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Oct 18, 2008
We’re pro-choice and anti-abortion. Abortion is a horrible experience for any woman to undergo; horrible for her mate, who is forced to be a hopelessly frustrated non-participant on the sidelines; horrible for families and friends. That it often is performed in consequence of a rape or an incestuous attack only makes it more horrible.

Happily, the numbers of abortions have been declining in America for the past generation, from a high of 1,429,247 in 1990 (that is 344 abortions for every 1,000 live births) to 839,226 in 2004 (or 238 for every 1,000 live births).1 That is still a hefty number—almost one abortion for every four live births. Too much suffering all around.

Most abortions in 2004 (33 percent) were performed on women in the 20- to 24-year age group. Sadly, 17 percent were performed on younger women and girls, most of whom had presumably not reached the age of independence. Over 4,300 abortions were performed on girls younger than 15. To speak of the decline of the family is almost to speak a cliche these days. And yet the numbers don’t lie. About half of all first marriages end in divorce, and the number goes up precipitously for second and third marriages.2 The percentage of single-parent households with children increased from 19.5 percent in 1980 to 28.3 percent in 2005. Drug law violations among delinquents have almost tripled between 1990 and 2004 and offenses against the public have more than doubled.3 Reported cases of child abuse (the tip of the iceberg if there ever was one) went up 30 percent between 1990 and 2005.4

So it was with some degree of anticipatory joy that the following press release caught our eye: The Effect of Parental Involvement Laws on the Incidence of Abortion Among Minors. “What!,” we exclaimed, ”There are laws now requiring parents to get involved with their children? What a great idea!”

Alas, no. The study, written by Michael J. New and published by the Family Research Council is merely another screed against abortion, this one posing as a scientific study. The “involvement“ is simply the levels of parental notification or consent required by various states when a child discovers herself to be pregnant, and the study purports to show how the more stringent the level of involvement is (on a scale from mere notification to two-parent consent), the lower the rate of abortion. Well, perhaps, but are we the only ones who find the following extract, with its multiple assaults upon a frightened, frantic fifteen- or sixteen-year old reduced to sciencespeak, overwhelmingly sad?

The regression results indicate that a number of different types of laws result in reductions in the minor abortion rate. Informed consent laws which provide women seeking abortion with information about public and private sources of support, health risks involved with an abortion, and fetal development reduce the minor abortion rate by 3.8 percent. This finding is statistically significant. The regression model finds that public funding restrictions reduce the minor abortion rate by 7.8 percent. This finding is also statistically significant. Finally, partial birth abortion bans have little effect on the minor abortion rate, a finding that is consistent with much of the academic and policy literature that has analyzed the effects of partial birth abortion laws.

Of more interest, however, are the effects of the parental involvement laws. The regression results indicate that the passage of a parental involvement law reduces the minor abortion rate by 13.6 percent....
Harangue them, impoverish them, outlaw them if they wait too long, and if that doesn’t do the trick, rat them out to Mom and Dad. But for goodness sakes, don’t teach them how to take care of themselves in the first place, don’t let them hear about, let alone acquire, condoms or birth control information, despite the fact that we had sex and 75 percent of them are going to have sex before they’re 21, and we know it.5

That one in five pregnancies is considered so unacceptable to the prospective mother that they end in the horror of abortion, that the majority of Americans—men, women, Democrats, Republicans—support abortion rights,6 that no country or culture or legal system has ever granted the fetus the status of a human being, that we live in a world of disappearing resources and exploding populations: None of this matters to the small minority of hysteriarchs infected with the idee fixe that a zygote is imbued with a soul, and are prepared to commit murder and mayhem to enforce their delusions on a healthier, smarter, and vastly more compassionate public.

Obama has said, “we can certainly agree that we should be doing everything we can to avoid unwanted pregnancies that might even lead somebody to consider having an abortion.” We are afraid the fanatics cannot agree to that; however, that is the goal: No unwanted pregnancies. We are on our way, down over 600,000 a year since 1990.

It can be done.
____________________
1 Reproductive Health: Data and Statistics (Abortion) from the Centers for Disease Control (Accesssed October 15, 2008)
2 Single-Parent Households: 1980 to 2005, from the U.S. Census Bureau (Accessed October 15, 2008)
3 Delinquency Cases Disposed by Juvenile Courts by Reason for Referral: 1990 to 2004, op. cit. (Accessed October 15, 2008)
4 Child Abuse and Neglect Cases Substantiated and Indicated— Victim Characteristics: 1990 to 2005, op. cit. (Accessed October 15, 2008)
5 No Sex, Please, We’re Abstaining, from All Together Now, October 5, 2008
6 Abortion in the United States: Public Opinion, from Wikipedia (Accessed October 15, 2008)
tags: Health | Youth

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