Shocking: Providing Affordable Contraception To Women Has Led To Less Abortions
Logic. Isn’t it amazing? The Eastern European country of Georgia has an astonishingly high rate of abortion. In 2005, the average woman in Georgia had three abortions over her lifetime. It’s a number that I honestly don’t know how to wrap my head around.
It would be irresponsible to over-generalize and pretend to know the cause of this widespread issue. Obviously, there are a lot of different factors that contribute to a culture where abortion is so necessary and prevalent.
But there’s one irrefutable piece of information about Georgia and it’s rate of abortion: it’s dropped significantly since birth control has been made more widely available. The United States Agency for International Development and the United Nations Population Fund started working to bring the Pill to Georgia. But like in many areas, birth control is a highly politicized issue. Between the Orthodox Christian church, which does not support birth control, and the political environment, which has been worried about the low fertility rate of the country, providing contraception has not been an easy task.
Outside from all of that, officials who are working to educate and distribute birth control still run in to plenty of problems. According to the New York Times,
“Modern methods of birth control are only slowly becoming culturally acceptable. Many Georgian women remain distrustful of them, said Dr. Tamar Sirbiladze, an adviser at the U.S.A.I.D. Office of Health and Social Development. Some fear that the hormones in birth-control pills will make them sterile, give them cancer or make them fat. Others believe the pills don’t really work, which is partly because for many years Georgian women were not instructed on how to use them correctly.”
Even with all of those obstacles however, the campaign to provide birth control has been effective. How effective? Well it’s brought down the average number of abortions per woman in the country from three to two after just five years. It still seems like an unbelievably high rate of pregnancies aborted, but it shows significant progress in a relatively short amount of time.
To put it pretty simply, providing women with affordable contraception and teaching them how to correctly use it brings down the rate of abortions. I think that’s something that absolutely everyone would like to see happen. So it’s almost amazing that we’re still having to fight and struggle so hard to get contraception to those who need it. Hopefully USAID and UNFP’s work in Georgia can continue and women will learn how to manage their own reproductive health. Hopefully those numbers can come down even further.