perhaps more ambiguous ( https://www3.nd.edu/~kbuckles/condoms.pdf ). More generally, the effectiveness of contraception in preventing abortion, as opposed to preventing pregnancy, is by and large an unexplored area of the literature and warrants further research.