How I Lost Faith In The Pro-life Movement: Rebuttal Up In Hurrrrr (Part 1)

Libby Anne, author of the blog Love, Joy, and Feminism, recently wrote an excellent J’accuse, denouncing the pro-life movement for several mistakes that seem to contradict its own proclaimed goal — the end of abortion. I laud her for being willing to dive deeper into the evidence, and I hope she will continue to do so, for the degradation of scientific truth into a pre-ordained set of pithy slogans is a frustrating trait of both the “pro-choice” and the “pro-life” movements. Far better for a “movement” to be questioned and renounced than followed blindly.

Her claims, however, are false. I do not blame her for this, as Anne has been cunningly misled, but I do hope she will take the time to peel back but one more layer from her arguments. Truth requires a deeper look. Let’s have at it then, with the full understanding that rebutting claims is always a slower, stodgier task than making them, and that I speak as Anne speaks — as a layman.

In this section, I will respond to the claim that “banning abortion does not decrease abortion rates”.

She cites as evidence the following from the study “Induced abortion worldwide in 2008: levels and trends” published in The Lancet, a study currently — and frustratingly — unavailable:

Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.

This requires careful thought. The study is not claiming to have established causal relation between laws against abortion and high abortion rates. It merely says that laws restricting abortion are not associated with low abortion rates, and cites three countries as evidence for this claim. If the abortion laws are not having any effect, what is causing high abortion rates in Africa and Latin America, while abortion rates in Western Europe remain low?

Well let’s think about this. What, besides the fact that one has liberal abortion laws and the other does not, could possibly be different about a place like Western Europe and a place like Africa?

Try poverty. 18 of the 20 poorest countries in the world are in Africa. None are in Western Europe. Poverty is associated with a greater motivation to get an abortion. 73% of women who have undergone abortions cite “not being able to afford a child” as a primary reason for doing so.

This means that, if we want to understand the effects of abortion laws on abortion rates, we cannot look at countries with vastly different economic status. Since abortion is often motivated by poverty, it is not a fair comparison, especially considering the astronomical difference in economic status between places like Africa, Latin America, and Western Europe. We will instead have to look at the abortion rates in places of similar wealth, but with the same difference in abortion law. Make sense?

So let’s look at the American States. It’s not a worldwide look, and there are poorer states and richer states, but the difference between them is relatively small. The poverty rate (by household income) throughout the U.S. is no less than 5% and no greater than 20%, which allows us to make a fair comparison regarding the effect of abortion laws on these states (as opposed to the comparison made by the Lancet study, in which countries like Congo, with 75% of the population living on less than a dollar a day, are compared with countries like Germany, with 15.5% of households living below the national poverty line).

In general, states with laws restricting abortion tend to have lower abortion rates than states with liberal abortion laws. I looked at every state. I use the year 2007 in determining abortion rates, as there is a lag in reporting, and the National Abortion Rights Action League’s scorecard for how “pro-choice” a states laws are — the more lax their abortion laws, the better their grade. Here are some examples, limited to the states that received “A” or “F” grades for clarity:

In 2007, Louisiana had an abortion rate of 7.3 abortions per 1000 women. NARAL gives it an F on “choice-related laws”.

In the same year, Washington had an abortion rate of 18.6 abortions per 1000 women. Washington receives an A+ for it’s liberal abortion laws from NARAL.

In 2007, Oklahoma had an abortion rate of 9.8 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL.

In the same year, California had an abortion rate of 14.9 per 1000 women. They recieve an A+ from NARAL.

In 2007, Nebraska had an abortion rate of 6.5 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL.

In the same year, Oregon had an abortion rate of 14.7 abortions per 1000 women. They recieve an A from NARAL.

In 2007, Indiana had an abortion rate of 9 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL.

In the same year, New York had an abortion rate of 29.7 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an A- from NARAL.

In 2007, Arkansas had an abortion rate of 8.9 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL.

In the same year, Hawaii had an abortion rate of 14.9 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an A from NARAL.

In 2007, Missouri had an abortion rate of 12.1 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL.

In the same year, New Jersey had an abortion rate 0f 15.9 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an A- from NARAL.

In 2007, North Dakota and South Dakota had abortion rates of 7.1 and 5.4, respectively. They both receive an F from NARAL.

In the same year, Connecticut had an abortion rate of 21 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an A from NARAL.

In 2007, Kansas had an abortion rate of 10.4 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL.

In the same year, New Mexico had an abortion rate of 16.1 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an A- from NARAL.

There are outliers, such as Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Montana, that have an “A” and an below-average abortion rate, or an “F” grade and a relatively high abortion rate.

In these states, however, the implementation of abortion laws could be seen as reducing previously higher abortion rates. For instance, Virginia’s abortion rate in 1992 was 24.6 abortions per 1000 women. At this time they had no ban on partial-birth abortion, no requirement for abortion providers to inform clients of their other options, Medicaid coverage for abortion, and no law requiring parental consent from minors undergoing abortion. As these laws were enacted, the abortion rate was reduced to 17.3 abortions per 1000 women — still high, but far lower than the abortion rate before such laws were implemented.

Or take Texas: In 1992 the abortion rate was 22.4 abortions per 1000 women. Since 1992 laws have been enacted requiring abortions to be licensed (1997), parental consent (1999), informed consent (2003), and an end to public funding (2005) — to name a few. In 2007, the abortion rate was 15.7 abortions per 1000 women with signs of continued decline.

So why, we must ask, would educated people make a study comparing the abortion rates of countries of radically unequal wealth? Why, if poverty is a factor motivating abortion, was poverty ignored? Why does Anne suggest that if we want to be pro-life, we should look to less restrictive laws on abortion, not more? I wish, I wish, I wish I didn’t have to sound like a conspiracy theorist here, but the study has a strong motivation to ignore the truth and to lie to Anne’s face.

The study comes from the Guttmacher Institute researcher Gilda Sedgh, and is quoted by Anne from the Guttmacher Institute’s “Facts on Induced Abortion Worldwide”.

The problem here is that the Guttmacher Institute were previously the research arm of Planned Parenthood, the world’s largest abortion provider. It was founded as a division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1968 named after Alan F. Guttmacher, who served a term as vice president of the American Eugenics Society, and headed Planned Parenthood Federation of America for more than a decade. It is now “independent” of Planned Parenthood, for the specific reason that people were calling them out for this obvious bias. (Independent in the sense that it receives annual “donations” from Planned Parenthood, amounting to $2,142,076 between 2004-2009 — that is, about as independent as I am from my parents helping me pay for college.) The explicit guiding principles of the Guttmacher Institute are as follows (from their website):

The Institute regards sexual and reproductive health as encompassing a wide range of people’s needs from adolescence onward. The Institute works to protect, expand and equalize universal access to information, services and rights that will enable women and men to avoid unplanned pregnancies; prevent and treat STIs, including HIV; exercise the right to choose safe, legal abortion…

The Institute works to promote abortion. They were founded and are funded by the largest abortion provider in the world, Planned Parenthood. Their existence and livelihood depends to a large extent on popular support for abortion, and our government funding (via Planned Parenthood).

With that aside, let’s get back to the point. It seems reasonable to claim that when economic factors are roughly equal, restrictions on abortion are associated with lower abortion rates. Is this always the case? No. Are laws the primary factor influencing abortion rates? No. In fact, I believe that as often as a law contributes to a woman choosing an alternative to abortion, the law results from general opposition to abortion. When economic factors are roughly equal, it is the ideology of the individuals within the state that truly determines the abortion rate.

The pro-life movement should focus primarily on influencing the culture, on creating a respect for life from the ground up, on providing alternative solutions for women in crisis pregnancies, on convincing others of the scientifically verified reality of the unique human life that is the embryo, and on instilling in the world a greater love for the child. These convictions should become laws in the democratic sense — a popular change of heart should blossom into a popular change of law.

So to summarize: Anne’s initial claim, that the pro-life movement is mistaken in its attempts to enact laws restricting and ultimately banning abortion, based as it is on a bad, inconclusive and illogical quote taken from a highly doubtful study, and countered as it is by our previous comparison of the abortion rates of economically equal states with more or less restrictions on abortion, is false. However, to say that this means that restricting laws directly lower abortion rates would be a jump, as it could be equally true that opposition to abortion within a given state creates those laws, and the subsequent low abortion rate. More research is needed. Anne does, intentionally or not, point out that legal action should not take primacy in the pro-life movement, and in this she is correct: Change the mind of the people, and let the people change their laws.

Please share this with those who have been reading Libby Anne’s excellently written work.

(Part two: “All banning abortion does is make abortion illegal – and unsafe.”)

Eyeball the Enemy
Death as Orgasm
The Spirit of Rebellion
Is Female Purity Bullshit?
  • Lisa Ann Homic

    So more dead babies means A+, they are twisted and I am disgusted.

    • No Whammy

      I suggest you stop voting and start praying. Prayer is the answer to everything.

  • Gail Finke

    She also needs to look at the fact that before abortion was legal in this country there were hardly any done, and now that it’s legal there are almost 4000 a day. How could anyone possibly say that making abortion illegal in this country would not cut down on the number of abortions? Whatever happens in other countries, that was simply not the case here.

    • Rob K

      People have been terminating pregnancies since they figured out how to, so I don’t think you can say that abortions hardly occurred in this country prior to it being legalized, especially since it is dreadfully hard to measure something that you can’t count.

    • Vision_From_Afar

      And what punishment would you find suitable for those who get an abortion once it’s illegal (because it will happen, unless you want me to believe no one does drugs because they‘re illegal)?
      Charged with murder? Manslaughter? A misdemeanor? How many years of prison time should a woman have to suffer through because (as Marc said) she’s poor and can’t afford that next child? How much of a fine should she pay?

      • TheodoreSeeber

        The answer to “she’s poor and can’t afford that next child” is to make sure the father is in the picture- somehow. Not sure how, but I’m not beyond recommending enforced labor for deadbeat dads.

        • Vision_From_Afar

          Because people always behave when the State forces them to? It’s a hairs-breath away from pseudo-slavery. No thanks.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            It isn’t a matter of whether they behave or not. It is a question of justice for the child, and insuring justice.

            Deadbeat dads are a primary cause of abortion in the United States. Some of them even go so far as to force the woman into it to avoid the later child support.

          • MommyAlice

            Perhaps if all the folks who think they’re Christians would follow Christ’s admonition to “Love one another as I have loved you”, there would be less hateful talk, and more acceptance of others…especially women who have found themselves pregnant with no resources.

          • Banyansmom

            Have you ever looked at the work of crisis pregnancy centers? Most of them not only support the woman throughout her pregnancy, but they also put her in touch with adoption agencies, or if she wants to keep the baby, help with baby supplies and so on. They’re often networked with other private agencies that can help with housing, job training, and so on.

          • Joan

            this will not work for married folks who already have kids and work full time or more than one job each and can’t afford more kids. how would you react if you saw a pregnant married woman who was going to give the kid away on the day of the birth? that’s a little weird right? also this only works for white folks. i lived in a group home for pregnant moms at age 17 and the adoptive parents who wanted my healthy white baby did not want my roommate’s half black, half mexican kid. oh and btw, the adoptive parents can give the kid back to the birth mother if there are complications at birth and the kid has any health problems.

            if the state will force me to have a kid i don’t want because the condom broke and the diaphragm came loose, then i will agree to bear this child only if the state gives me in return: one year fully paid maternity leave, free healthcare, free child care for when i go back to work when the child is age 1-5, free college, and housing adequate to house the extra kids. Also some extra money for the kids hockey or ballet or whatever so the kid is not just a latchkey kid.

            abortion – the responsible choice because life isn’t perfect!

          • Ashley Newman

            Love Let’s Live! How is this love? From an unbiased medical site

        • Leigha7

          Because women can only be poor if they have a kid with a deadbeat dad? There’s no such thing as poor couples or dead husbands?

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Because only the irresponsible who do not understand the value of heterosexual monogamy are truly poor.
            One can be very rich indeed and not own even a single penny.

          • Leigha7

            Sorry, no. I know people who grew up with married, heterosexual, monogamous (as far as I know) parents who had miserable home lives, and people who grew up in a single parent family (as the result of divorce or abandonment, not death) who had AMAZING home lives. And oddly, both of those were independent of money. I’ve known people from poor single parent families who were happy and well-adjusted, and people from upper middle class nuclear families who had all kinds of issues.

            But since you seem to be saying that no one can be too poor to afford another child if they’re in a heterosexual monogamous marriage, because even with no money they would be “very rich indeed,” I think you’re missing the part where kids are insanely expensive. Delivery alone, just the very first couple days of the kid’s life, can cost about $10,000. That’s over half a year’s salary at minimum wage (about $15k/year). Nevermind prenatal care, diapers, formula (not everyone can breastfeed, so I’d rather consider that a likely expense that may be avoided rather than the other way around), daycare if both parents work, basic healthcare, food once they start eating it, etc. If you want to try raising half a dozen kids on $15,000 a year, you go right ahead, but realize that you’ll probably have to be on welfare to so much as feed them.

      • LordoftheStrings

        Why should we punish the woman at all? Punish the person who performed the abortion.

        • Vision_From_Afar

          Why should we punish drug users at all? (punish the dealers)

          Why should we punish prostitutes at all? (punish the Johns)

          • Alex

            Amen! We should be treating drug users and locking up drug dealers. We should be providing job training and counseling to prostitutes and locking up the Johns (after arresting them at their workplace in front of their employers). And we should be charging abortionists as serial murderers and memorializing their crimes as we do others who have slaughtered the children of our society.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            I was being sarcastic.
            By your reasoning, every woman who gets an abortion should be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, which is at least 5 years in most states.
            Prostitution, like drugs, should be legal and regulated (testing, licencing, etc.). They’re not going to go away just because you want them to. The best option is education of users and safer methods of practice.

          • Sophias_Favorite

            Also we need to license assassins’ guilds. Hitmen aren’t going away because you want them to, and they have to kill witnesses because their trade is illegal.

            Please tell me why your argument here doesn’t also imply that.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Perhaps the simple fact that going to a prostitute or firing up a blunt is a personal choice, whereas murdering someone isn’t?
            There’s a huge difference between vice and violent crimes that you’re ignoring.

          • Andy

            “Perhaps the simple fact that going to a prostitute or firing up a blunt is a personal choice, whereas murdering someone isn’t?”

            I think we can agree on that. Exactly why abortion should be illegal.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            So, I ask again, What should the woman be charged with, and how long should she be in jail?

          • Andy

            Remember how we got here?

            “Why should we punish the woman at all? Punish the person who performed the abortion.”

          • Anti Stupidity

            When you grow a womb, and have to think about what might grow there, you will be entitled to an opinion.

          • Fed up

            You do know more women than men are prolife, right? and women who have actually given birth are more prolife (favor more stringent restrictions on abortion)? As someone with a womb, Andy has my permission to speak on the behalf of unborn children all he likes.

          • Leigha7

            If women who have given birth are more pro-life, why are the majority of abortions performed on women who already have children? Sorry, that doesn’t make sense.

          • Ashley Newman

            How intolerant and sexist, you must be a liberal.

          • Ashley Newman

            Oh yeah, single men are the MOST prochoice (abortion choice), they love using women and then getting out of paying child support. That is who is on your team. Huh, you have dirtbags, pimps, and child molesters on your side. Prolifers have science, logic and Susan B. Anthony.

          • Ashley Newman

            Tearing live babies apart in the womb is legal. It would take an act of God to change that. If that happens and abortion where to become illegal, going through an abortion is punishment enough, no need to beat a beat horse.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Then why make it illegal at all, if there’s going to be no punishment or legal recognition of the act? That’s just naive.

          • Geoff Scholl

            Not so much. If I choose to kill someone then that is completely a personal choice.

            On a societal level both drugs and murder are illegal for the same reason: They are detrimental to society as a whole. The argument could be made that some drugs are not detrimental (marijuana for instance) but that is not true when viewing the society as a whole.

            Laws are typically created for the protection and fortification of society in the ways the members of that society see fit. What the society sees as detrimental becomes illegal while what the society sees as promotive becomes laudable. If you are to assert that since “[t]hey’re not going to go away just because [we] want them to” (sic) then that standard should be (and I would argue must be) applied to all such circumstances. Up to and including assassins. Logic must be followed to its potential conclusions in order for an argument to be properly understood and for the consequences of that argument to be grasped. The logical conclusion of the “well we cant stop it anyway so we may as well make it legal” means that things like murder, rape, perjury, theft and drunk driving would all have to be made legal and prophylactic measures would have to be put in place to assist people to in performing those acts in a “safe” way.


          • Vision_From_Afar

            If you choose to kill someone, you have made a choice to affect the life of another. If you’re so adamant about there being no difference between abortion and murder, why then is there no difference between drunk driving and drinking while pregnant? Are you going to make that illegal? How are you to enforce it?
            Viewing society as a whole, alcohol has zero redeeming qualities, yet is legal, taxed, and regulated. Marijuana has actual medical uses, but is illegal? How does that work, except as the result of business interests and scatter-shot vice laws.

            You seem to be confusing the “will of the majority” with the “betterment of society.” Simply because a majority of society (i.e. most Christians) feel an activity (abortion, prostitution, alcoholism) is detrimental, it does not grant that majority the right to enact laws based solely on non-secular reasoning.

            If you want to enter the realm of logic, you’ll stumble on abortion. There is no conclusive, scientific evidence of “humanity” (don’t get me started on the feeble efforts to define that nebulous term) in the 1st trimester of a fetus. Logically, that the mother does not wish to, or cannot afford to, raise said resultant child can only benefit society by reducing the strain on the mother in specific and the society as a whole in terms of resource use. There is a reason infanticide is illegal, because the child can exist outside the mother, and can be classified as a separate human under the law. A fetus cannot. There is no counter-argument that does not begin with “what if”.

            You ignore the difference between vice and violence. Vice is my right to do whatever I want to myself, up to and including terminating my own life due to medial reasons, which is no different than abortion. Violence is when I remove the right of another person to choose what they want done to themselves and perform an act without their wishes (rape, murder, removing their right to travel safely (drunk driving), etc.). These are not even remotely similar predicaments, and your attempt at blurring the line fails.


          • Geoff Scholl


            I was responding to the logic of your statement that anything that does not directly affect another person should be permissible. I was not stating my own personal beliefs and feelings.

            Briefly, I feel that marijuana should be legal and alcohol should be illegal. I think abortion is murder and both should be illegal. There is “no difference” (while I feel that I sort of disagree with this statement I am prepared to accept the premise for now) between drunk driving and drinking while pregnant because, while both are potentially dangerous, until the consequences are realized they do not exist (similar to how thinking of killing someone is not illegal but preparing for and acting on it IS illegal).

            The logic of abortion is simple and plain. A unique member of the human species (individual and unique DNA, cells, organs, response to stimuli, ability to take in nutrients and grow, etc) is created at conception. To attempt to define “humanity” at any other point is to enact an arbitrary measure that can then be defined anywhere along the timeline of a person. This was seen in the recent “after-birth abortion” article discussed in a medical ethics journal. Whether a unique member of the human species can exist WITHOUT something is irrelevant since there are many people (diabetics for instance) that require absolutely something that their bodies cannot produce. After a person has their thyroid removed for whatever reason they no longer produce the thyroid hormones which regulate metabolism and (according to your “cannot survive” attitude/assertion) whoever they become dependent upon to provide those can cause their death whenever they choose.

            I am not ignoring the difference between vice and violence, I am emphasizing their similarities on a societal level. The societal effect is similar in that they both destabilize the structure of society. Vice can cause a person to stop producing or contributing as can violence. I am not “blurring the line” between the two, I am showing the similar genetic patterns (to use an awful analogy).

            Again, this comes down to your assertion that what cannot be stopped should be licensed, taxed and the safety assured. Perhaps you should respond to my assertion that following that line of logic we would have to legalize, tax and provide risk mitigation measures for rape, theft, et al since we clearly cannot stop those things?


          • Anti Stupidity

            Not only that, most people spend time having or thinking about sex. Most people do not spend time killing, or thinking about killing. We need to stay in the present reality.

          • Anti Stupidity

            Taking an argument to it’s logical conclusion is the argument’s greatest strength and it’s greatest weakness.

            I’ll tell you what the really logical conclusion is…MEN. KEEP IT ZIPPED. If you only have sex when you want to procreate WITH A WILLING PARTNER WHO ALSO WANTS TO PROCREATE, then we wouldn’t have this problem. All the holier than thou’s are forgetting that part…Maybe the Catholics have it right?

          • Banyansmom


          • Geoff Scholl


          • Anti Stupidity

            Why don’t we just let women chose? Let her use contraception…Unless you guys want to stop having sex with women whose children you don’t want to support?

          • Geoff Scholl

            Men (and women) shouldnt have sex unless and until they are ready to accept the consequences. As I see it there is no point in using someone elses body to bring me pleasure. It is nothing more than masturbation that feels better but has incredibly dramatic consequences.

          • wyllow

            You sir, are what is wrong with America today.

          • Fed up

            Canadian law does punish the Johns, and the pimps, and not the prostitutes. And plenty of drug laws in various states let users off with a gentle slap on the wrist but are far more punitive on dealers. It’s nice to see you’re getting the idea.

        • Anti Stupidity

          Or the man who got her pregnant?

          • Sabrina

            What if the woman gets pregnant without the consent of the man?
            Don’t tell me that it doesn’t happen… How will you prove that in court?

          • Geoff Scholl

            Non-consentual sex is very rare on the male side. We sort of have to desire it at some stage, if you catch my drift.

          • Leigha7

            That’s actually not true, Geoff, and it’s that reasoning that is responsible for men severely underreporting rape. Sex requires physical arousal of the male, but that doesn’t mean he has to want sex in any way. If a girl (or guy) started touching you, you would eventually become physically aroused. And most men get erections in their sleep, right? It would be easy for a woman to take advantage of that. It happens. But the fact is, the body responds to physical stimulus regardless of what the person wants, and many rape victims (of both genders) respond physically to the unwanted stimulus.

            Of course, she didn’t mean non-consensual sex so much as consensual sex where the man was under the impression the woman was on the pill, but she actually isn’t. However, I don’t see any issue with your line of response, given how many people are arguing that you shouldn’t have sex if you don’t want kids (sorry, people who never want to have kids).

          • Geoff_Fides

            Well, as a male who has had something like male rape happen to me, I can still say it is very rare.
            The different attitude regarding sex that is prevalent among men is part of the problem to which I think you are referring: among men it is dominant, capture, conquer, etc. so even when undesired it still feels like you SHOULD be happy about it.
            My point was referring to the second portion of your comment, not the male-rape aspect. Any time there is intercourse there is the risk of consequence. Any decision to engage in sexual activity has the same risk. I accept that this is a poor analogy in advance, but I cannot think of another so: If I were to put a gun to my head, thinking it was unloaded, and pull the trigger repeatedly I would be widely regarded as foolish because I do not want the unintended consequence. And yet when a child is the unintended consequence people seem to have no concern with putting the “unloaded” gun to their heads and pulling the trigger.
            My dad always told me “you gotta pay to play”. If you are not willing to accept the consequences (however unlikely) of the actions you are engaging in then do not engage in those actions.

      • Anti Stupidity

        And who will care for their other children? Foster care? Oh, I forgot…One of the guys running for president wants to cut out funding for supporting poor children…

        • Ashley Newman

          And your team’s answer to the world’s ills is killing babies in the womb, that’s your plan. Sad.

        • Vision_From_Afar

          Thank you for making my point for me.
          If you make something illegal, there is an accompanying punishment. Something I have yet to get a straight answer about from any “pro-life” proponent.

    • Anti Stupidity

      Who says there were hardly any done??? Maybe not legally. How old are you? I remember before available abortion. Do you?

    • Linda Nicola

      Abortions were fairly common in america. Newspapers regularly advertised medications (actually poisons) to “regulate female cycles.” Abortions were made illegal, not to save children’s lives, but to save women’s lives. Too many were dying from back alley abortions, self abortion, or poisons. I know many women now who are learning how to abort or gathering ‘medicines’ to regulate female cycles. Abortions won’t end when it is illegal. Only safe abortions will end.

      • Joan

        in ancient Rome, a particular herb went extinct because it was very useful in terminating pregnancies. the demand for this plant drove it to extinction. look it up – it’s true! amazingly people have been having sex and dealing with this problem for a few years now. not just since the hippie liberal days. actually in margaret sanger’s time, abortions were not a problem at all – birth control was seen as the danger to society and married couples! isn’t it funny how we memorialize the past and venerate our ancestors? they were doing the same stuff we are!

      • wyllow

        And Kermit Gosnell’s office, which is not nearly as rare as it should be, is better than a “back alley abortionist” – how? No argument will ever convince a truly MORAL person that abortion is okay under any circumstances.

  • Dave

    States with more restrictions probably already have a higher percentage of women who are less likely to choose abortion. What also needs to be seen is whether abstinence only or plus birth control sex ed classes do to pregnancy rates. Also, simply making it harder for women to get an abortion is a different situation from making it illegal. You would probably get a decrease with outlawing it but they’d still take place clandestinely.

    The other issue is that abortion rates sometimes correspond to economic numbers. Those who can afford another child tend not to abort whereas the poor tend to feel they have no choice but to abort.

    So the numbers you cite are striking but could be related to other factors.

    • Thoughtful being

      How come all you guys talk as though this is all about the woman? You want the sex, right? But you don’t want to marry. Don’t want to take responsibility for the children, and don’t want her to use birth control, and don’t want her to abort the baby??? What’s up with that?

      • Fed up

        You’re getting confused. The guys who want the sex, without marrying, without taking responsibility for any children – those assholes are usually one hundred percent in favor of both birth control and abortion. Why wouldn’t they be? It enables their assholery. And pushing your girlfriend into an abortion is a hell of a lot cheaper than paying child support for 18 years.

        The package deal that comes with personal religious opposition to birth control, and rational, ethical objections to abortion, is that the men in the movement have to man up and be responsible. Do people fall short? Sure. But I’m a lot more comfortable around guys whose ideal is to respect sex as something amazing that is likely to result in a child, then I am in the popular culture in which sex is cheap and women are assumed to have sterilized themselves so they can be available for men.

        • Emma Ryan

          there are men who dont want to use birth control, and dont want her to have an abortion then when she gets pregnant. the reasons are not connected, he doesnt like using condoms cos ‘ it doesnt feel the same’ and he doesnt think abortions are ok ‘cos its killing babies’. Usually the same guys who wont go to work and financially support the child either :(

          • Acacia Paladin

            So why have sex with them? The simplest solution is the most difficult to accept: don’t have sex with someone whom you are not sure about having a kid with, and if you are, make sure you can commit to financial and parental support. If everyone thought this way, it would end all ethical questions concerning abortion and contraception.

            But no, people want recreational sex because they don’t know how else to entertain themselves, and then they want an easy way out of the consequences.

  • b0bb3h

    Hooray for research! Keep doing God’s work, Marc. We certainly appreciate you for it!

  • John Henry

    Also, abortion/pregnancy ratio might be more telling than abortion/woman ratio.

    • Randy Gritter

      I thought that too. Some of the low abortion rates are from countries with aging populations. More old people means few pregnancies and fewer abortions. Why are there more old people? Because previous generations had more abortions.

      So access to contraception and abortion will reduce the number of abortions because it will cause the population to decrease. Pro-life cultures will continue and pro-abortion cultures will die out leading to no abortions.

      • Thoughtful being


        Have you forgotten the zero population growth movement of the last century? We HAD to reduce population growth, or risk pandemic overpopulation. Yes, populations drop when birth control is used…that was the point!

        We are fortunate in the US, because we have a very diverse culture, and some people want large families, and some don’t.

        It SOUNDS as if you are anti abortion and anti birth control, although I admit it is just an assumption. However you must know that population will rise and fall over time, and each generation will have it’s own idea about what proper family size is…so, unless you try to immortalize your own belief system in law, they will do whatever seem right to them during their lifetime. and that is none of our business.

        • wyllow

          Do some research into the “population pandemic” and you will find out that you, sir, have been duped.

  • Vision_From_Afar

    First off, Brava on writing an entire rebuttal on a murky side-issue of the original issue. The legal access to abortion (or removal thereof) is the ultimate goal of the two “sides”, but didn’t really come close to being that important to the overall argument that Anne was making. That said, let’s continue:

    Carrying your “apples to apples” comparison idea to it’s logical conclusion (poverty->abortion), let’s add some pertinent information to your state-by-state breakdown:

    In 2007, Oklahoma had an abortion rate of 9.8 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL. With unemployment at 4.3% and an average of $12.82/hr wage

    In the same year, California had an abortion rate of 14.9 per 1000 women. They recieve an A+ from NARAL. With unemployment at 5.4% and an average of $22.11/hr wage

    In 2007, Nebraska had an abortion rate of 6.5 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL.With unemployment at 3.0% and an average of $16.96/hr wage

    In the same year, Oregon had an abortion rate of 14.7 abortions per 1000 women. They recieve an A from NARAL. With unemployment at 4.3% and an average of $19.25/hr wage

    In 2007, Indiana had an abortion rate of 9 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL. With unemployment at 4.9% and an average of $17.51/hr wage

    In the same year, New York had an abortion rate of 29.7 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an A- from NARAL. With unemployment at 4.5% and an average of $22.89/hr wage

    In 2007, Arkansas had an abortion rate of 8.9 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL. With unemployment at 5.4% and an average of $15.60/hr wage

    In the same year, Hawaii had an abortion rate of 14.9 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an A from NARAL.With unemployment at 2.6% and an average of $19.33/hr wage

    In 2007, Missouri had an abortion rate of 12.1 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL. With unemployment at 5.0% and an average of $17.90/hr wage

    In the same year, New Jersey had an abortion rate 0f 15.9 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an A- from NARAL. With unemployment at 4.2% and an average of $22.64/hr wage

    In 2007, North Dakota and South Dakota had abortion rates of 7.1 and 5.4, respectively. They both receive an F from NARAL.With unemployment at 3.2% and a $16.18/hr wage and 3.0% and $15.16/hr respectively

    In the same year, Connecticut had an abortion rate of 21 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an A from NARAL. With unemployment at 4.6% and an average wage of $22.92/hr

    In 2007, Kansas had an abortion rate of 10.4 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an F from NARAL. With unemployment at 4.1% and an average wage of $17.45/hr

    In the same year, New Mexico had an abortion rate of 16.1 abortions per 1000 women. They receive an A- from NARAL. With unemployment at 3.5% and an average wage of $17.21/hr

    Well now, isn’t that bizzare. If a state had “average” unemployment and a mean hourly wage higher than $19/hr…they had more abortions! Could it be that within this country, the number of abortions has next to nothing to do with financial breakdown and everything to do with demographics?

    Staunchly Republican Oklahoma (home of the pointless Sharia amendment) and the die-hard Republican Dakotas, home of some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country have low rates, while liberal hotbeds California and New York have higher rates.

    Honestly, you could probably break it down even further into *gasp* religious breakdown and I guarantee the trends between decreasing abortion rates (i.e. – VA and TX) are an exact match to the rise in religious influence of the political and public sphere in the state.

    Maybe Anne’s data is skewed…but so is yours.

    EDIT: Unemployment Data from
    Wage data from

    • Marc Barnes

      Absolutely, and that’s ultimately my point. Poverty matters when it is as radical a difference as Africa and Europe. Here, where we are much closer in our average earnings, as you say, “the number of abortions has next to nothing to do with financial breakdown and everything to do with demographics”.

      “So to summarize: Anne’s initial claim, that the pro-life movement is mistaken in its attempts to enact laws restricting and ultimately banning abortion, based as it is on a bad, inconclusive and illogical quote taken from a highly doubtful study, and countered as it is by our previous comparison of the abortion rates of economically equal states with more or less restrictions on abortion, is false. However, to say that this means that restricting laws directly lower abortion rates would be a jump, as it could be equally true that opposition to abortion within a given state creates those laws, and the subsequent low abortion rate. More research is needed. Anne does, intentionally or not, point out that legal action should not take primacy in the pro-life movement, and in this she is correct: Change the mind of the people, and let the people change their laws.”

      And this is precisely what I’ll be looking at in the next posts, what makes people more ideologically likely to get abortions. Thanks for the help!

      • Vision_From_Afar

        Except my point is that the states are not economically equal. There’s a big difference between $12/hr in OK and $22/hr in NY. Your post also ignores the potential for traveling out-of-state to where the laws are more lax, thus skewing heavily in terms of population-to-abortion, an ability not available to those 3rd world areas.

        • Kristen inDallas

          “There’s a big difference between $12/hr in OK and $22/hr in NY.”
          when you compare to cost of living, not so much. If you actually wanted to look at the affect of poverty on the differences, why not just pull data about the percentage of people living below poverty (as easily available from the census as the numbers you pulled). Average wage has a lot more to do with cost of living than it does to actually being poor. $12/hr*40 hrs = $480 a week, more than enough to rent out a decent 2 br house with back yard in OK. $22/hr*40 = $880 per week, about enough for a cramped efficiency in NYC.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            There’s more to the state of New York than NYC, you know. I kinda feel sorry for anyone stuck in Albany, or anyone else in that state that has little to do with that psychotic mass of humanity.

      • Peter Samwel

        Marc, further food for thought would be an analysis of Ireland as compared to the US rather than African nations. Over the past decade Ireland has enjoyed a substantially higher cost of living than even some other European nations….and yet still has an outright ban on abortions.

        Not sure what kind of stats you can get from Ireland considering its illegality, but thought I would throw that in the mix as an option as you ponder Par Deux.

      • Alice Griffin

        First off, PEOPLE do not get abortions. WOMEN get abortions. Why? Because they are the ones carrying the child. So, how did it get there?

        Men get mad when women abort babies the men put in their wombs, even if the man has no intention of supporting the child or the mother.

        If men want the mothers to carry your babies to term, they need to make a commitment to the mother and the child. That means, in most cases, that they must be willing to be monogamous.

        I know male genetics urges men to spread their genes through the female population as far as possible. It is hard to fight the urge. It actually benefits the species by creating more genetic diversity.

        However, we are not animals, and, like birds sitting on eggs, human females need support and nourishment during child bearing and rearing. Being Human is not easy, and under some circumstances it is impossible.

        The society that has evolved here in the US (that is really what we are talking about, isn’t it?) does not currently allow a woman to stay home with her children. For some reason, even a Man, who earns 25% more than a woman at almost any job they do, does not earn enough for his wife to stay home. This is not a secondary fact. It is important. So she has to work. who’s going to raise the kids? Daycare. Can you afford it?
        I could write a whole treatise on this. Just think about it. Not in generalities, but about what happens to a single family. a single sperm.
        See what you think then. This, also, is not immaterial. However your imagined story plays out, it is most likely true.

        Life on Earth has always been a challenge. Just because we have advanced technologies and all the comforts available, does not mean it is not still a challenge. The issue of raising children has also always been a challenge. Having many children allowed for the fact that many of them would not live to adulthood. Because life has always been a challenge.

        If you want a pregnant girl or woman not to have an abortion, provide for her. Rent, utilities, food, clothing, medical care, transportation, companionship, education about pregnancy and child rearing, birthing, support for the child…clothing, diapers, medical care.

        Do we have places that provide such support for a girl or woman to turn when she is pregnant?

        It is all well and good to stand back, and say women shouldn’t have abortions. It is another to commit to creating a way to make it unnecessary.

        • Leigha7

          Women are people. People are animals. (Married) women can be stay at home moms if they choose, just like men can be stay at home dads if they so desire, though it may require a lower standard of living if the working parent is not very well paid. There is a not insignificant number of people who stay at home BECAUSE daycare costs more than they would make (or enough to make it not worth what little surplus there would be). There is also no reason to believe having a stay at home parent is preferable. Studies have consistently shown that kids turn out okay most of the time either way, and that both have pros and cons (for example, kids in daycare learn more social skills, have less emotional distress at being separate from their parents, and may have stronger immune systems)

          I agree with your basic premise, but not so much with the way you present it.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      I would argue that greater employment, compensated greater, makes stay at home parenthood significantly less attractive.

      • Reluctant Liberal

        But significantly more possible.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          Not as much as you’d think. There’s a deadly trap between rising incomes and rising cost of standard of living that plagues the middle class and below; once the basic thresholds of first-order Maslow needs are met, it can be significantly easier to be in a single-income family in an area of the country where a 3br2ba house costs $90,000 than in an area of the country where a 3br2ba house costs $300,000 or above.

          I have even seen the rather serious argument that feminism, in promoting two income families, has resulted in such an inflation of standard of living that it has increased daycare use.

          In Europe, where daycare and maternity leave is subsidized by the government, you see fewer abortions. I have NO doubt in my mind, given the clients my wife has in her daycare, that the single biggest thing we could do to reduce abortion would be to add daycare and maternity leave benefits to WIC. This would count far more than free contraceptives (which, being free, are going to have a lower standard of quality, and thus, ironically, encourage more abortion- Consumer Reports did a study on that back in 2005).

          But it is standard of living that makes the gap between the poor and the rich wide and encourages abortion.

      • Reluctant Liberal

        But much more financially possible for people.

    • Peter Samwel

      Include cost of living index averages per state as well, and your wage disparity adds up to diddly.

      • Vision_From_Afar

        Except that data doesn’t exist outside of major metro areas, which beyond a state capital (i.e. -ND) not all states have. Or my Google-Fu is weak.

        Find it for me, and I’ll concede the wage data, but not the follow-up demographic point, which you failed to address.

        • Peter Samwel

          Nor should it, metro area aggregates for COLI data are more than sufficient as the reason they don’t do rural inclusion is the cost of accumulation far outweighs the gains in accuracy.

          If you’re really concerned about it skewing the results, take the raw BLS wage data and exclude non-metro data, thereby giving you apples to apples. You’ll see a) there isn’t much variance between the two and b) my point of using both wage and COLI data to determine overall disparity is quite valid.

    • Alice Griffin

      Why use average wages, and not the mean? All the average does is tell you that there are as many dollars above as below. so if you have one million people who have $12,000 per year, that you have 500,000 earning $24,000 or 250,000 earning $48,000, or one earning $12 million per year. It says nothing about how many women are so poor that they cannot support one more child.

      • Leigha7

        Average and mean are the same thing. It’s median that’s different. The most useful way to represent income is in percents and brackets, not a single number (i.e. what percent are below the poverty line, what percent make over $250k, what percent are considered middle class, etc.). But you can’t use that as a glance and it’s harder to use in math.

        But the median is what is usually used for income. The average means you take the total amount made by everyone in the group and divide it by the size of the group. The median is the fifty percent mark–half the population makes less than that amount, half makes more. This means millionaires can’t skew the data, they simply count as one person above the median rather than boosting the total amount of money by a huge amount.

        The median income in the US is about $50,000.

    • Joan

      when i had my abortion around 2005, i lived in a coastal town in California. I made about 15/hour at one job that i worked at 30 hours per week. i made about 12-13 at a retail job that gave me benefits working 20 hours per week. my husband was in training as an apprentice making approx 15-20/hour and on weekends making 12 for 8-12 hour shifts depending on season. 50 hour work weeks for me and 70 for him. our rent was 2000, one car payment about 300, my student loan on a 20 year repayment plan (at 6% interest – so basically paying 300k on a 40k loan) was about 200. we rented out rooms to students or coworkers and my husband son and i all slept in the master suite. this was to be in a fairly nice neighborhood of the town we grew up in, not having any money to move since we had kept the baby we got pregnant with at age 17 and somehow through WIC, Pell Grants, MediCal, and the now non-existent Cal Grants, and the kindness of strangers, with occasional baby sitting and Xmas gifts thrown in from family – we were dead fucking broke. I never got haircuts, nice clothes, comfy shoes even though i stood on my feet. Work boots, car repairs, field trip fees, would throw us into a tailspin. Not having another mouth to feed, priceless. We now are in the middle class, own a home, and we have a great life. Our $15/hour jobs are averaged in with the whole state, which includes a lot of movie stars, Google executives etc, which brings up the average but not a lot of waitresses and grocery store checkers make 20/hour! and that is not enough to have a kid on!!! you need tons of money in the bank OR free shit from the government. so which is it, GOP? you can make us keep the kids IF you provide cradle to grave financial security for all of us? that would be paying us to procreate, which i believe you feel is fine, as long as you have the video, am i right?

      • Vision_From_Afar

        So…you’re agreeing with me? I honestly can’t tell. I’m arguing pro-choice, and it appears from the end of your comment that you’re doing the same…

        • Joan

          Absolutely pro-choice! I was just trying to show that a 20/hour average wage isn’t enough to pay for an unplanned baby. Birth control is truly one of the best technological advancements of the 20th century.

        • Joan

          Absolutely pro-choice! I was just trying to show that a 20/hour average wage isn’t enough to pay for an unplanned baby. Birth control is truly one of the best technological advancements of the 20th century.

        • Joan

          i’m ABSOLUTELY pro-choice! I was just trying to show how in a state with such “high” wages, it’s still possible to be in financial distress and not be able to care for another child. i know more than the average person because i kept my first unplanned pregnancy but i could not afford to do it again. fun fact: i was one of those kids pulled out of health class in public school ;) and my husband a product of 8 years of catholic and christian schools.

  • Rob K

    I read her blog and also thought it was pretty well written. But then I am not one who sees the issue in stark black and white like the extremes on both sides seem to. Frankly, I don’t think that much of anything in life is, so avoiding false dichotomies is generlly a good practice.

    • Sophias_Favorite

      Life and death are pretty black and white.

      Now, where and how—or if—blame is assigned, in a particular death, is complex, a matter of assessing and weighing many relevant facts, but the fact of someone being alive or dead is pretty much as monochrome as things get.

      • Rob K

        Life and death may be (though even different religions might argue that one a bit), but the pro- vs. anti-abortion debate is not, regardless of how hard either side tries to make it so.

        • Sophias_Favorite

          No, it really, really is—a thousand times more than slavery or gay rights. “Don’t kill babies, no matter where they are” is pretty damn simple.

          • Rob K

            *smiles, nods, and wanders off….

          • Sophias_Favorite

            Come on, then, tell me why it isn’t that simple. Tell me how people before a certain age are totally killable. Tell me how the circumstances of their conception make killing them not murder.

            Come on, you plainly think you’re better than “extremists”, well put up or shut up. How about you demonstrate your superior grasp of the issue’s complexities, instead of assuring us that—though you can’t describe them—they’re, like, totally there, and stuff, man.

            Maybe they’re not extreme at all, maybe you’re just too muddleheaded to comprehend the issue.

        • MichelleMarie

          It’s pretty black and white. Either you exist or you don’t. Doesn’t get any simpler than that.

  • N

    You don’t make a full rebuttal or a counter argument by cherry picking state laws instead of national laws. This is slanted, and no one would need to promote abortion to get funding from Planned Parenthood. Last I heard, less of 3% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions.

  • Randy Gritter

    This is good work. The idea that the law has no effect on abortion is ridiculous on its face. Certainly pro-abortion do not believe this. They complain that a movie like Juno makes people keep their baby. They complain when women have to travel to get abortions because many women don’t make the trip. Just nothing in anybody’s experience on either side of the debate is consistent with the idea that laws have zero effect.

    Libby Anne made a choice to stop listening to the pro-life side and start listening to the pro-choice side. I think there was a lot of emotion around that choice. She has some major disagreements with her family over religion. I have a hard time believing that she was as coldly rational as she sounds in the article.

    • Alice Griffin

      I don’t think Libby Anne expresses cold rationality. She is challenging those she believed to show her that they were really concerned about saving babies. They have been unable to show that saving babies is their real concern.

      She researched the things she believed, to find out if they are true. She discovered enough inconsistencies to make her question the statements she had been taught were true.. She then began, as a young adult should, to explore her own true beliefs, as opposed to parroting what she had been taught.

      I have always said that laws should be based in reality. Modern society did not make up abortion. It was something that was happening. By keeping it illegal, we were allowing women to be killed or damaged irreparably. By legalizing abortion, we made it possible for those who would abort anyway, to do so safely.

      I am sure that you know that there are religious groups that do not allow their members to have surgery, because they believe that they will need their intact bodies when they are “raised again”. Should they have the right to dictate that the rest of us go without surgery even if we do not share their religious belief?

      Most Americans (I know this shocks the religious, and they claim it isn’t true) do not consider themselves to be Christian. To delude yourself that we will become a Christian Theocracy, is, as my mother used to say, wrongheaded. I have trouble understanding how some people are so horrified at middle eastern theocratic societies, but want to create one here!

      • Fed up

        What amazes me is how secular people keeping dragging religion into the abortion debate. None of the arguments against abortion have anything to do with religious belief. They do rest on the premise that it is dangerous and arrogant to set the precedent of deeming a human being to be a ‘non-person’ at any point. Are you saying that a non-christian culture is incapable of sharing that basic premise of the inherent value of human life?

        (FWIW, not only do the majority of Americans self-identify as Christian, the majority also favor restrictions on abortion and have negative opinions of those who procure and perform abortions. The literature on this is not under question – pro-abortion organizations have been freaking out for the last decade over the distaste the younger generation has for pro-choice rhetoric).

  • Candice

    I like that you wrote this article but I disagree that “The pro-life movement should focus primarily on influencing the culture,
    on creating a respect for life from the ground up, on providing
    alternative solutions for women in crisis pregnancies, on convincing
    others of the scientifically verified reality of the unique human life
    that is the embryo, and on instilling in the world a greater love for
    the child.”

    What really needs to happen is that we radically change our lifestyles and stop supporting keeping others in poverty to live a lavish lifestyle. The food you eat, the clothes you purchase, those are your social votes, so to speak. You are part of an international political economy, and with that comes the responsibility to be conscious of your part in the world. Americans (and I only speak for that population because I am a part of it) tend to waste sooooo much. I am pro-life, but that does not simply mean I oppose abortion. I take the stance of being a good steward of the earth seriously, including opposing factory farming that harms other people and the animals. As well as conserving water, opposing non-renewable fuel sources, and making others aware of how their actions can liberate or enslave those in foreign countries by providing demand.

    The picture is a lot broader when it comes to poverty than you paint, Marc. I hope you do a follow up on this topic because it’s a harsh reality that most people don’t want to know about or change their lifestyle for.

    • Sophias_Favorite

      You appear to subscribe to the long-exploded fallacy that economics is a zero-sum game. It is not. We are not “keeping others in poverty to live a lavish lifestyle”. The developed world’s business is far more frequently the agent of prosperity in poorer countries, than of abuses; the rising tide really does lift all boats, though admittedly some boats are smaller than others or rise more slowly. Before you dispute that with me I’d like you to define the word “proletarian”—knowing what it actually means is, I’ve found, a useful litmus test for whether someone has a right to an opinion on economics.

      As for “non-renewable fuel sources”…you are aware that solar cells are made of ultra-pollutants, and even then never exceeds 8-13% efficiency? Well, modern technology is projected, not demonstrated, to be capable of 30% efficiency…in laboratory conditions. The least-efficient fission plants—and I am not interested in hearing your taboos about nuclear power, so do not chant them at me—are 35% efficient, right “off the shelf”, so to speak. The only viable “renewable” energy source is wind, and that, the NIMBYs won’t let us build in the best locations (aside from its effects on birds).

      • Candice

        Wow, that was rude, and I wholeheartedly know what that word means. Everyone has a right to any opinion, but whether it’s informed or not is up for debate. I could pull out a TON of facts that back up my claim that more often than not, foreign investment ISN’T good for the world has a whole. But i won’t bother since you seem so close minded about the entire subject.

        As for alternative fuels, well, I didn’t specifically mention those, and I didn’t say the technology was available now, but I think it’s insane not to be on board with rising advances and funding of the research for those advances.

        Clearly, you missed THAT entire point. I was commenting on how we need to change our daily lifestyle habits, little by little, because at the rate we use energy, we really are going to have a problem in the near future, no matter what method we use. And that simply isn’t being good stewards of this earth He gave us.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    This page from Libby Anne’s blog says everything you really need to know about her:

    She’s not interested in the type of “faith and reason” truth that Catholics are, she’s just interested in rejecting her parent’s religion out of rebellion against the overwhelming authoritarian tendencies of a heretical version of Christianity.

    • Vision_From_Afar

      Ad hominem attack much?

      • Sophias_Favorite

        Unfortunately, the ad hominem is only formally a fallacy; since most of public discourse consists of the ab auctoritate fallacy, the ad hominem is a legitimate counter.

        Do you honestly deny that our knowledge of Freud’s messed up biography has had a massive impact on his prestige in psychology?

        • Vision_From_Afar

          It’s also still an easy way to brush aside points that you’re uncomfortable with simply because the person making the argument has a past you can point to as inherently negative. It implicitly rejects something Marc talks about often on this blog, namely the notion of truth as a concept outside of group consensus.

          I don’t deny that Freud’s biography has an impact on his prestige in psych, but to (like you’re doing) ignore all of his work simply because of that rejects the notion that even the most flawed and broken human can grasp some semblance of truth beyond their skewed perspective. Or should we just give up on rebellious and damaged people?

          Your OP doesn’t ask we use her blog as context, but rather to reject all of her arguments out-of-hand, which is uncalled for.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            “Your OP doesn’t ask we use her blog as context, but rather to reject all of her arguments out-of-hand, which is uncalled for.”

            I meant to use it as a context, but that context is so beyond anything resembling objectivity that we must then reject her arguments as subjective.

            But hey, just use the laws of fallacy to avoid thinking.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Just following your example. ;)

          • TheodoreSeeber

            I don’t use the laws of fallacy as an authority in a vain attempt to avoid authority telling me what is good and what is evil.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            You just use them to back up your inherent authority of speaking from the Catholic playbook to avoid addressing any points individually. Heaven forbid you should decide for yourself what is good and evil.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Nope. The Catholic playbook doesn’t use Fallacy.

            And it’s not like you have proven that you are capable of deciding good and evil with your Malthusian Eugenics age-based support of genocide.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            No, it doesn’t. You do. It’s cute that you think name-calling will hurt my feelings.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Just pointing out that her philosophical underpinnings aren’t so much rooted in actual study of the subject as they are in adolescent rebellion.

        I also find it interesting how many people opposed to any sort of moral authority so readily cling to the moral authority of so-called logical fallacies, at least when it suits their point.

    • stubbikins

      how dare she refute religion with… facts?

  • Reluctant Liberal

    How about lots of different things affect abortion rates. Since I’m pretty sure Latin American and African cultures are generally more anti-abortion than Western European cultures, I don’t think culture is THE thing that most influences abortion rates.

    And access to contraception definitely needs to be considered another thing that reduces abortion. I haven’t seen anyone mention that yet. Poverty, culture, contraception, what else is there?

    • TheodoreSeeber

      The problem with access to contraception, is that there is a proven quality control problem with cheap contraception.

      Funny, even the Guttmacher Institute, so derided above, admits that in the course of a year, regular condom users will experience something between 11%-41% breakage rate:

      • Vision_From_Afar

        That’s what the pill is for.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          I thought the pill was for causing cancer:

          But I guess you Malthusians will not stop at anything to reduce the human population.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Breathing air can give you cancer. That is a scare-tactic study no different than the “immunizations give you autism” study.

            Also, have you looked at the rate of population growth lately? Bury your head in the sand if you want, but don’t whine about starving children because over-population reduces scarce resources from slim to none.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Oh, I see, you’re a Malthusian Atheist. Starving children aren’t caused by excess population, they’re caused by greedy first world standards of living:

            If we all lived like people in Bangladesh, we’d have plenty of space and resources.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Cute, but you’ve got me in the wrong box.
            I’m just a firm believer in personal responsibility. If you can’t feed yourself in a 3rd world country, why the frak are you having kids? Oh, that’s right, the conservatives demand you have the baby anyway, condoms and pills be damned!

            That graphic is so skewed it’s not even funny. People in New York have approximately the same compact living style, but we’re a country that’s multiple powers of 10 larger, and averages have a habit of not meaning diddly when stretched to compare something that different.

            I refuse to feel guilty for being American. Take your Privilege Guilt (TM) somewhere else.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Considering that you are genocidal, does it matter why you are a bigot?
            Your “firm belief in personal responsibility” is more “I’ve got mine and I’m willing to kill everybody else to keep it”.

            In other words, you’re just another sociopath.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Does that level of self-righteousness come with an achivement reward? How hard are you punching the keyboard as you dole out internet justice and judgement? Thanks for the laugh.

          • Joan

            how are you going to force all americans to live like bangladeshis? the plan to raise the top tax rate from 35-39% that it was under Clinton has caused the GOP to run around screaming socialism and job killers for the last 4 years! how can you ask millions of people to give up cars and heat and start growing food in their gardens, which if you don’t do, then you’ll starve, because you have no money to buy food? that is absolutely crazy. why can’t we raise the standard of living there to how it is here? and no, i have nothing from walmart or target in my home. i don’t shop, get manicures, or do other conspicuous consumption things – but i do have a bike to get to work and a car to go grocery shopping.

      • stubbikins

        Guttemacher reports facts and findings, there is no “admitting” in it, they post the data for anyone to analyze.

  • nitnot

    “American Eugenics Society”
    oy vey

  • Michael Duncan McPherson

    Marc!!! This is your best post yet in my (not so) humble opinion. Good work, I’m excited for the next one.

  • Timothy Davis

    A minor quibble: use of the phrase “scientifically verified” is misleading. The natural sciences, as generalizations based upon empirical observations, have always the character of opinion, not knowledge, constantly subject as they are to change. Thus the sciences have little or nothing to do with truth. Arguments for or against abortion can include observations based in the natural sciences only as probable claims; and they should probably rely upon reasoning and ordinary experience alone.

  • Renee P.

    During the beginning of this article, you make a crucial mistake: you try to equate the numbers of recorded abortions occurring in clinics with overall abortion numbers. The original argument is that people will continue to have abortions, legal or not, so your numbers are invalid are a counterargument. The only valid way to make a counterargument would be to gather data on “back alley” unrecorded abortions in the areas that are more restrictive, tally that up with recorded abortions, and THEN compare to more liberal areas. Currently all you can say is that states with more restrictive abortion laws have fewer recorded, clinical, safe, clean abortions, not that they have fewer abortions.

    • Stephen Wandor

      Perhaps a better comparison that he could have made is that of Ireland and England. They both are very similar geographically and economically, while in Ireland abortion is illegal and in England it is legal. In Ireland the abortion rate is 4.4 per 1000 women and in England it is 4 times as high at 17.5 per 1000 women. (
      Clearly this flies in the face of Anne’s argument.

      • Robin Marty

        women in ireland go to england for abortions. just like the women in the “low rate” states above leave the state to get abortions because there are so few clinics in their states.

        • Randy Gritter

          That is the point. The 4.4 in Ireland would have gone to England.

        • Geoff Scholl

          Documentation or it didnt happen.

          Provide proof for factual assertions please.

        • B Collins

          Assuming that they have enough money to make the travel, which is a very liberal assumption.

        • Petticoat Philosopher

          My last comment got lost some how, so I’ll try again. I am an American currently living in Ireland and I have inquired extensively about this issue–to friends, people I meet, academics, and pro-choice organizers. Exact numbers on how many women travel to the UK for abortions are hard to get, and it’s not hard to see why, but it is generally recognized by every single person I have talked to (with NO exceptions) as something extremely common. And while women being too poor to travel is a concern for pro-choice advocates, many have told me that families will frequently pool resources to send their female relatives abroad. This is just reality here. It’s just common knowledge here, something everyone knows. One guy I talked to smirked and and said to me “We call it ‘taking a boat.’ Everyone knows a girl who’s taken a boat.” Here is a webpage of an organization that counsels Irish women over the phone and helps them make travel arrangements to come to the UK for abortions. It’s not the only such organization.

          It happens, folks. Believe me, it happens a lot.

          • char

            As an Irish citizen I can confirm petticoats post. Its considered something of a national joke at this stage, “an Irish solution to an irish problem’, i.e. out of sight out of mind. I find it a bit pathetic to see my country used as some kind of shining beacon for the pro life movement. It is a delusion. The majority of Irish citizens are pro choice and that will eventually be reflected by the legislature.

          • char

            For the record I am pro choice.

        • JethroElfman

          The data is easy to get to prove the 4% figure. It’s right there on the British Department of Health website. The figures are taken from the home address given by the women to the clinic in England when they get the procedure. It’s much better than the US data above which is largely from polls in which they phoned people and asked them.

          • Sandra Duffy

            They can’t account for Irish women who give UK addresses. Many Irish have relatives and friends in the UK and use their addresses so in fact the figures are likely higher. Ireland in reality has abortion – Ryanair abortion. We just expect out neighbour to provide the service to us to enable our Holy Joes maintain their fiction.

          • stubbikins

            you think they give their real address when trying to secretly get an abortion?

        • Deirdre

          My very first thought about this was that in states where there are stricter abortion laws, there are likely to be fewer providers so women just go to another state.

      • Emma Ryan

        reporting on how many Irish women have abortions cannot be limited to England. Many of us could travel anywhere in europe, For example i am with a Latvian man and i would consider doing one there if i had wanted one.

      • stubbikins

        Irish women can travel to England…

  • Lauda Sion

    nice article. “creating a respect for life from the bottom up” cost far more effort than telling people what to do from a safe distance and includes beeing rejected or dissed by the ones you trying to “convert” but is definitly more/ the christian way to deal with things. wouldn’t it be great if pro life activists put the same effort in fighting for the ones already living -in poverty- instead of hailing a (almost) president that believes poverty can be reduced by sending them (the poor) to war instead of providing them more money?
    greetings from Germany ;)

  • Ceckiz Gzz

    I find it interesting that in just some days we have your post, and this one too …Grace is abundant!

  • Teri Keith Sabade Johnson

    Some good food for thought – thank you for taking the time to write about this. It really does boil down to a paradigm shift in “valuing human life” vs. trying to change laws. I’m not sure I am ready to change my position about wanting the laws changed, but you’ve really made me think!

    • Randy Gritter

      The law change would not have to be so absolute. Just having a law that recognizes that something valuable has been lost would be huge. The law can also recognize the hard position the woman is in. The justice system weighs these things all the time.

      People say we would have to put every woman in jail for the rest of her life. That is not the demand. The demand is just that state governments have the right to value the unborn. Right now the supreme court does not let them do that at any point in the pregnancy. That is an extreme position that would not fly in European countries.

      So LibbyAnne’s idea that the law needs to save the babies is not really the goal. The law needs to respect human life. If it does not respect all human life then why should it respect your life? If we can accept the killing of babies then what people group is safe? Certainly not the elderly or the handicapped.

  • frogseatflies

    Might propose that “wealth” impacts abortion because standards are so astronomically high women are more greatly impacted by their “lack” of than by their poverty.

  • Bob

    It’s not surprising that the abortion rate is relatively low in
    the Bible Belt, but that’s not because if the law. Its because:
    1. More people are religious, thus less likely to want an abortion when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
    2. Those who want abortions will travel to states where the procedure is more available than it is in their own state.

    The only way to settle this question is to look at what happened to abortion rates in places where it went from being legal or illegal, or vice versa. Even then, I assume these studies are using surveys, and not actual records, to gather these abortion rates. Surveys are inherently flawed, especially in third- world countries.

    • Fabius

      Actually it’s not hard to look at abortion records from Guttmacher and see the change in percentage of abortions in that state after a certain pro-life law is passed. It varies, but there’s usually a 10% (and sometimes as much as 20%) reduction in the numbers.

    • stubbikins

      Guttemacher gets the stats directly from the clinics.

  • Fabius

    An even better way to examine the impact of laws on abortion is to track the number of abortions per year over time, and see if it changes after a pro-life law is passed. The work of Dr. Michael New has helped document a lot of this. It’s not hard to go to the Guttmacher website, pick a state, and look at the numbers and see if there’s a correlation to a particular piece of legislation. The National Right to Life Committee also has details on this. Off the top of my head, when Mississippi passed a parental notification law (I believe in the early 90′s), the teen abortion rate dropped 10% or so. The law was subsequently blocked by a judge, and the rate went back up the same amount. Long term, the pro-life movement has passed tons of state laws over the last two decades in particular, and we’ve seen a corresponding drop in national abortion numbers by about 25%, and this is a trend that can’t be accounted for by sheer changes in demographic data.

    True, correlation does not equal causation. But we apply the same sort of logic to the assumption that reducing the speed limit will curb car-crashes.

    • stubbikins

      You think it is a good thing that Mississippi forced young girls to give birth while denying them access to the tools they need to prevent getting pregnant?

    • stubbikins

      An did you bother to look at the rates for states that surround Mississippi that do not have parental notification to see if their rates increased?

      Actually the entire unwanted pregnancy rate has dropped nationwide, and at higher rates in states with comprehensive sex ed and increased access to affordable birth control.

  • Atticus Finch

    Legalising abortion due to the number of illegal backstreet abortions is like legalising murder due to the number of illegal backstreet murders, or by that token, legalising theft, rape, paedophilia, and such other disgraces, so they’ll be safer and more sanitary.
    In fact, why don’t we open big rape clinics, with beds and contraceptives, so if rape is going to happen it can be done in a sanitary way.
    Most silly reasoning I’ve ever heard, always hated this argument!

    • Anti Stupidity

      And you will continue to hate it until you grow a womb and someone plants something in it that you didn’t want there.

      I know, you’ll say you’ll keep your legs crossed. I’ll say just try.

      • Fed up

        My guess is actually that “Guest” is female.

      • Banyansmom

        I’m a woman. And in well over 90% of the abortions in this country, the woman exercised her choice when she agreed to have sex. Keeping your legs crossed DOES work.

        • Leigha7

          And in the majority of cases, the woman seeking an abortion already has children. Many are married. Should married women “keep their legs crossed” (a disgusting phrase, by the way)? And why is it always women who should “keep their legs crossed/closed” and not the men who are impregnating them? Also, there are people who don’t want kids at all. Should they (and their significant others) be forced to live a life of celibacy because of that?

          • Banyansmom

            Both men and women should just say no until they’re prepared to get married and take the responsibility that comes with sexual activity. Period. End of story. Society has no business providing cover for irresponsible choices when that cover involves taking the life of an innocent third party. For married couples who don’t want children, well, NFP works, and not even opponents of artificial contraception are proposing banning that.

          • Leigha7

            NFP does not work for everyone. It literally cannot work for women who have irregular periods, particularly if they’re extremely irregular. If you have no idea whether your next period will be 3 weeks or 4 months after the last one, good freaking luck planning anything.

            And since what I said was that many women who get abortions are married, I’m not sure why saying “no one should have sex until they’re married” is even remotely relevant. Also, um, over 90% of Americans have sex before marriage, so good luck with that, too.

          • Banyansmom

            Since NFP involves the observation of symptoms on a daily basis, it does not matter whether a woman’s cycle is irregular.

          • Leigha7

            I was aware that was part of it (like the whole mucus thing, which you couldn’t pay me enough to do), but I had always heard that charting the woman’s cycle was the primary part of it. It’s not like you’d have any other way of knowing whether a small change in temperature meant ovulation, fever, or just random fluctuation, right?

            Regardless, it is far too complicated and far too fallible. Real birth control seems like the better option if you’re wholly opposed to having kids. If you’d rather not but would be okay with it if you did, NFP might be fine, if you’re willing to put in the effort.

          • stubbikins

            NFP has a high failure rate, get over it and stop trying to force your religious BS onto others.

          • wyllow

            You will stand before God to give an account on the Last Day whether you believe or not.

          • stubbikins

            And if that were true, God would think me for not being cruel to others while claiming that the cruelty was in God’s name. I will laugh as I watch narrow minded hypocrites who claim the Bible justifies racism, sexism and neglect of the weak and poor get thrown into fire filled pits for ignoring the words of Christ.

          • A

            Let me Google that for you:


            In a study of 922 couples, the Billings ovulation (a NFP method) method-related error rate of 0% and a use- related error rate of 0.5 %…Sounds pretty low to me.

          • stubbikins

            You seriously posting a link to a website selling products and making a claim like that from a test 20 years ago of only 922 people in China? You have any idea how tiny that study sample is? Where is the peer review? Why was it in China an not a documented study in the US with actual scientists and documentation?

            Here is an idea, get the hell out of other people’s internal organs…

          • stubbikins

            married people get abortions.

          • wyllow

            Yes, people who do not want children should live a celibate life. Sex is a gift from God in order to procreate. That doesn’t mean every act has to result in children, but you must be open to life and having children. Contraception is not only a sin, but it causes us to view each other as vehicles for pleasure and it objectifies the person.

          • stubbikins

            Your religion has nothing to do with other people’s medical choices.
            According to the Bible eating shrimp is a sin, where is your outrage at Red Lobster?

          • wyllow

            It’s not “my” religion, it’s the religion started by Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:13-19).

            The law against specific foods was part of the Old Covenant given to Moses. Jesus Christ established the New Covenant and in Mark 7:14-19 All of you listen,” he said,
            “and try to understand. You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do!”
            Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowds, and his disciples asked him what he meant
            by the statement he had made. “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that what you eat won’t defile you? Food doesn’t come in contact with your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then
            comes out again.”

          • stubbikins

            It is YOUR religion because it is the one YOU follow, it has nothing whatsoever to do with our laws, nor does it dictate what other people, billions around the world, who are NOT CHRISTIANS should do. It is yours, keep it to yourself.

            And isn’t it convenient that people who call themselves Christian use the old testament every day to insult and degrade gay people… but then when it is inconvenient to your life you claim the Old Testament is out dated and does not count.

            Quote where Jesus said abortion or birth control should be illegal.

          • Gresu

            stubbikins – with your line of thinking than it’s survival of the fittest. Without Divine Law there is always chaos. Every law to obey must be rooted in Divine law or it is not to be obeyed. Situational/rationalizing one’s own ethics always removes rights from anothers. God’s law is justice for all with out consequences.
            It is true, some Christians are their own pope.

          • Gresu

            Sin of birth control: Genesis 38 [9] He knowing that the children should not be his, when he went in to his brother’ s wife, spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born in his brother’ s name. [10] And therefore the Lord slew him, because he did a detestable thing.

          • stubbikins

            Oh! we are quoting fictional books? I can do that too!

            “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that. ~J.K. Rowling, “The Mirror of Erised,” Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

          • Gresu

            You are filled with anger, it appears. Please, for the sake of your soul’s destination forever, seek out a legitimate priest to talk to, stubbikins.

          • stubbikins

            There is no anger in Harry Potter, did you even read the quote? It is not even remotely angry, in fact it is about a live full of joy and fulfillment.

            The Bible however is full of violence, slavery, murder, plagues, and is used around the world to murder an invade.

            And no, I will not seek out the advice of child molesters who think women are subhuman and promote ignorance and violence.

          • Gresu

            I repeat, a legitimate priest who is not entangled with the Vatican 2 new religion claimed Catholic. Over and over it proves it is not the Apostolic Church. Speak to a priest who says only the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and acknowledges that the last 6 claimants to the Chair of Peter are imposters leading the ‘People of God’ over a cliff.

          • stubbikins

            After he does all that does cut the head off a live chicken and start chanting?

            Your cult is boring.

          • Gresu

            RE: Abortion – God’s law states in the Fifth Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Kill”

  • MrRoivas

    Apples to apples? How about Poland?

    Catholic, one of the most restrictive abortion policies in the world, and it is estimated that 80,000 to 200,000 pregnancies are aborted every year. Given that the most recent data is slightly over 400,000 recorded pregnancies in Poland, this means anywhere from 20-50% of pregnancies are aborted.

    A further flaw in your analysis is your refusal to compare America to Europe. America has much more wealth than many Eastern European countries, countries which have a much lower abortion rate than America does.

    The common factor? High use of contraception. Which you oppose.

    Which proves Libby Ann’s point.

    • Béatrice Fedor

      Hello, French citizen here. In my country, despite the availability of contraceptives and the morning after pill, the abortion rate has not dropped these past 30 years and it has increased for women age 25 and under.

    • MichelleMarie


      • stubbikins

        you mean other than the original article that this article is trying to argue with?

  • Ben

    Making something illegal almost universally cuts down on the practice banned especially if the ban is enforced. If this were highly questionable it would render law enforcement’s deterrence justification foolish. How could someone possibly think otherwise??

    • stubbikins

      It also creates an underground illegal and dangerous supply of that illegal thing, as we had before Roe V wade when thousand of women and girls died and were maimed needlessly.

      • Gresu

        Visit and you will discover the facts of the FEW women who died as a result of abortions before R v W and discover the many mothers who currently die as a result of the reckless behaviors of these murdering clinics. Mothers are in more danger now than they ever were before R v W.

        • stubbikins

          Those aren’t “facts” they are propaganda from a group known for lying and harassing women. There are dozens of countries in which abortion is illegal, their statistics are far more reliable than twisted numbers from a right wing hate group.

          • Gresu

            If what you said was true you would have given citations. So what’s your fear? Mark Crutcher at LifeDynamics is, I would dare say, the most courageous of all in the pro-life groups.

          • stubbikins

            HA HA HA HA HA HA you people are so delusional.

            From the World Health Organization:

            21.6 million women experience an unsafe abortion worldwide each year; 18.5 million of these occur in developing countries

            47 000 women die from complications of unsafe abortion each year.

            Deaths due to unsafe abortion remain close to 13% of all maternal deaths.

            Here are some more numbers: Approximately 50% of all maternal deaths resulted from illegal abortion during the first half of the 20th century

            Since 1977, there have been over 59,000 acts of violence at U.S. abortion clinics, including 7 murders, 41 bombings, 343 death threats, and 942 acts of vandalism

            Legal abortion is credited with decreasing both maternal and infant mortality. Today, abortion is 11 times safer than childbirth and less than 1% of those who undergo abortion procedures experience major complications

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Why would an anti-abortion law require any punishment more severe than removing the business and medical licenses of any doctor performing an abortion?

    • stubbikins

      you think people would not perform abortion without a license?

  • MicahPM

    Clever argument, but I think it ignores a few crucial factors aside from wealth, like levels of religiosity, distribution of population and social environment. First religiosity: a state like Kansas with atrociously restrictive abortion laws may also have a lower abortion rate because the prevailing religious mores are hostile to abortion. If a larger percentage of the population would never consider abortion in the first place for religious reasons, that will naturally lead to a lower abortion rate. Secondly, states with low population or predominately rural population will have less access to abortion care. Not many abortion clinics in rural Kansas. Thirdly, if you go about harassing threatening and, yes, even assassinating abortion providers–as one does in Kansas–not many doctors will want to provide abortion care in your area. How many abortion providers do you think are rearing to up and move to Wichita, Kansas after an anti-choice extremist splattered Dr. Tiller’s brains all over the foyer of the Methodist Church he was ushering at. So nice try, but as usual, the issue is complicated and there are no simple answers.

  • Thoughtful being

    When you compare abortion rates between states in the US, you also have to take into account the ease of travel in the US. If I live in a state where abortion is not legal, I can drive or take the bus or train or plane, to a state where it is legal. These numbers also do no include the illegal abortions that are undoubtedly performed wherever abortion is illegal. I imagine that you, the author, is male. Yes, this is biased of me, but having lived over 60 years as a female, and studied psychology for over 40 of those years, I am aware that the male brain interprets information about conception differently than the female brain does. And, before you take me to task for being illogical, I also understand logic and statistics. This does not mean I am an atheist. I am a Christian. That does not mean that I believe that G-d means for us to be stupid.

    • Leigha7

      There are no states where abortion is not legal, and can’t be because of Roe v Wade. But there are lots of places where it’s a bit inaccessible (I grew up in a rural area and looked it up while doing a research paper once–you’d have to drive at least an hour and a half). In some places, it may be easier to go out of state (here, it’d be about the same distance either way, but I’m not sure about the states’ laws and how strict they are). The biggest restrictions that would likely have an impact on that, for my best guess, are waiting periods and parental consent rules. A teenager would likely go to the next state if theirs requires consent (though, contrary to popular belief, the majority of those getting abortions are NOT teenagers), and anyone would be more likely to leave the state if it would mean avoiding a waiting period (and thus taking multiple days off work).

  • Gentlemanwj

    This is a very powerful article. However, it is loaded with logical flaws.

    “The study is not claiming to have established causal relation between laws against abortion and high abortion rates.” And neither is the author. The author’s claim is that there is _not_ a causal relation between laws against abortion and _low_ abortion rates.

    Correlation is not causation. But lack of correlation rules out causation.

    And your sighting the US states data to support the claim that there is a causal relation between laws against abortion and low abortion rates is also flawed.

    First the state data contain a significant number of “outliers, such as Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Montana, that have an “A” and an below-average abortion rate, or an “F” grade and a relatively high abortion rate.”

    Second there are a number of other _known_ factors that can vary abortion rates.
    First is mobility. Live in a state that has restrictive laws travel to a state that does not.
    Next is sex education, which varies greatly by state. There is also access to contraceptives, especially by minors.

  • SaffNav

    I have a fabulous idea! How about we send women to their local public county health dept to get FREE birth control (which they provide) and if they want an abortion they PAY with their own money ( I’m just guessing $2-3K ?) I’m sure that would cause women to think twice and thus reduce the abortion rate.

    • Frank

      That would require actual personal responsibility instead of selfishness. Those who are Pro-Choice just don’t get that.

  • C.H.

    As has been pointed out I’m sure, but to reiterate: women in states with restrictive laws will go out of state. This skews the numbers with a -1, +1 that makes your numbers in the example off by the equivalent of 2 in many of those states.

  • Shaun C

    “the scientifically verified reality of the unique human life that is the embryo” Do you have a source for this information? Just curious, because I wasn’t aware that such a verification existed. I’d sincerely like to know what this verification entails.

  • Frank Elliott

    States with restrictive abortion laws have significantly higher rates of infanticide than states with less restrictive abortion laws.

    Apparently, the right to life begins at conception and ends at birth.

  • Philom

    Allan Guttmacher, former president of Planned Parenthood was
    asked, “What makes abortion so secure in America?” He answered in two words:
    “Sex education.”

    Atheist Madelyn Murray O’Hare wrote: “The issue of abortion
    is a red herring. … The fight is over sex education, including information on
    birth control.”

    Public schools long ago booted Christ out of the
    classroom. No different are the
    parochial schools in every diocese of the U S.
    Sexualized catechetics in U S Bishops’s schools and CCD classes keeps
    the abortion industry alive. These men
    in black who are responsible for the schools in their diocese sanction the
    ruining of young minds and every dollar put into the basket by those in the pews
    at Masses supports our youth being raised as barbarians.

    See part 1 and 2 on the curriculum approved by bishops:
    “Growing In Love”.

    Decree of March 21, 1931, Congregation of the Holy office forbidding sex education:

    Question: May the method called ‘sex education’ or even‘sex initiation’ be approved?

    Answer: “No. In the education of youth the method to be
    followed is that hitherto observed by the Church and the Saints as recommended
    by His Holiness the Pope in the Encyclical dealing with the Christian Education
    of Youth, (Divini Illius Magistri) promulgated December 31, 1929…”

    Bishops of the U S issued a Statement of November 17, 1950
    regarding the role of parents in the instruction of children on matters
    relating to sex……”We protest in the strongest possible terms against the
    introduction of sex instruction into the school!!” (their emphasis not mine)

    Pope Pius XII, Address to the French Fathers and Families on
    September 18, 1951 on the matter of sex initiation and propaganda, “……..procreation
    and education of children are the serious duties of married couples……Fathers of
    families.. Unite and to stop and curtail these movements…..”

    Pope Pius XII in his address of April 13, 1953, states that
    personal sex instruction of children and youth in the home should place special
    stress “upon self mastery and religious training.”

    see Randy Engel’s book page 58-59 “Sex Education The Final Plague”

    Now, why are ‘claimed Catholics’ supporting the parochial
    schools who are demoralizing our youth?

    Men should combat men who are destroying our youth. Where are the men who will crusade for the defense of our youth?

  • Emma Ryan

    rich people also have abortions, poverty is 1 reason Some women give. Yes the reasons are many and complex, but what is undeniable is that women Want abortions (not all women) and it is better for women when they are legal so that they can go to medical professionals and hope for treatment that is safer and more dignified and less stressful. If i wanted an abortion i would have to spend time saving up money to travel for it which would mean it would be a later abortion. It would cause me stress to have to do all of this and many women here are evn doing DIY abortions with pills bought online without medical supervision. I live in a western european developed country (Ireland) where i could consider living on benefits if it came to it, but i would still consider abortion an ‘option’ for many women here.

  • Philom

    In the United States, all the U S bishops’ schools are preparing young girls for their later abortions beginning in kindergarten. See. the sexualized catechetical series with imprimatur, “Growing In Love” at: parts 1 and 2.

  • Philom

    Obama got the ‘Catholic’ vote this time around as well as
    the 2008 election. The Vatican congratulated Obama on his 2008 election and once again on Obama’s re-election. This is not only embarrassing but shocking!!!
    Is any body connecting any dots???

  • choiceone

    The most obvious weaknesses in your critique are these. First, the article does not refer to the abortion rates “only three countries”: Africa is a continent and Latin America includes more than one continent, and Western Europe includes quite a few countries.

    Second, it is not meaningful to compare variation in continents and countries on one hand and US states on the other, because women from US states where abortion is more restricted or less accessible can and do go to other US states for abortions, and this is much easier to do than for women in countries in Africa and Latin America, etc., to go to get abortions in other countries.

    This is why NY, for example, has such a high abortion rate. Women who are threatened with major health problems and/or threats to their lives by their pregnancies, for example, want to go to experienced specialists and, if they can afford it, they fly to a place like NY, which has such specialists. Because out-of-state women have abortions in places like NY and those abortions become part of NY state data, their home states continue to have lower rates and states like NY have higher rates.

    Furthermore, the fact that you so casually used the word “countries” for places like Africa and Latin America bespeaks a rather careless attitude toward facts. You need to be more accurate, more precise, and more careful about contextual variables if you want to be a critic of any article, regardless of which side of the issue it may support.

  • Leigha7

    One major logical flaw. You say that abortion rates are lower in states with greater restrictions on abortion, and imply that this means that restrictions play a role in lowering abortion rates. But while restrictions undoubtedly deter some women from seeking abortions, what is far more likely is that restrictions on abortion are put in place in areas where the public in general is more opposed to abortion. It’s not legal in the US (per Roe v Wade) to make abortion impossible to obtain, so those who are opposed to it are limited to putting in restrictions that make it more difficult. If enough of the population is opposed to abortion that any restrictions put up to vote (not all are), they likely would have less abortions to begin with.

  • Merci

    I would just like the author: are you familiar with either the maternal deathrate due to unsafe abortions in Africa, or the prevelance of HIV and AIDS, as well as the cause of the latter? Sex ed and contraception aren’t very widespread in Africa, and illegal abortions make up the majority of maternal deaths. Also, the reasons for African women seeking out abortion are varied: some of these reasons are purely cultural, much like they were in the US before Roe v. Wade.

  • Darla

    Yo. You can’t compare states within the same country based on state abortion laws, and then fail to do a comparison on rates/rate changes in neighboring states, or the over-all national rates (while not forgetting there may be other contributing factors). A person seeking an abortion in south Dakota, for example, could relatively easy travel to Minnesota for an abortion. You’re also possibly forgetting that any stats collected on abortions in countries where they are illegal are necessarily estimates only, and likely underestimates, as many will lie about their participation in illegal activities, especially if they believe they have gotten away with it.

  • veritatis_splendor

    The main reason why restrictive laws against abortion should be put in place should be principle. It is never just to kill or harm an innocent person, and this sense of justice must be reflected in legislation. It’s the same as the way the state should regard murder as illegal regardless of whether such a law should have any effect at all on the number of murders.

    • Alex Hunter

      But what about long-term effects? Plenty of people who get abortions do so because they aren’t ready for a baby, so if they’re forced to support an extra life on top of their own, they may require government handouts to get by, which is a drain on taxpayer dollars.

      • Gresu

        Every mother who has killed her child(ren) will never lead a productive life and with certainty will be a detriment not only to herself but to the world around them. Have you heard the testimonies of “Silent No More” women who regret their abortion? BTW, there are plenty of fathers who wanted their children to live. Big daddy government handouts create slave states. Who’s next to be eliminated because of their INconvenience? Go to LifeDynamics/prolifeamerica to get the latest and the best news on how all society is suffering because mother’s are the only ones who can give life or death to another human being and get away with it. At that same cite, see how many women have died because they either chose or very often were forced to kill their unborn baby.

  • Alison Christine Smith

    I’d love to see what you have to say about this one. “Fewer Abortions: an action plan” of course, taking into account that you don’t have any numbers on ILLEGAL abortions, which OF COURSE means there are LESS LEGAL ABORTIONS WHEN YOU OUTLAW IT. Sheesh.


    Abortion was legalized in the UK, when I was a student nurse at London’s largest hospital. During our OR clinical rotation, we knew we’d spend all day, every Saturday and Sunday, doing abortions. In those days, third trimester abortions were done by C-Section (hysterotomy). However, most women had Utus Paste squeezed into the uterus. They labored in the usual way, though labor was, anecdotally, more uncomfortable.

    On Friday nights, in the OB/Gyn units where I did another 8-12 week rotation, working full-time, we made sure that extra beds and portable screens were in place, in order to accommodate women coming from back street abortions. Of these women, including those observed during my ER clinicals, I only saw one who presented with a complication – a fever. She was given antibiotics, got a D&C and was discharged home. The reason for so few complications from street abortions, was because they were performed by moonlighting medical professionals and midwives. No doubt the Utus Paste was illegally obtained.

    Dr. Barnard Nathanson, founder of NARAL, who himself performed 60,000 abortions, confessed, once he became pro-life, that “We intentionally inflated the numbers of women injured by back street abortions, in order to get the law passed”. (Roe-Wade) In addition he stated, that abortions done prior to Roe-Wade, were also usually performed by doctors. cI had never heard of coat hanger abortions until I came to the US. But then it was 1972 and I was a fan of ‘MS’ magazine.
    Tonya Reaves bled out in a Chicago Planned Parenthood July 2012 during a second trimester abortion. Her death was underreported by the media and though African American pro-life leaders appealed to the President, he too refused to address it. Tonya was 16 weeks pregnant and left a one year old son. Jennifer Morbelli was 33 weeks when she died after an abortion by Dr. Leroy Carhart. She had really wanted her baby until, at 31 weeks gestation, she was told her baby had multiple fetal anomalies. I personally know two people who delivered normal children after getting a similar frightening prognosis. Jennifer’s parents are reported to have said, that if a late term abortion ban had been in effect, they would still have their daughter. Karnamaya Mongar is the third known fatality. A new immigrant, who had spent years in a displacement camp, she was the adult victim of Kermit Gosnell’s legal practice, where she submitted to care by unlicensed aides.
    The Irish Times has reported that an inquest done on a 32 year old Irish woman who died in Slough, England in January of 2012, revealed that she suffered a “heart attack” after “extensive blood loss” at a Marie Stopes clinic. Heart failure is probably a more correct term. She was twenty weeks pregnant.

    • Philom

      The U S bishops could stop abortion if they would stop supporting abortion with their sexualized catechetical series in their classrooms. See, “Growing In Love” with imprimatur at