The GOP Should Rekindle a Romance With Birth Control

There are solid conservative arguments for supporting family planning.

Birth Control
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Birth Control Reduces Human Suffering. Finally, contraception saves lives and reduces human suffering, a result religious conservatives, especially, can embrace. By allowing women to time and space their pregnancies, family planning could prevent up to one in three maternal deaths in the developing world. Spacing pregnancies adequately also reduces infant mortality and improves the health of children. When young brides are able to wait to have babies until their bodies are fully developed, they're less likely to develop obstetric fistula. And access to family planning also prevents abortions. More than half of all abortions in the developing world are unsafe, which killed around 47,000 women in 2008. All of those deaths could have been prevented if the unwanted pregnancy that led to them never happened.

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An estimated 222 million women around the world who want to delay or end childbearing don't have access to contraception. It's a number that's growing as today's young people – the largest generation in world history – reach their reproductive years and investments stall. In fact, we're spending 30 percent less in inflation-adjusted dollars on international family planning now than we did in 1995.

I know that I'll never persuade some conservatives that international family planning deserves their support. But when a single investment can save money, boost economies, stabilize nations and reduce human suffering, thoughtful people of all political persuasions should give it a second look.

40 years ago, birth control enjoyed strong bipartisan support. Helping our fellow man have a better life isn't a liberal issue or a conservative issue – it's a human issue. It's time to take the politics out of family planning.

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