Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: abortion


Fewer abortions should be good news for everyone

Here’s news that everyone should hail – but probably won’t.

A new study conducted among thousands of women in St. Louis, Mo., shows that providing free birth control pays off in a big way – with fewer abortions and unwanted births.

When given access to the free contraception of their choice, women and teenagers in the study often opted for the most effective, most foolproof method – an implant or IUD that is good for years. Those methods are often beyond reach for low-income or uninsured women, so they tend to rely on cheaper, less effective methods – or nothing at all.

Abortion rates plummeted for women in the study given free birth control: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women compared with 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women overall in the St. Louis region and almost 20 abortions per 1,000 women nationally.

The results were particularly impressive in decreasing births among teenage girls in the study, with only 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers compared to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000.

What’s the takeaway here? Shouldn’t everyone see this as good news?

You might think so, but many abortion opponents also oppose giving away contraceptives – or providing them at all to teenagers – arguing that it encourages extramarital sex. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but the priority should be preventing unwanted pregnancy – which leads to all sorts of attendant costs, not only in lost human potential but also in additional health and welfare expenses to taxpayers.

Providing free access to the most effective contraception looks like a good way to get there.

Here’s the Associated Press article about the study, which came out Thursday. Read more »


Leonard Pitts Jr. at the convention

We’re running a column by Leonard Pitts Jr. in today’s print edition. He also moved this bonus column, which we’re posting for our online readers.

Walking the gauntlet in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — To reach the Convention Center, you must first walk the gauntlet of dead baby parts.

It’s one of the newer and more gruesome tactics in the fight over reproductive choice, protesters hoisting large color placards depicting aborted fetuses torn in chunks as a group of men preaches an unending sermon on the evils of abortion. As rhetorical tactics go, it is a bludgeon.

The street preachers have other things on their minds, too: Muslims are bad, homosexuals are worse, and if you vote Democrat, you’re going to hell in the fast lane. Also, if you don’t believe as they do, then you don’t know Jesus like they know Jesus.

But always, they return to the medical procedure they deem child murder.
Most people walking to various functions in the Democratic National Convention ignore them. Some don’t. Read more »


The good news: Plan B remains in effect across the state

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Viewed from one angle, the state requirement that all pharmacies dispense Plan B – the “morning-after pill” – is a reasonable measure to guarantee women access to emergency birth control.

Viewed from another angle, that same requirement violates the consciences of pharmacists and pharmacy owners who regard Plan B as a potential means of abortion.
From the first angle, the state Board of Pharmacy’s rule is utterly reasonable. From the second, it is a bare-knuckled assault on religious freedom, particularly the freedom of Roman Catholics. The stark conflict between those two views is why the rule has been ping-ponging around the federal courts for five years now.

Once again, U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton has ruled in favor of pharmacists who say the policy violates their First Amendment rights. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had overturned a similar decision he made in 2007 and sent the lawsuit back to him to apply a different legal standard. Leighton’s new decision could trigger another round of litigation if the state appeals it.

For advocates of Plan B – count us among them – this is not the end of the world.

The rule remains in place; Leighton’s ruling affects only the pharmacy and two pharmacists who challenged it. If it stands, it would obviously open the door for new challenges. But very few pharmacies seem interested in not selling Plan B.
Read more »


Let’s hope this Super Bowl trend doesn’t catch on

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

For a lot of Super Bowl viewers, the game is just an excuse to watch the commercials – which often are more entertaining than the action on the field.

Advertisers spend millions of dollars to run ads during the Super Bowl, regularly one of the most-watched TV shows of the year. They gear up for months to present wacky plugs for everything from cars, beer and potato chips to soft drinks and job-search Web sites.

This year, however, one of the ads will tout something completely different: not having an abortion.
In a departure from the usual funny ads, CBS has accepted one from the conservative Focus on the Family organization that features former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother Pam. She has spoken in the past about how doctors in the Philippines recommended that she abort a troubled pregnancy, but that she decided not to. The baby survived, grew up and won the 2007 Heisman Trophy. Read more »