Abstinence is not the solution

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, March 03, 2006

In his new book "Our Endangered Values," former President Jimmy Carter, a born-again Christian, identifies the "pro-life" movement as being counterproductive to the goal of reducing abortions.

Carter notes that in most Latin American countries where abortions are illegal and few social services are available, estimated abortion rates are second highest in the world, after Eastern Europe. The rigid abstinence-only approach perpetuates ignorance by opposing sex education, family planning and contraceptives, and it increases the likelihood not only of abortion but of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.

By contrast, countries where sex education is prioritized and contraceptives are available, such as Canada and Western Europe, have the lowest rates of abortion and sexually transmitted diseases. Pro-lifers wish to deny counseling and contraceptive options as a means to reduce abortions. This is clearly a misconception.

Bret Schmiege


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