This week the GOP and Trump administration made two significant advances in its quest to move America backwards. On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled House passed bill H.R. 36 or “The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which outlaws any abortion after 20 weeks. On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that employers could refuse to pay for their employees birth control based on religious beliefs. This decision goes against a mandate in the Affordable Care Act requiring businesses to provide access to contraceptives.

And while the HHS is hiding behind the excuse of "religious freedom," this is nothing more than another petty attempt to deny women health care.

A foolish solution

Putting aside the fact that the abortion bill and the contraceptive policy both target women and more specifically low-income women, they also work against one another. If your goal is to lower the number of abortions in this country, blocking access to Birth Control is the worst thing you can do. It’s like trying to end hunger by getting rid of food. Nothing, aside from the pipe dream that is abstinence, is more effective at lowering the abortion rate than providing women access to contraceptive devices. Just take for example a recent experiment in Colorado: starting in 2009, Colorado began offering contraceptive implants to both teenagers and poor women free of charge.

Countless women took advantage of the offer, and according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, from 2009-2013 the abortion rate dropped by 42 percent.

So if we know that republicans are predominantly pro-life, and we also know that easy, affordable access to contraceptives drastically lowers the rate of abortion—why would Republicans want to stymie access to birth control?

Denying science

One theory is that Republicans are choosing to ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence regarding the benefits of birth control. Studies have shown that women who have more choice regarding the right time to start a family make better parents and are far less likely to rely on government assistance. And experts conclude that for every one dollar spent on birth control, we will save nearly six dollars in Medicaid spending.

None of this information is exactly a secret. A simple Google search yields a plethora of peer-reviewed research regarding contraception, so is it possible Republicans might be willfully ignoring the facts? Yes, it is entirely possible, and it wouldn’t be the first time. For decades scientists have been shouting that human activity is warming the planet, but when mentioned to Republicans, the message falls on deaf ears. Ignoring or denying fact-based research has become the new hobby of the Republican Party. In fact, the abortion bill that was passed in the House earlier this week ignores medical consensus. It stipulates that fetuses can feel pain right around 20 weeks which goes against the leading research which states it is actually after 26 weeks.

A darker theory

If Republicans aren’t ignoring the science, then what could possibly be the motive for limiting access to birth control? It has already been established that it is a poor move financially, but is also a foolish decision based off how much society benefits. When birth control becomes affordable, an uplifting pattern begins to emerge. Crime and poverty start to dwindle. People become less dependent on social programs to survive. Women are likelier to continue their education, start a promising career, and become financially solvent.

When access to birth control is denied, the opposite becomes true. Poverty and crime both increase which leads to overcrowded prisons, broken families, and deteriorating communities.

Fear of our neighbors' intensifies which leads to a spike in gun sales. The classes are pitted against one another with the lower economic class becoming scapegoats for all of society’s problems. And while the middle class and the poor are fighting it out, they are distracted from the fact that the Republicans in Washington are giving tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and cutting education so they can pay defense contractors billions of dollars to make unnecessary/obsolete military equipment…eureka.

Never mind, I get it now. Well played Republicans.