In a recent talk I gave, I posed a question to the audience.
My question was, “What is the only 100% certain way that a woman seeking to get an abortion will end up not getting an abortion?”
Before you read my answer to this question below, what is your answer to that question?
You might be tempted to think that laws that restrict access to abortion are the answer.
In other words, if there are no abortion services available to a woman, then it seems obvious that she would not be able to get an abortion.
Is restricting access to abortion your answer?
If so, then I would like you to consider something.
You’re likely familiar with prohibition of alcohol in the U.S. in the 1920s, and the so-called war on drugs which began in 1971 and continues to this day.
Would you call either of these programs successful overall?
Why weren’t they successful?
In my opinion, from an economics perspective it is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to completely restrict the supply of a substance whose chemistry is well known – substances such as alcohol and drugs.
And since the chemistry of those substances is well known, as long as there is demand for those products and money to be made from that demand, there will be suppliers who will produce and supply those substances, even if the production and distribution of those substances is illegal.
How does this relate to the abortion pill, which now accounts for more than 50% of abortions in the U.S.?
The abortion pill consists of two drugs – mifepristone and misoprostol.
The chemistry of both drugs is well known.
So I would argue that efforts to restrict access to the abortion pill through legislative means have parallels to the war on drugs, and therefore face the same uphill battle in terms of likelihood of overall success.
To put it bluntly, even if there was a nationwide ban on both mifepristone and misoprostol, it is highly unlikely that such a ban would keep the abortion pill out of women’s hands.
The chemistry is known, and there is high demand, so suppliers would find a way to produce and distribute the abortion pill illegally, especially from outside U.S. borders.
So back to my question: “What is the only 100% certain way that a woman seeking to get an abortion will end up not getting an abortion?”
The answer is actually quite simple.
The only 100% certain way that a woman seeking to get an abortion will end up not getting an abortion is if she herself chooses not to get an abortion.
Restrictions on the supply of the abortion pill will not stop a woman from getting an abortion, but her changing her own mind about abortion and choosing the competing option – let’s call that option “choose life services” – is the only certain way that she will not get an abortion.
This may surprise you, but I think this is actually outstanding news!
Because while we in the pro-life community may not be able to control restricting supply of the abortion pill, we most certainly are in control of developing world class life-empowering women’s healthcare services, and the marketing programs that promote those services.
And when we do that successfully, we will increase demand for those services while decreasing demand for the abortion pill.
It’s only a question of our willingness to do the hard work required to make it happen.
This article was published in Heroic Media‘s weekly newsletter