Using Ambulances To Prevent Road Accidents

Pregnancy advisory services – including abortion information – could be advertised on TV and radio under proposals due to be released.

Restrictions on condom adverts could also be relaxed, as part of plans aimed at reducing high UK rates of teenage pregnancy and sexual infections.

Abortion (or any form of pregnancy advice or procedure, for that matter) doesn’t reduce teenage pregnancy or sexual infection. That would be like providing more ambulances in order to reduce road accidents.

Would it be cynical to suggest that it’s not teenage pregnancy they want to reduce, but teenage birth? After all, whenever a young child becomes a father or mother, it hits the headlines and politicians decry it as terrible. But when there are around 10 abortions a day in that age bracket, the same people don’t seem to say very much.

10 thoughts on “Using Ambulances To Prevent Road Accidents

  1. I’m inclined to agree the birth does seem to be the thing that causes such outrage whilst in effect saying “who cares about getting pregnant – so long as you don’t have to look after the baby”.

    Actions have consequences.

  2. A good point.

    I would think abortion ads could actually be a deterrent in an indirect way. For example in the US some attribute the TV show “Cops” to lowering crime by showing what happens to criminals (this hasn’t been proven though).

    Perhaps abortion commercials will make people more conscious of the consequences *before* they get pregnant as opposed to abortion being something that nobody likes to talk about. Depending on how the commercials are done, I guess it could make the entire situation look like something to avoid while still showing options available for those already in that situation.

    I think it would be hard to pitch abortion in a truly uplifting way like they can pitch consumer goods. Generally something like this is a PSA which tends to be pretty sober.

    I guess it’s more about implementation than the actual contents. As for if their implementation will have that impact? Who knows.

    In the US people used to think suicide helpline ads would encourage teen suicide by “giving them the idea”. It’s still sometimes controversial. In reality that didn’t happen. Nobody has been documented walking on a bridge, seeing the number posted and spontaneously getting the idea to kill themselves. People have called those numbers and gotten help. It has also helped bring the problem to public consciousness rather than being a dark secret people didn’t like to talk about.

  3. That does seem pretty messed up. While advertising containing accurate information about condom use is probably in the best interest of society, abortion is too complicated an issue to advertise in something as brief as a television commercial. You can effectively convey what a condom is and what it does in 30 seconds.

    A little-discussed aspect of abortion (because it’s as inconvenient as the rather gruesome facts of the procedure) is the psychological impact it often has on the mother. Others end up with serious reget, guilt, or mental trauma. Norma McCorvey’s later opinion against her own case (Roe vs. Wade) was based on the abuse of abortion as a means of birth control and also the way it can be offered without a proper understanding of the consequences. Just like you can’t advertise a weight loss pill without disclosing that it might be toxic, you shouldn’t advertise abortion without a proper warning label of the potential medical and psychological consequences.

    I’ve seen bus ads and commercials here for counseling centers that show a teen girl and just say “Pregnant?” and list a phone number. Ads like that don’t push a particular solution and most agencies lay out all the options and asssociated consequences — whether it’s keeping the baby, putting it up for adoption, or termination. Good information is critical, and you can’t get that from a brief ad.

  4. What explanation do you have about the number of teenage pregnancies in the UK (some of which end in a teenage abortion) ? Personally, I think it’s a much bigger problem that the teenage abortions in itself. Shutting people out of the abortion solution, is not always a good solution (no matter what you think about the abortion in itself).

    My own daughter (I live in Europe, not in the UK) got pregnant when she was 18, but kept the baby. But her girlfriends in London didn’t seem to mind that she was pregnant, since they got pregnant much earlier, and didn’t think that 18 was too young.

  5. jhermans’ use of the term “abortion solution” sends shivers down my spine, as it has too many overtones of Nazi-speak. I am of course well aware that it is considered a rather primitive debating tool to make such a comparison too readily, but the parallel here is hard to avoid: we consider the existence of some people (in this case, unwanted babies) to be a problem, so we are going to “solve” it by killing them.

  6. I think the two paragraphs aren’t as connected as you’re reading them. Better information about condoms will help to reduce teenage pregnancy and STDs. Better information about abortion and pregnancy healthcare will help people of all ages to look after themselves during pregnancy, and if they must have abortions, go about it in the safest and best protected way possible. Totally different aims.

    Personally, I’m against abortion unless it’s a serious medical emergency. But I don’t think the way to reduce abortions is to keep people ignorant about how to obtain them! I think the number of babies saved because people, probably mostly kids, don’t know who to ask to get an abortion is going to be tiny. And exceeded by the number of people killed, again mostly kids, because they are so terrified of continuing a pregnancy that they drink poison or throw themselves down the stairs or poke sharp objects into their uterus, not knowing that a safer alternative is available.

    You must have heard the expression “information wants to be free”, right? I really can’t think of any political issue where deliberately keeping people ignorant is either desirable or in practice possible. Maybe sensitive military intelligence? But definitely not abortion.

  7. They are connected, in that all the press coverage (newspaper and radio) of this proposal gives the sole justification of “reducing teenage pregnancy and sexual infection”. A more cynical person might suggest that the abortion lobby is trying to sneak in this change under the banner of that (commendable) aim, and hope that no-one points out the complete non sequitur of their request and that goal. Which no-one except me seems to have done.

    And exceeded by the number of people killed, again mostly kids, because they are so terrified of continuing a pregnancy that they drink poison or throw themselves down the stairs or poke sharp objects into their uterus, not knowing that a safer alternative is available.

    If we are going to do narrative rather than point-in-time morality, it’s worth noting that if they are considering doing these things, then the problem started rather earlier than them getting pregnant. With their relationship with their parents, for example.

    Are there any stats on the amount this happens? I went to a demonstration last year about lowering the limit for abortions from 24 to 20 weeks, to be faced with a crowd of women dressed in pink, waving placards depicting bottles of gin and coat-hangers. So I’m well aware that there’s a certain amount of exaggeration in the claims of the pro-abortion groups.

  8. I entirely agree that the teenage pregnancy problem begins long before the actual conception. Relationships with parents, social norms around sexuality, lack of access to sex education, all kinds of things. And I would much, much rather put effort into fixing those root causes than into either criminalizing, or worse, trying to hide information about, abortion.

    I don’t know the stats on how many people die due to DIY abortions, much less how many people attempt them and either succeed or fail without permanent harm to themselves; by its nature, that kind of thing is going to be hidden and therefore difficult to measure in official statistics. My guess is that the numbers are low, precisely because abortion is readily available in the UK and has been for the past 30 years, and anyone with any knowledge of the world knows how to get an abortion if she wants / needs to. Not, unfortunately, because the teenage pregnancy rate is low, cos it really scarily isn’t.

    Empirically, I don’t know any cases where criminalizing abortion prevents teenage pregnancy or even prevents a significant proportion of abortions. I am absolutely certain that keeping the legal status quo as it is, but hiding information about it, is not going to make anything better.

  9. lack of access to sex education

    Do you know how early sex education already starts in state schools, and how graphic it is? I saw some curriculum materials as part of a course I was doing, and I didn’t want to look at them! If there’s anything today’s children are not short of, it’s information about sex. In fact, the increase of such information, and of “non-directive” teaching methods which refuse to say that having sex outside of marriage is wrong, has happened at the same time as the increase in the pregnancy rate. As XKCD says, correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there’. (Mouseover the cartoon.) It is incredible: as sex education and information increases, so does the amount of sex. And the prescribed cure for this problem is more sex education of the same type, just starting earlier! They seem to think starting at 5 instead of 10 will give them an extra 5 years to bang the message home. But it’s the wrong message.

    Empirically, I don’t know any cases where criminalizing abortion prevents teenage pregnancy…

    Criminalizing abortion would only prevent teenage pregnancy if the teenager were mentally mature and well educated enough to be able to connect the act of having sex with the possibility of getting pregnant and being responsible for a baby. Sadly, it seems that (despite the “comprehensive education” they get and the oodles of “sex education” – see above) this connection is not being made. (Again, the problem is that it’s the wrong message – the message is “sex may lead to pregnancy, if you’re not careful, but you can take a little pill, or go and see an abortionist, and hey presto, the responsibility disappears, so don’t worry too much about that, just go and have fun – but wear condoms!”) So as things stand, you are probably right, criminalizing abortion would not have a great deal of effect on teenage pregnancy. But that doesn’t make it a bad thing to do.

    …or even prevents a significant proportion of abortions.

    Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland. Although women do travel to other parts of the UK to have abortions, I would be astonished if the abortion rate there were the same as in England.

  10. Abortion is just a symptom. The real problem in Western society is moral relativism. And in that regard, Europe may be fifty years ahead of the US, but we are going in exactly the same direction.

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