take effect until 1996, and their impact on abortion availability may not be apparent for several more years after that.

The third issue—that the general climate of controversy created around the issue of abortion may spill over into other areas of reproductive services and education—is less easily documented, although field reports suggest that this is the case. Some of the more vocal opposition to sex education provided in the schools, for example, is reported to be from anti-abortion groups (Haffner, 1994). Furthermore, Zero Population Growth (1993) reports that "the majority of anti-abortion organizations are also opposed to the use of and access to contraception." In part, this is probably due to the fact that some of these groups are loosely affiliated with, or closely tied philosophically to, the Catholic Church, which has taken a strong stand against all forms of contraception except periodic abstinence. The recent bombings of four contraceptive clinics that perform no abortions at all (located in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Ohio, and Vermont) suggest that the high level of conflict that surrounds abortion may indeed place those who provide other related services at risk of violence and harassment (C. Glazer, pers. com., 1994).

It is also important to note that opposition to abortion, sometimes accompanied by opposition to organized family planning programs as well, has also affected a surprisingly wide variety of basic statistical and research functions related to unintended pregnancy. For example, some state and local systems to collect information on the number of abortions being performed (as well as on their possible complications) have been curtailed. That is, because some object to abortion, fewer abortion-related data are collected—a development that has affected the federal abortion surveillance system operated by the CDC, which relies on these state and local estimates in compiling its own aggregate statistics. Similarly, some systems to collect information on publicly supported family planning programs were shelved for years; research sponsored by such public agencies as the National Institutes of Health has been scrutinized and occasionally reshaped quite directly by abortion opponents; and efforts to increase public information and education about such lethal problems as HIV/AIDS have been stymied as well. The net result of such ideologically-driven developments has been to create a climate in which it has been increasingly difficult to take action to reduce unintended pregnancy, inasmuch as this particular problem can easily get entangled in the "culture wars" of recent years about abortion, contraception, and sexual behavior—wars that appear to be ongoing.


Many of the factors that may influence contraceptive use and therefore unintended pregnancy touch some of the most controversial and important issues facing contemporary U.S. society. The large number and great complexity of

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