Blogged by Amanda at Pandagon via RH Reality Check, the National Association of Evangelicals has extended some degree of support for contraception as a means of reducing abortion rates.

It's a small victory (contraception was mentioned just once in the press release), but it may be an important one. The propagation of abstinence-only "education" has taken its toll, and many forms of birth control are still cost-prohibitive for many Americans. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, preventative services will soon be offered for free by many insurers, and Planned Parenthood is pushing hard (if quietly) to make sure that birth control makes the list.

To me, this seems like common sense. Birth control prevents pregnancy, which is in fact a medical condition. The problem is that most conservatives believe, either in actuality or for the sake of argument, that pregnancy is not a medical condition. This allows them to make the case that neither birth control nor abortion fit the bill for "health care," which subsequently results in female reproductive care getting held back while improvements are made elsewhere*. We've seen this before, and sadly, I think we're going to see a lot more of it.

Which is why small victories, like the NAE offering a token of support for contraception, matter. Admitting that contraception access is a good thing is a subtle way of admitting that unwanted pregnancy - not just abortion - is a bad thing. It's a step toward reality-based abortion prevention: the sort that works by helping women prevent pregnancies they don't want, rather than finding ways to manipulate them after they've become pregnant. Parental consent, waiting periods, and unreasonable counseling requirements all fall into the latter category, and they're all still condoned by the NAE. However frustrating they may be, small steps are sometimes the only way forward.

* An example of the delegitimization of women's reproductive care: an opinion piece in the Washington Examiner yesterday titled "Obamacare: Get ready to pay for young slackers’ sex-lives."