Tony Perkins took to The Hill today to argue that Planned Parenthood costs taxpayers billions of dollars because, he argues, by providing affordable contraception it raises the abortion rate, and by providing abortions it raises the STD rate.
First he acknowledges that the one study that he uses to back up the contraception-abortion link doesn’t actually conclude what he wants it to conclude. But that doesn’t stop him from contributing his own scientific analysis:
Earlier this year, the medical journal “Contraception” published a study, “Trends in the use of contraceptive methods and voluntary interruption of pregnancy in the Spanish population during 1997–2007.” The researchers noted that from 1997 to 2007, “the overall use of contraceptive methods increased from 49.1 percent to 79.9 percent.” During this same period, “The elective abortion rate increased from 5.52 to 11.49 per 1000 women.”
Although the article states, “The factors responsible for the increased rate of elective abortion need further investigation,” the relationship between increased contraception and increased abortion seems apparent.
I’d refer Perkins not only to common sense, but to this study in The Lancet and this USAID report citing numerous studies proving that access to contraception does, in fact, prevent unintended pregnancy.
Perkins goes on to argue that Planned Parenthood—which directs a full third of its budget to testing for and treating sexually transmitted diseases—is actually driving the STD rate in the United States because of the three percent of its budget that it spends on abortion services:
But the connection between Planned Parenthood’s so-called family planning and an increase in abortion is not the only manner in which the abortion giant is running up the taxpayer tab. A 2005 study from George Mason University suggests that as the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood is costing taxpayer billions of dollars a year by fueling the sexually transmitted disease pandemic.
According to researchers Jonathan Klick and Thomas Stratmann, who examined over four decades of data related to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), there is a statistically verifiable link between legalized abortion and the rise in STDs. Klick and Stratmann make the argument that sexual behavior responds to economic incentives. In other words, as the laws and economies of scale, along with government subsidies made abortion more economically enticing, an increase in risky sexual behavior followed and with it STDs.
How much is this increase costing us? The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 19 million new STDs occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24. The estimated price tag is $15 billion dollars for healthcare costs alone!
So, Perkins’ plan is to take away the ways women have to prevent pregnancies and STDs, thereby scaring them into abstinence. Sounds like the Religious Right’s dream come true…but truly scary public policy.