The following editorial appeared Monday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Two recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that President Obama's administration was right when it argued that increasing access to birth control makes economic and health sense for our nation.
One of the studies shows that 99 percent of women have used contraception at some point in their lives, regardless of their background or religious affiliation. The other study shows that women increasingly are using emergency contraception as a means of controlling reproduction.
Taken to its logical conclusion, the studies suggest that liberals and conservatives alike can find something to like in this: Providing more access to birth control will reduce the use of the morning-after pill.
Conservatives should like that, since they generally argue that the morning-after pill does something that science and medical experts say it does not do, which is cause abortions. Emergency contraceptive pills work by preventing pregnancy after sex, not by terminating pregnancy.
Liberals should approve of less use of emergency contraception because it is more expensive, less reliable and harder to obtain than birth control used before or during sex.
The CDC study that showed the high usage of contraception by women followed trends in birth control from 1982 to 2010. Among other findings: Almost half of all pregnancies are unintended, and the use of long-acting reversible contraception, such as intrauterine devices and subdermal implants, is increasing.
Women want to make their own decisions about when they will bear children and whose children they will bear.
Making those choices harder will create heavier costs and social burdens in the future.