Here in Minnesota, the Department of Health recently reported that in 2010, we had the lowest number of abortions since they started keeping track [PDF report]. It’s a drop of 19% in just four years, and almost half of the high in 1980.
That caused the last hospital in the Twin Cities that offers abortion to stop providing them:
Regions Hospital in St. Paul said Friday that it will stop performing elective abortions after Dec. 9, when it closes its reproductive GYN Special Services Clinic.
The hospital said it reached the decision because the number of abortions has been falling for years and other clinics in the Twin Cities provide similar services. Abortion opponents, however, said their years of protests forced the action.
In spite of the protestations of those protesters, health officials agree that the abortion rate has dropped primarily because contraception has been destigmatized and contraceptives are readily available, and secondly because young women have been educated in public schools about avoiding unwanted pregnancies.
To those who fear that same sex marriage will somehow weaken their own heterosexual marriage, I think this is a learning moment. First, destigmatizing a former social stigma — be it contraception or gay marriage — often results in the very opposite effect than the most vocal opponents assume.
And second, people want to do the thing that is good and right. Women don’t want to get abortions. And even of us who think that a woman should have a right to determine what medical procedures are performed on her body, we don’t like abortion either.
The same sex couples I know aren’t out to destroy what we mean by “marriage.” In fact, they’re not even out to redefine it. They’re actually hoping to slide into the definition of marriage that heterosexual couples have attempted to live up to for generations: that of affection, commitment, and love.
A therapist once told me that issues like this are like “Chinese handcuffs”: the harder you pull, the tighter they get. But if you just relent, and give a little toward the other side, the whole systems is more livable for everyone.