Here is a reality check for those opposed to abortion rights. Abortion has always existed. It still exists where laws prohibit it. It exists where draconian punishments attempt to prevent it. Therefore, we need to accept that no public censure, no law, no punishment, will prevent abortions.

But for those opposed to abortions, consider that we know how to reduce them. Numerous studies have shown that comprehensive sexuality education, including information about contraceptives, reduces unplanned pregnancies. Programs which bolster self-esteem and thoughtful decision-making have the same effect. The one thing we know does not work is abstinence-only education. Making contraceptives affordable and readily available is especially effective.

From 2009-2017, Colorado provided long-acting reversible contraceptives such as IUDs to young women, and the birth rate for young women ages 15 to 19 fell 54 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Repeat teen births fell by nearly two-thirds, and the teen abortion rate dropped 53 percent.

This is why the recent attack on Planned Parenthood (whose abortion services are about 3 percent of all it does), makes no sense. Unfortunately, sometimes the same people who want to ban abortions also want to restrict sexuality education and contraceptive access. I find this baffling. I would think that everyone could agree that unplanned pregnancies are not the best way to support women or children. Abortions will never be eliminated, but we can reduce them and enable women to better plan their decision to have children.

Mary Makofske