By Tommy Gagliano
On June 7th, 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, expressed an opinion about birth control in the form of a tweet. “Psst!” she tweeted, following it with a shouting emoji, “Birth control should be over-the-counter, pass it on.” The tweet garnered over 77 thousand retweets, and over 335 thousand likes. While her follow up tweet that “It should be free, too – like in the UK!” may be taking it a bit far, conservatives should be on board with her initial assertion.
Although Ocasio-Cortez did not provide any context or reasoning in her tweet, it is not hard for those familiar with her beliefs to deduce why she would support such an idea. AOC is a big supporter of women, and has socialist tendencies. Socialism, at least in theory, is about everyone having access to things that they “need,” and birth control has been a staple of the feminist movement since the 1910s. Easier access to birth control is right up her ideological alley. But why should conservatives support an idea rooted in feminism and socialism?
Well, for libertarian conservatives, the increased personal freedom should be an attractive feature. But more importantly, for all conservatives, easier access to contraception would mean less accidental pregnancies, and therefore less abortions.
Abortion is the most evil act that one can legally commit in the United States. I am stating that as a fact, not an opinion. There are people that acknowledge this and know it to be true, and there are those that do everything they can to convince themselves it’s false in order to validate their selfish prioritization of convenience over human life. For those in the former category, it should be of utmost importance to minimize the number of abortions by any means necessary.
According to a Brookings Institution report from 2012, accidental pregnancy is the reason for more than 90 percent of abortions. 2015 research from the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center found that access to over-the-counter oral birth control would decrease unintended pregnancies by 7 to 25 percent. The conclusion of the combination of these two studies is obvious – access to over-the-counter birth control would decrease the rate or abortions. For me, that is the only reasoning I need. If it will mean less unborn babies being murdered in the name of “health care” or “personal choice,” I support it. Full stop.
Ultra-religious Catholic conservatives will disagree with me. They will say that all forms of contraception are wrong. They will argue that using condoms, oral birth control, or other means of preventing pregnancy are just as bad as abortion. My response? Exchange that bible for a biology textbook. A fetus is a person. He or she contains 23 chromosomes from each parent. He or she has his or her own DNA. He or she is distinct from his or her mother and his or her father. That is not the case with sperm and egg cells. Sperm cells contain only 23 chromosomes from the male, and egg cells contain only 23 chromosomes from the female. They contain DNA from only one individual. Preventing a pregnancy is not murder, the same way that menstruation is not genocide. And don’t give me any of that “sex should only be for procreation because engaging in sexual activity for pleasure is an abuse of God’s gifts” bullcrap. If you want to believe that, fine, you have every right to, but you cannot impose those beliefs on the rest of the population, and you certainly cannot compare “abuse of God’s gifts” to the actual murder of a living human being. It should be quite clear that one is objectively more heinous than the other.
Over-the-counter oral birth control would not end abortion. It is not a solution. There will still be unintended pregnancies, and there will still be selfish people that put their personal convenience over the life of their son or daughter. However, if access to over-the-counter birth control reduces the number of abortions in the United States – even if it’s just a reduction from 862,000 per year (Guttmacher Institute, 2017) to, say, 830,000 – it’s a step in the right direction.