The American debate over family planning may seem “like a culture war showdown.” But “close up, family planning is undeniably pro-life,” writes Michael Gerson in the Washington Post. To understand that, look to Bweremana, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where “the complications of childbirth are as dangerous as the militias in the countryside.” Frequent births pose a serious risk to the lives of mothers and children, but family planning can make a vast difference. For one thing, births spaced more than two years apart are much safer for both moms and kids.
What’s more, “when contraceptive prevalence is low, about 70 percent of all births involve serious risk. When prevalence is high, the figure is 35 percent.” Backing contraception doesn’t mean backing abortion. “More than 90% of American evangelicals believe that hormonal and barrier methods of contraception are morally acceptable for adults,” a poll finds, and “even in the most stringent Catholic teaching, the prevention of conception is not the moral equivalent of ending a life,” Gerson writes. The goal of contraception, for women in Bweremana and “elsewhere,” is “to avoid high-risk pregnancies, to deliver healthy children and to better care for the children they have. And this is a pro-life cause.”