Planned Parenthood wants you to get out and vote!

Planned Parenthood recently released this political ad:

The bolded lines below are a transcription of the ad and the unbolded text are my first thoughts.

Can I be blatantly honest? My life is at stake in this next election. 
Yeah, lots of lives are at stake in that next election. Pro-lifers think about that a lot, trust me.

It is a matter of life and death to have access to quality health care.
It is a matter of millions of lives and deaths if we restrict or liberalize abortion law, considering how much the law affects abortion rates.

Birth control.
Most pro-lifers are fine with birth control. In general people are a lot more fine with birth control than with abortion.


To safe and legal abortion.
Hard pass here.

And accurate sexual education.
Again, agreed.

And that’s not happening right now.
Which part? Contraception use has held steady for well over a decade, and comprehensive sexual education sees wide public support. Planned Parenthood always tries to soften its abortion-on-demand efforts with these other very popular endeavors, but once again they’re really just talking about abortion.

Our reproductive rights have come into question yet again.
If you mean we question whether elective abortion should be a reproductive right, that’s true. No matter who wins the next election, that question is not going away.

I was a young nurse when Roe v. Wade was passed. Now we worry about protecting it every day.
Good. Roe, and the American abortion laws allowed by it, are ridiculous.

There is no reason politicians should be telling me when or if I can build a family.
Are there politicians telling you this? We aren’t saying you either can’t have sex or must have sex. We’re saying don’t kill anyone as a result of your freely made sexual choices. This isn’t actually The Handmaid’s Tale.

We need to go forward, not backward.
Yes! Forward into a society where we don’t legally kill hundreds of thousands of our offspring every year.

We didn’t always have the right to vote. Many of my family members grew up in segregation.
We’re very pro-voting and anti-segregation. *fist bump


My dad grew up in a country where he didn’t have a voice. But I do.
Voting is a way to do something when you wish you could just do something.
That’s the whole point of our system! 
It’s the basis of our democracy.
Yes! Voting is a way to try to create a society that reflects our values and priorities. Or, as pro-choice people like to phrase it, it’s a way of imposing our morality on everyone else, amirite?


Politicians think they decide what we do with our own bodies? 
If by “what we do with our own bodies” you mean non-defensively killing tiny humans, then yes, certain politicians–and the millions of American men and women who voted for them–think we should outlaw that.


But guess what?
We decide. 
To go out there and make the change that we want to see.
We decide who our leaders are. 
Nosotros elegimos nuestro futuro. [We choose our future.]
We decide our future.
And more specifically, apparently, whether the children we carry will even have a future.


We decide.
We decide.
Indeed. We will see you at the ballot box.

Planned Parenthood wants you to get out and vote!

Planned Parenthood recently released this political ad:

The bolded lines below are a transcription of the ad and the unbolded text are my first thoughts.

Can I be blatantly honest? My life is at stake in this next election. 
Yeah, lots of lives are at stake in that next election. Pro-lifers think about that a lot, trust me.

It is a matter of life and death to have access to quality health care.
It is a matter of millions of lives and deaths if we restrict or liberalize abortion law, considering how much the law affects abortion rates.

Birth control.
Most pro-lifers are fine with birth control. In general people are a lot more fine with birth control than with abortion.


To safe and legal abortion.
Hard pass here.

And accurate sexual education.
Again, agreed.

And that’s not happening right now.
Which part? Contraception use has held steady for well over a decade, and comprehensive sexual education sees wide public support. Planned Parenthood always tries to soften its abortion-on-demand efforts with these other very popular endeavors, but once again they’re really just talking about abortion.

Our reproductive rights have come into question yet again.
If you mean we question whether elective abortion should be a reproductive right, that’s true. No matter who wins the next election, that question is not going away.

I was a young nurse when Roe v. Wade was passed. Now we worry about protecting it every day.
Good. Roe, and the American abortion laws allowed by it, are ridiculous.

There is no reason politicians should be telling me when or if I can build a family.
Are there politicians telling you this? We aren’t saying you either can’t have sex or must have sex. We’re saying don’t kill anyone as a result of your freely made sexual choices. This isn’t actually The Handmaid’s Tale.

We need to go forward, not backward.
Yes! Forward into a society where we don’t legally kill hundreds of thousands of our offspring every year.

We didn’t always have the right to vote. Many of my family members grew up in segregation.
We’re very pro-voting and anti-segregation. *fist bump


My dad grew up in a country where he didn’t have a voice. But I do.
Voting is a way to do something when you wish you could just do something.
That’s the whole point of our system! 
It’s the basis of our democracy.
Yes! Voting is a way to try to create a society that reflects our values and priorities. Or, as pro-choice people like to phrase it, it’s a way of imposing our morality on everyone else, amirite?


Politicians think they decide what we do with our own bodies? 
If by “what we do with our own bodies” you mean non-defensively killing tiny humans, then yes, certain politicians–and the millions of American men and women who voted for them–think we should outlaw that.


But guess what?
We decide. 
To go out there and make the change that we want to see.
We decide who our leaders are. 
Nosotros elegimos nuestro futuro. [We choose our future.]
We decide our future.
And more specifically, apparently, whether the children we carry will even have a future.


We decide.
We decide.
Indeed. We will see you at the ballot box.

Book Review: “Sex Ed for Everyone”

Above: A free sample panel from the “Sex Ed for Everyone”
comic by Sophie LaBelle. Click to enlarge.

Sophie LaBelle, best known as the artist behind Assigned Male Comics, recently came out with a new comic book entitled “Sex Ed For Everyone.” Featuring many of the same characters as her regular Assigned Male series, “Sex Ed for Everyone” is aimed at teenagers who are dissatisfied with the scope of sex education they are receiving in school.

It’s important to note that “Sex Ed for Everyone” is not a substitute for comprehensive sex education. Pregnancy is not covered, so you will not find adorable cartoon depictions of prenatal development (I know, I was disappointed too). There’s also not much in the way of contraceptive knowledge or STI prevention, beyond a brief mention of male and female condoms.

But it was clearly never LaBelle’s intent to be a one-stop shop for sexual health information. Instead, “Sex Ed for Everyone” is best thought of as a supplement to sex education, particularly on matters of sexual identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression.

Judged on that metric, the book does an admirable job. To give you a sense of its tone, here are a few points I particularly appreciated:

  • “I think it’s a shame that we don’t hear much about the variety of bodies out there. It’s one thing to tell us that the majority of people aren’t trans, intersex, or disabled. It’s another to tell us that we don’t need to learn about them.”
  • Speaking about queer teens making the decision not to have sex, one character notes: “The need for belonging might pressure people into situations they don’t actually want.”
  • And then there’s this fantastic dialogue: “I’m scared to get pressured into having sex. When do you know you’re ready?” “It’s true that it can feel overwhelming, but it’s totally OK to take your time. Maybe you’ll never ‘be ready’ and that’s also fine.”
These messages are especially important for LaBelle’s trans and queer audience, because sexual minority youth are actually more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy than their cis, straight peers. That might seem like a paradox, but when you consider the cultural pressure that some lesbians and bisexuals are under to “appear straight,” the risk of reluctant sexual intercourse is apparent. In fact, when I was a student at the University of Miami, our pro-life student group hosted a speaker who had been in that very situation — twice. (Her first pregnancy tragically ended in abortion after she received deceptive counseling; for her second, she chose life.)
“Sex Ed for Everyone” is available on Etsy.

Book Review: “Sex Ed for Everyone”

Above: A free sample panel from the “Sex Ed for Everyone”
comic by Sophie LaBelle. Click to enlarge.

Sophie LaBelle, best known as the artist behind Assigned Male Comics, recently came out with a new comic book entitled “Sex Ed For Everyone.” Featuring many of the same characters as her regular Assigned Male series, “Sex Ed for Everyone” is aimed at teenagers who are dissatisfied with the scope of sex education they are receiving in school.

It’s important to note that “Sex Ed for Everyone” is not a substitute for comprehensive sex education. Pregnancy is not covered, so you will not find adorable cartoon depictions of prenatal development (I know, I was disappointed too). There’s also not much in the way of contraceptive knowledge or STI prevention, beyond a brief mention of male and female condoms.

But it was clearly never LaBelle’s intent to be a one-stop shop for sexual health information. Instead, “Sex Ed for Everyone” is best thought of as a supplement to sex education, particularly on matters of sexual identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression.

Judged on that metric, the book does an admirable job. To give you a sense of its tone, here are a few points I particularly appreciated:

  • “I think it’s a shame that we don’t hear much about the variety of bodies out there. It’s one thing to tell us that the majority of people aren’t trans, intersex, or disabled. It’s another to tell us that we don’t need to learn about them.”
  • Speaking about queer teens making the decision not to have sex, one character notes: “The need for belonging might pressure people into situations they don’t actually want.”
  • And then there’s this fantastic dialogue: “I’m scared to get pressured into having sex. When do you know you’re ready?” “It’s true that it can feel overwhelming, but it’s totally OK to take your time. Maybe you’ll never ‘be ready’ and that’s also fine.”
These messages are especially important for LaBelle’s trans and queer audience, because sexual minority youth are actually more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy than their cis, straight peers. That might seem like a paradox, but when you consider the cultural pressure that some lesbians and bisexuals are under to “appear straight,” the risk of reluctant sexual intercourse is apparent. In fact, when I was a student at the University of Miami, our pro-life student group hosted a speaker who had been in that very situation — twice. (Her first pregnancy tragically ended in abortion after she received deceptive counseling; for her second, she chose life.)
“Sex Ed for Everyone” is available on Etsy.

Your experiences with CPCs and pregnancy resource centers.

About a week ago we asked our followers what experiences they’ve had with pregnancy resource centers. You can read all the responses here, but below are some key selections.

Those who have volunteered or worked for a center:

Sarah I:
I volunteer for one. I usually do whatever task they need me to do. One day, they asked me to sit at the front desk and answer phones. A woman came in for an ultrasound. She was leaning toward abortion. She was 14 weeks along. She came out of the ultrasound room afterwards and said to me, “Wow! It’s definitely a baby! I thought it was going to look like a grain of rice or something. I’m definitely going to have this baby.” That reminded me how so many people are not aware of what abortion really does and how early we have developmental milestones.

Leticia C: Helping! One time I helped carry a stroller with a baby in it down the stairs. On two other occasions I listened to pregnant mamas tell their stories which were very eye-opening… just being able to authentically care for someone and for them to know that they are cared for is pretty darn memorable.

Christine N: Had a pregnant client who told me how her boyfriend wasn’t nice to her. Hinted he was sometimes physical. I tried to offer her help to get her out of that situation but she didn’t want to leave him and be single with a baby. She never came back and always wondered what happened to her.

We had a young woman, 19 or 20 who was pregnant with her 3rd child. She had started coming to us when she was expecting her 2nd. I couldn’t help but wonder if the center promoted more than abstinence (biblical sexuality) if she would have avoided that 3rd pregnancy.

I had more than one client who was abortion-minded change her mind once she found out about all the help we could offer during and after pregnancy.

In all the women I had seen for a pregnancy test not a single one during our initial question form said yes that they were using birth control or condoms.

Countless smiling women and their kids coming in weekly for various classes, or just to talk to one of the volunteers made it all worth while.

Erin S: I fund raise and throughout the year I collect items for their “boutique” periodically when they need things. I’m doing it now actually, my mom volunteers for them and noticed they were low on things. So, I’m trading stuff on Facebook for baby items. They send out a card every month with how many women they are helping have a due date that month. It’s usually 30 or so each month. www.cpcfriends.org

Aron R: I work for a PRC. We are seeing a lot of immigrants for parenting classes and material assistance. We have also had an influx of abortion minded women seeking information and several have changed their mind recently.

Christina H: Had a young woman come into the center I volunteer at a couple weeks ago. She wanted to thank us. HER MOTHER had been a client 20 years ago. This young woman was certain she wouldn’t be here if our center hadn’t been around back then.

A woman who had bad experiences with a center:

Stefanie F: I went to a CPC a pregnant 17 year old from rape. I refused my family’s demand to abort. I wanted parenting resources and counsel to prepare for that. Instead, I was told not only would they not help me parent, but that I must put the baby up for adoption. Single motherhood was a “sin” and there were married couples who could give my baby so much more than I could. I was given a binder of waiting PAPs and told to pick a couple. I had a meltdown because they were trying to take my baby away. Turns out the counselor has a sister who worked for DSS seeking to adopt a baby on the cheap. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was told either let her sister adopt my baby or CPS would take her at birth anyway. They helped my family force me into an adoption. To make a long story short, the counselors sister didn’t want my daughter, because she wasn’t “white.” So my daughter ended up being adopted by paternal relatives. Never will I send a vulnerable woman to a CPC. Too many push adoption as the default option, instead of the last one. (Abortion isn’t an option.)




Women who had good experiences with a center:

Sarah Y: Yes, I was 17. Pregnant. They did testing for me, then counseling, and gave me all the options. I appreciated the honesty. Was really nice to have someone sit down and talk with me about priorities and future goals. Helped me put things into perspective and made it seem less daunting somehow. 20 years later, my daughter is amazing and I feel so blessed to have had such an amazing person to help me so long ago.

Crystal K: I went to one for most of my pregnancy and a couple times afterward. I wanted to take advantage of their parenting classes before my baby arrived. My counselor was incredibly wonderful and kind, and they helped my little family with baby clothes and equipment we needed. I learned so much there that’s been helpful and I’m so thankful.


Margaret K: A friend of mine thought she might be pregnant. So she went to a CPC in Texas and they told her that the test was negative but it’s still early so there might not be enough of the pregnancy hormone and to come back tomorrow and they can do an ultrasound. But they just sat and talked with a very scared single 21 year old. They talked to her about how she can handle it. If she is pregnant it’s a baby not a problem. And they really humanized her potentially nonexistent child for her.
When she got the ultrasound she discovered it was a failed implantation and they grieved with her. They let her experience her emotions. She is considering going to volunteer there.

Varina H: Yes, they are very helpful. Still help me with maternity clothes, vouchers for baby clothes, lots of moral support, free ultrasounds, and said when the baby is born to go back and they will give me a baby shower basket with lots of clothes and diapers and other things. They help with baby furniture, have counseling and parenting classes for free, and help with children’s clothes as well. Super grateful for all the help I’ve received.

Your experiences with CPCs and pregnancy resource centers.

About a week ago we asked our followers what experiences they’ve had with pregnancy resource centers. You can read all the responses here, but below are some key selections.

Those who have volunteered or worked for a center:

Sarah I:
I volunteer for one. I usually do whatever task they need me to do. One day, they asked me to sit at the front desk and answer phones. A woman came in for an ultrasound. She was leaning toward abortion. She was 14 weeks along. She came out of the ultrasound room afterwards and said to me, “Wow! It’s definitely a baby! I thought it was going to look like a grain of rice or something. I’m definitely going to have this baby.” That reminded me how so many people are not aware of what abortion really does and how early we have developmental milestones.

Leticia C: Helping! One time I helped carry a stroller with a baby in it down the stairs. On two other occasions I listened to pregnant mamas tell their stories which were very eye-opening… just being able to authentically care for someone and for them to know that they are cared for is pretty darn memorable.

Christine N: Had a pregnant client who told me how her boyfriend wasn’t nice to her. Hinted he was sometimes physical. I tried to offer her help to get her out of that situation but she didn’t want to leave him and be single with a baby. She never came back and always wondered what happened to her.

We had a young woman, 19 or 20 who was pregnant with her 3rd child. She had started coming to us when she was expecting her 2nd. I couldn’t help but wonder if the center promoted more than abstinence (biblical sexuality) if she would have avoided that 3rd pregnancy.

I had more than one client who was abortion-minded change her mind once she found out about all the help we could offer during and after pregnancy.

In all the women I had seen for a pregnancy test not a single one during our initial question form said yes that they were using birth control or condoms.

Countless smiling women and their kids coming in weekly for various classes, or just to talk to one of the volunteers made it all worth while.

Erin S: I fund raise and throughout the year I collect items for their “boutique” periodically when they need things. I’m doing it now actually, my mom volunteers for them and noticed they were low on things. So, I’m trading stuff on Facebook for baby items. They send out a card every month with how many women they are helping have a due date that month. It’s usually 30 or so each month. www.cpcfriends.org

Aron R: I work for a PRC. We are seeing a lot of immigrants for parenting classes and material assistance. We have also had an influx of abortion minded women seeking information and several have changed their mind recently.

Christina H: Had a young woman come into the center I volunteer at a couple weeks ago. She wanted to thank us. HER MOTHER had been a client 20 years ago. This young woman was certain she wouldn’t be here if our center hadn’t been around back then.

A woman who had bad experiences with a center:

Stefanie F: I went to a CPC a pregnant 17 year old from rape. I refused my family’s demand to abort. I wanted parenting resources and counsel to prepare for that. Instead, I was told not only would they not help me parent, but that I must put the baby up for adoption. Single motherhood was a “sin” and there were married couples who could give my baby so much more than I could. I was given a binder of waiting PAPs and told to pick a couple. I had a meltdown because they were trying to take my baby away. Turns out the counselor has a sister who worked for DSS seeking to adopt a baby on the cheap. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was told either let her sister adopt my baby or CPS would take her at birth anyway. They helped my family force me into an adoption. To make a long story short, the counselors sister didn’t want my daughter, because she wasn’t “white.” So my daughter ended up being adopted by paternal relatives. Never will I send a vulnerable woman to a CPC. Too many push adoption as the default option, instead of the last one. (Abortion isn’t an option.)




Women who had good experiences with a center:

Sarah Y: Yes, I was 17. Pregnant. They did testing for me, then counseling, and gave me all the options. I appreciated the honesty. Was really nice to have someone sit down and talk with me about priorities and future goals. Helped me put things into perspective and made it seem less daunting somehow. 20 years later, my daughter is amazing and I feel so blessed to have had such an amazing person to help me so long ago.

Crystal K: I went to one for most of my pregnancy and a couple times afterward. I wanted to take advantage of their parenting classes before my baby arrived. My counselor was incredibly wonderful and kind, and they helped my little family with baby clothes and equipment we needed. I learned so much there that’s been helpful and I’m so thankful.


Margaret K: A friend of mine thought she might be pregnant. So she went to a CPC in Texas and they told her that the test was negative but it’s still early so there might not be enough of the pregnancy hormone and to come back tomorrow and they can do an ultrasound. But they just sat and talked with a very scared single 21 year old. They talked to her about how she can handle it. If she is pregnant it’s a baby not a problem. And they really humanized her potentially nonexistent child for her.
When she got the ultrasound she discovered it was a failed implantation and they grieved with her. They let her experience her emotions. She is considering going to volunteer there.

Varina H: Yes, they are very helpful. Still help me with maternity clothes, vouchers for baby clothes, lots of moral support, free ultrasounds, and said when the baby is born to go back and they will give me a baby shower basket with lots of clothes and diapers and other things. They help with baby furniture, have counseling and parenting classes for free, and help with children’s clothes as well. Super grateful for all the help I’ve received.

Pro-choice states have just as many unintended pregnancies, and far more abortions

If you’re into a lot of graphs and number crunching, read on. If you’re not, here’s the bottom line: compared to pro-life states, pro-choice states have more insurance coverage of contraception yet have roughly the same rates of unintended pregnancies and much higher rates of abortion.

In early 2015 the Washington Post published the article “States that are more opposed to abortion rights have fewer abortions — but not fewer unintended pregnancies.” Author Aaron Blake notes:

In fact, some of the states that oppose abortion the most also have some of the highest rates of unintended pregnancies — particularly in the South. And on average, the states that favor abortion rights the most have slightly lower levels of unintended pregnancies.

Blake elaborates:

Mississippi, for instance, is the state that opposes abortion rights the most, according to Pew, with 64 percent generally opposing the procedure. It is also the state with the most unintended pregnancies, at 62 percent of all pregnancies, according to Guttmacher. After accounting for fetal loss, about two-thirds of those unintended pregnancies were brought to term.

By contrast, Massachusetts is one of the most pro-abortion-rights states, with just 28 percent of people opposing the procedure. But it’s also on the low end as far as the percentage of unintended pregnancies (44 percent). Far fewer — 43 percent — of those pregnancies were brought to term.

In both his article’s title and text Blake seems to imply a correlation between anti-abortion attitude and higher proportions of unintended pregnancies. This implication seems plausible because Blake focuses on only two data points among all 50 (51 if you count the District of Columbia). In fact if you plot the two states Blake highlights–Mississippi and Massachusetts–you get this graph:

So anti-abortion views mean more unintended pregnancies. The irony!

And yet the only time Blake addresses trends across the whole country, he admits:

On average in the 10 states that oppose abortion the most, 51 percent of pregnancies are unintended. In the top 10 states that most favor abortion rights, it’s 50 percent. From here on I refer to states that oppose abortion as “pro-life states” and states that favor abortion rights as “pro-choice states.”

In other words, the two groups hardly differ at all. Out of curiosity I dug up the numbers used to measure unintended pregnancy (from Guttmacher) and abortion opposition (from Pew Research Center). (I found slightly different data than the numbers Blake cites. I suspect we’re drawing from Pew Research data sets in different years.) Instead of comparing only the 10 most pro-life states to the 10 most pro-choice states, I looked at all 50 states (and DC). Here’s what it looks like when you don’t cherry pick:

I guess reality was too boring for WaPo.

So when you look at the whole data set (instead of only Mississippi compared to Massachusetts, or only the top 10 pro-life states compared to the top 10 pro-choice ones), there appears to be no relationship at all between views on abortion and unintended pregnancy.

Note the above graphs look at the proportion of pregnancies that were unintended, not the proportion of women with unintended pregnancies (called the “unintended pregnancy rate”). However I checked that data too (it’s available in the same Guttmacher link above), and when you compare abortion sentiment to unintended pregnancy rate, the result is basically the same, with an R^2 of 0.0011.

I found this lack of correlation interesting. Pro-choicers often claim the best way to decrease abortion is not through outlawing abortion but through better access to contraception. If that theory is true, I would expect the states most open to abortion to also have lower unintended pregnancy rates, because (1) pro-choice states are more left-leaning, (2) left-leaning states are more likely to support better access to contraception, and (3) better access to contraception is supposed to decrease unintended pregnancies and thus abortion rates.

And yet the above graphic suggests that pro-choice states have no lower unintended pregnancy rates than pro-life states. Why is that? A few possibilities jump to mind:

  1. Pro-choice states don’t necessarily have better access to contraception than pro-life states.
  2. Pro-choice states do have better access to contraception, but that doesn’t actually decrease unintended pregnancy rates (and thus abortion rates).
  3. Pro-choice states have better access to contraception, and better access does decrease unintended pregnancy rates, but some other factor in those states increases unintended pregnancy rates, thus cancelling the contraception effect.

I decided to dig a bit more. I used the same Guttmacher and Pew Research data linked above for unintended pregnancy info and state attitudes about abortion. To measure state access to contraception I used data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which outlines which states require coverage of prescription contraception, related outpatient services, and no cost contraception coverage. I also looked at data collected by the National Women’s Law Center regarding which states have contraceptive equity laws (i.e. laws that require insurance plans to cover a full range of contraceptives for women). I assigned each state a contraception score by giving 1 point for each law or coverage requirement, with a maximum of 4 points.

Pro-choice states have more contraception access requirements.

States with zero contraception coverage requirements had an average of 49% of their populations say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. States with 2 or 3 contraception coverage requirements had 41% and 38% say abortion should generally be illegal. And states with all 4 contraception coverage requirements had only 32% of their populations say abortion should be illegal all or most of the time.

States with more contraception access requirements don’t see lower unintended pregnancy rates.

I then averaged the unintended pregnancy rates for states based on their contraception score and it looked like this:

(There were no states with a score of 1. Every state that had contraception access requirements in place had two or more such requirements.)

The states with the most contraception coverage requirements had the lowest unintended pregnancy rate at 44 per 1,000 women age 15-44. The states with zero contraception coverage requirements had the next lowest rate at 45.95. The states in between—with 2 or 3 contraception coverage requirements—had higher unintended pregnancy rates at 50.25 and 49.08 respectively. In other words, there’s no obvious relationship between states’ contraception coverage requirements and their unintended pregnancy rates.

States with no contraception access requirements have lower abortion rates.

Since I already had the data handy, I also compared state contraception access requirements to abortion rates:


The states with zero contraception coverage requirements had the lowest abortion rates at 9.68 abortions per 1,000 women age 15-44. States with 2, 3, and 4 contraception coverage requirements had rates of 14.58, 15.14, and 14.00, respectively.

This result could imply that contraception access actually increases abortion rates, and many pro-lifers try to make that claim. Their theory is that whenever you have a desirable but risky action (sex), the more you lower the risk, the more often people will take that action. If people think the risk is lowered more than is actually the case (e.g. if the contraception they’re using or the way they’re using it isn’t as effective as they think), then they may be actually increasing their risk exposure by taking a risky action more often without proportionally decreasing the risk in each instance. This theory is plausible because states with more contraception access requirements do not have lower unintended pregnancy rates. Perhaps these populations lower the risk of a given instance of sex by using contraception, but increase their overall risk exposure by having sex more often without using contraception consistently or correctly.

Pro-choice states have higher abortion rates.

Alternatively, perhaps the high contraceptive states have higher abortion rates simply because they are more pro-choice states. Given roughly equal unintended pregnancy rates, we’d expect the populations that support abortion to have higher abortion rates, and the data bears that out.

This trend may be due to social influences. It’s possible that women experiencing unintended pregnancies in more pro-life states experience more pressure not to abort, more encouragement and support to carry their pregnancies, or both, and that women in more pro-choice states experience the opposite. It’s hard to measure how much social pressures influence these decisions.

Either way, though, there’s little doubt that legal restrictions also influence women’s choices. To measure state-by-state legal restrictions, I again turned to Guttmacher. I assigned each state points based on whether they had the following restrictions in place and, if so, to what degree. The potential restrictions include:

  1. Whether the abortion must be performed by a licensed physician
  2. Whether and when the abortion must be performed at a hospital
  3. Whether and when a second physician must be present
  4. Whether and when abortion is prohibited (except life or health of the mother)
  5. Whether partial birth abortion is banned
  6. Whether public funding can be used for most abortions or very few abortions
  7. Whether private insurance has to cover abortions
  8. Whether individuals can refuse to participate in abortions
  9. Whether and when institutions can refuse to participate in abortions
  10. Whether there is mandated counseling regarding either an abortion breast cancer link, fetal pain, negative psychological effects, or any combination of those factors
  11. Whether and how long mandatory waiting must be
  12. Whether parents have to be notified or have to consent to their kids’ abortions

States with more legal restrictions garnered more points with a maximum possible 12 points. Unsurprisingly, there was an inverse correlation between the number of abortion restrictions and the proportion of unintended pregnancies aborted.


Contraception is not a panacea for abortion.

Pro-choice people repeatedly claim that if we truly care about lowering abortion rates we should support pro-choice policies and politicians who promote contraception access. As I’ve written about previously, this theory isn’t backed by the evidence. There’s some research to suggest contraception access—especially access to long acting reversible contraception—can help, but so far, the evidence I’ve found continues to show that the abortion rate decreases more when there are more abortion restrictions than it does when there is more access to contraception.

Secular Pro-Life supports contraception as non-violent healthcare for women, but it is only one tool in the abortion prevention toolbox. It is not a substitute for laws that recognize the rights of human beings in the womb.

Related Articles:
More evidence that abortion restrictions decrease abortion rates.
Link collection: Evidence that pro-life laws mean fewer unplanned pregnancies.

Pro-choice states have just as many unintended pregnancies, and far more abortions

If you’re into a lot of graphs and number crunching, read on. If you’re not, here’s the bottom line: compared to pro-life states, pro-choice states have more insurance coverage of contraception yet have roughly the same rates of unintended pregnancies and much higher rates of abortion.

In early 2015 the Washington Post published the article “States that are more opposed to abortion rights have fewer abortions — but not fewer unintended pregnancies.” Author Aaron Blake notes:

In fact, some of the states that oppose abortion the most also have some of the highest rates of unintended pregnancies — particularly in the South. And on average, the states that favor abortion rights the most have slightly lower levels of unintended pregnancies.

Blake elaborates:

Mississippi, for instance, is the state that opposes abortion rights the most, according to Pew, with 64 percent generally opposing the procedure. It is also the state with the most unintended pregnancies, at 62 percent of all pregnancies, according to Guttmacher. After accounting for fetal loss, about two-thirds of those unintended pregnancies were brought to term.

By contrast, Massachusetts is one of the most pro-abortion-rights states, with just 28 percent of people opposing the procedure. But it’s also on the low end as far as the percentage of unintended pregnancies (44 percent). Far fewer — 43 percent — of those pregnancies were brought to term.

In both his article’s title and text Blake seems to imply a correlation between anti-abortion attitude and higher proportions of unintended pregnancies. This implication seems plausible because Blake focuses on only two data points among all 50 (51 if you count the District of Columbia). In fact if you plot the two states Blake highlights–Mississippi and Massachusetts–you get this graph:

So anti-abortion views mean more unintended pregnancies. The irony!

And yet the only time Blake addresses trends across the whole country, he admits:

On average in the 10 states that oppose abortion the most, 51 percent of pregnancies are unintended. In the top 10 states that most favor abortion rights, it’s 50 percent. From here on I refer to states that oppose abortion as “pro-life states” and states that favor abortion rights as “pro-choice states.”

In other words, the two groups hardly differ at all. Out of curiosity I dug up the numbers used to measure unintended pregnancy (from Guttmacher) and abortion opposition (from Pew Research Center). (I found slightly different data than the numbers Blake cites. I suspect we’re drawing from Pew Research data sets in different years.) Instead of comparing only the 10 most pro-life states to the 10 most pro-choice states, I looked at all 50 states (and DC). Here’s what it looks like when you don’t cherry pick:

I guess reality was too boring for WaPo.

So when you look at the whole data set (instead of only Mississippi compared to Massachusetts, or only the top 10 pro-life states compared to the top 10 pro-choice ones), there appears to be no relationship at all between views on abortion and unintended pregnancy.

Note the above graphs look at the proportion of pregnancies that were unintended, not the proportion of women with unintended pregnancies (called the “unintended pregnancy rate”). However I checked that data too (it’s available in the same Guttmacher link above), and when you compare abortion sentiment to unintended pregnancy rate, the result is basically the same, with an R^2 of 0.0011.

I found this lack of correlation interesting. Pro-choicers often claim the best way to decrease abortion is not through outlawing abortion but through better access to contraception. If that theory is true, I would expect the states most open to abortion to also have lower unintended pregnancy rates, because (1) pro-choice states are more left-leaning, (2) left-leaning states are more likely to support better access to contraception, and (3) better access to contraception is supposed to decrease unintended pregnancies and thus abortion rates.

And yet the above graphic suggests that pro-choice states have no lower unintended pregnancy rates than pro-life states. Why is that? A few possibilities jump to mind:

  1. Pro-choice states don’t necessarily have better access to contraception than pro-life states.
  2. Pro-choice states do have better access to contraception, but that doesn’t actually decrease unintended pregnancy rates (and thus abortion rates).
  3. Pro-choice states have better access to contraception, and better access does decrease unintended pregnancy rates, but some other factor in those states increases unintended pregnancy rates, thus cancelling the contraception effect.

I decided to dig a bit more. I used the same Guttmacher and Pew Research data linked above for unintended pregnancy info and state attitudes about abortion. To measure state access to contraception I used data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which outlines which states require coverage of prescription contraception, related outpatient services, and no cost contraception coverage. I also looked at data collected by the National Women’s Law Center regarding which states have contraceptive equity laws (i.e. laws that require insurance plans to cover a full range of contraceptives for women). I assigned each state a contraception score by giving 1 point for each law or coverage requirement, with a maximum of 4 points.

Pro-choice states have more contraception access requirements.

States with zero contraception coverage requirements had an average of 49% of their populations say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. States with 2 or 3 contraception coverage requirements had 41% and 38% say abortion should generally be illegal. And states with all 4 contraception coverage requirements had only 32% of their populations say abortion should be illegal all or most of the time.

States with more contraception access requirements don’t see lower unintended pregnancy rates.

I then averaged the unintended pregnancy rates for states based on their contraception score and it looked like this:

(There were no states with a score of 1. Every state that had contraception access requirements in place had two or more such requirements.)

The states with the most contraception coverage requirements had the lowest unintended pregnancy rate at 44 per 1,000 women age 15-44. The states with zero contraception coverage requirements had the next lowest rate at 45.95. The states in between—with 2 or 3 contraception coverage requirements—had higher unintended pregnancy rates at 50.25 and 49.08 respectively. In other words, there’s no obvious relationship between states’ contraception coverage requirements and their unintended pregnancy rates.

States with no contraception access requirements have lower abortion rates.

Since I already had the data handy, I also compared state contraception access requirements to abortion rates:


The states with zero contraception coverage requirements had the lowest abortion rates at 9.68 abortions per 1,000 women age 15-44. States with 2, 3, and 4 contraception coverage requirements had rates of 14.58, 15.14, and 14.00, respectively.

This result could imply that contraception access actually increases abortion rates, and many pro-lifers try to make that claim. Their theory is that whenever you have a desirable but risky action (sex), the more you lower the risk, the more often people will take that action. If people think the risk is lowered more than is actually the case (e.g. if the contraception they’re using or the way they’re using it isn’t as effective as they think), then they may be actually increasing their risk exposure by taking a risky action more often without proportionally decreasing the risk in each instance. This theory is plausible because states with more contraception access requirements do not have lower unintended pregnancy rates. Perhaps these populations lower the risk of a given instance of sex by using contraception, but increase their overall risk exposure by having sex more often without using contraception consistently or correctly.

Pro-choice states have higher abortion rates.

Alternatively, perhaps the high contraceptive states have higher abortion rates simply because they are more pro-choice states. Given roughly equal unintended pregnancy rates, we’d expect the populations that support abortion to have higher abortion rates, and the data bears that out.

This trend may be due to social influences. It’s possible that women experiencing unintended pregnancies in more pro-life states experience more pressure not to abort, more encouragement and support to carry their pregnancies, or both, and that women in more pro-choice states experience the opposite. It’s hard to measure how much social pressures influence these decisions.

Either way, though, there’s little doubt that legal restrictions also influence women’s choices. To measure state-by-state legal restrictions, I again turned to Guttmacher. I assigned each state points based on whether they had the following restrictions in place and, if so, to what degree. The potential restrictions include:

  1. Whether the abortion must be performed by a licensed physician
  2. Whether and when the abortion must be performed at a hospital
  3. Whether and when a second physician must be present
  4. Whether and when abortion is prohibited (except life or health of the mother)
  5. Whether partial birth abortion is banned
  6. Whether public funding can be used for most abortions or very few abortions
  7. Whether private insurance has to cover abortions
  8. Whether individuals can refuse to participate in abortions
  9. Whether and when institutions can refuse to participate in abortions
  10. Whether there is mandated counseling regarding either an abortion breast cancer link, fetal pain, negative psychological effects, or any combination of those factors
  11. Whether and how long mandatory waiting must be
  12. Whether parents have to be notified or have to consent to their kids’ abortions

States with more legal restrictions garnered more points with a maximum possible 12 points. Unsurprisingly, there was an inverse correlation between the number of abortion restrictions and the proportion of unintended pregnancies aborted.


Contraception is not a panacea for abortion.

Pro-choice people repeatedly claim that if we truly care about lowering abortion rates we should support pro-choice policies and politicians who promote contraception access. As I’ve written about previously, this theory isn’t backed by the evidence. There’s some research to suggest contraception access—especially access to long acting reversible contraception—can help, but so far, the evidence I’ve found continues to show that the abortion rate decreases more when there are more abortion restrictions than it does when there is more access to contraception.

Secular Pro-Life supports contraception as non-violent healthcare for women, but it is only one tool in the abortion prevention toolbox. It is not a substitute for laws that recognize the rights of human beings in the womb.

Related Articles:
More evidence that abortion restrictions decrease abortion rates.
Link collection: Evidence that pro-life laws mean fewer unplanned pregnancies.

Link collection: Evidence that pro-life laws mean fewer unplanned pregnancies.

Pro-life laws decrease abortion in two ways. The direct and more obvious way is by decreasing the number of pregnant women who get abortions. A wide body of research (part 1, part 2) demonstrates that when abortion is restricted abortion rates go down and birth rates go up.

But pro-life laws also decrease abortion in an indirect way: by decreasing unintended pregnancies. The idea is that people perceive abortion as an insurance policy. As Donahue & Levitt explain:

The decline in births is far less than the number of abortions, suggesting that the number of conceptions increased substantially—an example of insurance leading to moral hazard. The insurance that abortion provides against unwanted pregnancy induces more sexual conduct or diminished protections against pregnancy in a way that substantially increases the number of pregnancies.

If people know that in the event of unplanned pregnancy they can always get abortions, they’re more likely to engage in risky sex.

There’s quite a lot of research to suggest this is true. Liberalized abortion policy has been associated with increased STD rates, decreased use of effective contraception, and the aforementioned increase in unintended pregnancies. Below, in chronological order, are studies that found these and other similar results.

***

“An analysis of 12 years of state-level data indicate that restrictions are associated with a reduction in abortions and either no change or a reduction in births, implying fewer pregnancies.” The Effect of Medicaid Abortion Funding Restrictions on Abortions, Pregnancies, and Births, Journal of Health Economics, October 1996

“In particular, the results suggest that residents in counties with longer travel distances to the nearest abortion provider have lower abortion rates and lower pregnancy rates.” The impact of provider availability on abortion demand, Contemporary Economic Policy, April 1996

“We find that countries which changed from very restrictive to liberal abortion laws experienced a large reduction in births, highlighting the insurance value. Changes from modest restrictions to abortion available upon request, however, led to no such change in births despite large increases in abortions, indicating that pregnancies rose as well.” Abortion as Insurance, National Bureau of Economic Research, February 2002

“We find that gonorrhea and syphilis incidences are significantly and positively correlated with abortion legalization. Further, we find a divergence in STD rates among early legalizing states and late legalizing states starting in 1970 and a subsequent convergence after the Roe v. Wade decision, indicating that the relation between STDs and abortion is causal.” The effect of abortion legalization on sexual behavior: evidence from sexually transmitted diseases. The Journal of Legal Studies, June 2003

“Parental involvement laws resulted in fewer abortions for minors resulting from fewer pregnancies; there is no statistically significant impact on births. The reduction in pregnancy seems to be attributable to increased use of contraception rather than a reduction in sexual activity.” Parental involvement laws and fertility behavior. Journal of Health Economics, September 2003

“Legalization itself is found to reduce the number of unwanted births. Beyond that, imposing moderate abortion restrictions do not appear to significantly increase unwanted births; abortions and pregnancies decline instead.” Abortion Policy and the Economics of Fertility, Society, May 2004

“First, the availability of abortion providers has the expected effect of reducing the supply of infants relinquished, particularly relative to the demand for abortion. Second, abortion law has an unexpected negative effect. This suggests that as abortion laws become more restrictive the total number of unwanted births may decrease.” The supply of infants relinquished for adoption: Did access to abortion make a difference? Economic Inquiry, July 2007

“Our results indicate that the enactment of parental involvement laws significantly reduces risky sexual activity among teenage girls.” Abortion Access and Risky Sex Among Teens: Parental Involvement Laws and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 2008

“Taken together the empirical results are consistent with the hypothesis that women’s sexual behavior is influenced by the direct and indirect cost of obtaining an abortion.” Abortion costs, sexual behavior, and pregnancy rates, The Social Science Jounral, March 2008

“We find restrictions on abortion availability (through abortion legislation mandating parental consent or notification) induce women to utilize birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies, while pro-choice sentiments in the legislature may have the opposite effect.” Variation in Pill Use: Do Abortion Laws Matter? International Journal of Business and Social Science, September 2011

“A state’s antiabortion attitudes, which likely contribute to the enactment of restrictive abortion laws in a state, are a major factor in inducing greater use of highly effective contraceptive methods by adult women at-risk of an unintended pregnancy.” Restrictive abortion laws, antiabortion attitudes and women’s contraceptive use, Social Science Research, January 2012

“While county‐level access to emergency contraception was unrelated to trends in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and abortions before access changed, access afterwards led to a statistically significant increase in STD rates (gonorrhea rates), both overall and for females. We do not find, however, an impact of pharmacy access on abortion or birth rates.” The effects of increased access to emergency contraception on sexually transmitted disease and abortion rates, Economic Inquiry, December 2012 (Note: This study was not examining abortion policy as related to pregnancy. It is a similar study examining how the availability of emergency conctraception was associated with increases in STDs. Like with abortion, emergency contraception may decrease the perceived risk of sex and so increase the instances of less protected sex.)


“Fewer abortion providers increase the likelihood of women using the pill.” Utilization of oral contraception: The impact of direct and indirect restrictions on access to abortion, The Social Science Journal, March 2014

“We find that providing individuals with over‐the‐counter access to EBC leads to increase STD rates and has no effect on abortion rates.” Access to Emergency Contraception and its Impact on Fertility and Sexual Behavior, Health Economics, February 2015 (Note: Like the Economic Inquiry study above, this study is not examining abortion policy and pregnancy, but it demonstrates a similar phenomenon wherein people make riskier sexual decisions when they have an ‘insurance’ policy available such as emergency contraception.),

“Our findings reveal that restrictions on abortion funding have a significant and positive impact on a woman’s decision to use the pill.” The Role of Restrictive Abortion Legislation in Explaining Variation in Oral Contraceptive Use, Clinics in Mother and Child Health, October 2015

“Similarly, women in states characterized by high abortion hostility (i.e., states with four or more types of restrictive policies in place) were more likely to use highly effective [contraceptive] methods than were women in states with less hostility.” State Abortion Context and U.S. Women’s Contraceptive Choices, 1995–2010, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, June 2015

“We find evidence to suggest that [Parental Involvement] laws are associated with an increase in the probability that sexually active minor teen females use birth control.” The effect of parental involvement laws on teen birth control use. Journal of Health Economics, January 2016

Further reading: This article from The Cut illustrates the thought process that can connect unplanned pregnancy rates and abortion availability. In this case, the woman is clearly educated about reproduction and she has knowledge of and access to contraception, but she is not as careful as she may otherwise have been partly because she knows she can get an abortion if need be.

I knew that the time I was sloppy with protection right before ovulation would put me at risk for getting pregnant. I’m the kind of woman who learns about fertility for fun, who genuinely enjoys reading about cervical fluid, egg freezing, and progesterone spikes. Which is why I knew I should have taken Plan B after that slipup and was hard on myself when I didn’t. But I also knew that if an unplanned pregnancy did occur, I’d have options in New York City.

Link collection: Evidence that pro-life laws mean fewer unplanned pregnancies.

Pro-life laws decrease abortion in two ways. The direct and more obvious way is by decreasing the number of pregnant women who get abortions. A wide body of research (part 1, part 2) demonstrates that when abortion is restricted abortion rates go down and birth rates go up.

But pro-life laws also decrease abortion in an indirect way: by decreasing unintended pregnancies. The idea is that people perceive abortion as an insurance policy. As Donahue & Levitt explain:

The decline in births is far less than the number of abortions, suggesting that the number of conceptions increased substantially—an example of insurance leading to moral hazard. The insurance that abortion provides against unwanted pregnancy induces more sexual conduct or diminished protections against pregnancy in a way that substantially increases the number of pregnancies.

If people know that in the event of unplanned pregnancy they can always get abortions, they’re more likely to engage in risky sex.

There’s quite a lot of research to suggest this is true. Liberalized abortion policy has been associated with increased STD rates, decreased use of effective contraception, and the aforementioned increase in unintended pregnancies. Below, in chronological order, are studies that found these and other similar results.

***

“An analysis of 12 years of state-level data indicate that restrictions are associated with a reduction in abortions and either no change or a reduction in births, implying fewer pregnancies.” The Effect of Medicaid Abortion Funding Restrictions on Abortions, Pregnancies, and Births, Journal of Health Economics, October 1996

“In particular, the results suggest that residents in counties with longer travel distances to the nearest abortion provider have lower abortion rates and lower pregnancy rates.” The impact of provider availability on abortion demand, Contemporary Economic Policy, April 1996

“We find that countries which changed from very restrictive to liberal abortion laws experienced a large reduction in births, highlighting the insurance value. Changes from modest restrictions to abortion available upon request, however, led to no such change in births despite large increases in abortions, indicating that pregnancies rose as well.” Abortion as Insurance, National Bureau of Economic Research, February 2002

“We find that gonorrhea and syphilis incidences are significantly and positively correlated with abortion legalization. Further, we find a divergence in STD rates among early legalizing states and late legalizing states starting in 1970 and a subsequent convergence after the Roe v. Wade decision, indicating that the relation between STDs and abortion is causal.” The effect of abortion legalization on sexual behavior: evidence from sexually transmitted diseases. The Journal of Legal Studies, June 2003

“Parental involvement laws resulted in fewer abortions for minors resulting from fewer pregnancies; there is no statistically significant impact on births. The reduction in pregnancy seems to be attributable to increased use of contraception rather than a reduction in sexual activity.” Parental involvement laws and fertility behavior. Journal of Health Economics, September 2003

“Legalization itself is found to reduce the number of unwanted births. Beyond that, imposing moderate abortion restrictions do not appear to significantly increase unwanted births; abortions and pregnancies decline instead.” Abortion Policy and the Economics of Fertility, Society, May 2004

“First, the availability of abortion providers has the expected effect of reducing the supply of infants relinquished, particularly relative to the demand for abortion. Second, abortion law has an unexpected negative effect. This suggests that as abortion laws become more restrictive the total number of unwanted births may decrease.” The supply of infants relinquished for adoption: Did access to abortion make a difference? Economic Inquiry, July 2007

“Our results indicate that the enactment of parental involvement laws significantly reduces risky sexual activity among teenage girls.” Abortion Access and Risky Sex Among Teens: Parental Involvement Laws and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 2008

“Taken together the empirical results are consistent with the hypothesis that women’s sexual behavior is influenced by the direct and indirect cost of obtaining an abortion.” Abortion costs, sexual behavior, and pregnancy rates, The Social Science Jounral, March 2008

“We find restrictions on abortion availability (through abortion legislation mandating parental consent or notification) induce women to utilize birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies, while pro-choice sentiments in the legislature may have the opposite effect.” Variation in Pill Use: Do Abortion Laws Matter? International Journal of Business and Social Science, September 2011

“A state’s antiabortion attitudes, which likely contribute to the enactment of restrictive abortion laws in a state, are a major factor in inducing greater use of highly effective contraceptive methods by adult women at-risk of an unintended pregnancy.” Restrictive abortion laws, antiabortion attitudes and women’s contraceptive use, Social Science Research, January 2012

“While county‐level access to emergency contraception was unrelated to trends in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and abortions before access changed, access afterwards led to a statistically significant increase in STD rates (gonorrhea rates), both overall and for females. We do not find, however, an impact of pharmacy access on abortion or birth rates.” The effects of increased access to emergency contraception on sexually transmitted disease and abortion rates, Economic Inquiry, December 2012 (Note: This study was not examining abortion policy as related to pregnancy. It is a similar study examining how the availability of emergency conctraception was associated with increases in STDs. Like with abortion, emergency contraception may decrease the perceived risk of sex and so increase the instances of less protected sex.)


“Fewer abortion providers increase the likelihood of women using the pill.” Utilization of oral contraception: The impact of direct and indirect restrictions on access to abortion, The Social Science Journal, March 2014

“We find that providing individuals with over‐the‐counter access to EBC leads to increase STD rates and has no effect on abortion rates.” Access to Emergency Contraception and its Impact on Fertility and Sexual Behavior, Health Economics, February 2015 (Note: Like the Economic Inquiry study above, this study is not examining abortion policy and pregnancy, but it demonstrates a similar phenomenon wherein people make riskier sexual decisions when they have an ‘insurance’ policy available such as emergency contraception.),

“Our findings reveal that restrictions on abortion funding have a significant and positive impact on a woman’s decision to use the pill.” The Role of Restrictive Abortion Legislation in Explaining Variation in Oral Contraceptive Use, Clinics in Mother and Child Health, October 2015

“Similarly, women in states characterized by high abortion hostility (i.e., states with four or more types of restrictive policies in place) were more likely to use highly effective [contraceptive] methods than were women in states with less hostility.” State Abortion Context and U.S. Women’s Contraceptive Choices, 1995–2010, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, June 2015

“We find evidence to suggest that [Parental Involvement] laws are associated with an increase in the probability that sexually active minor teen females use birth control.” The effect of parental involvement laws on teen birth control use. Journal of Health Economics, January 2016

Further reading: This article from The Cut illustrates the thought process that can connect unplanned pregnancy rates and abortion availability. In this case, the woman is clearly educated about reproduction and she has knowledge of and access to contraception, but she is not as careful as she may otherwise have been partly because she knows she can get an abortion if need be.

I knew that the time I was sloppy with protection right before ovulation would put me at risk for getting pregnant. I’m the kind of woman who learns about fertility for fun, who genuinely enjoys reading about cervical fluid, egg freezing, and progesterone spikes. Which is why I knew I should have taken Plan B after that slipup and was hard on myself when I didn’t. But I also knew that if an unplanned pregnancy did occur, I’d have options in New York City.