Read All About It! Abortion Causes Labor Shortage! Stock Market Crash Looms From Lack Of Buyers and Sellers! Farmers Worry Over Too Few Mouths To Feed!

November 15, 2006 | By | 4 Replies More

In Missouri, Republican legislators charged with getting to the bottom of a problem, have produced a fine example of spurious causal linkage that ought to go down in history with the assertion made by certain agents of the pope to Michelangelo that, since one of his marbles had taken seven years to complete, the new one for which he had requisitioned four helpers, would therefore take 28 years to complete–four times seven, you see, equals twenty-eight. It never occurred to them to divide, only multiply.

Which seems to be a problem Republicans have with regards to certain problems.

Their conclusion in this instance is that the rise in illegal immigration over that last three decades can be attributed to abortion. Specifically, because some forty-five million abortions have been performed since Roe v. Wade, those millions of potential Americans represent the short-fall in our labor pool which illegal immigrants are filling.

I haven’t laughed so painfully in a long time. Not over this sort of absurdity.

The Democrats on the same committee have refused to sign off on the report, but the report is now public, and all the Republicans signed it, hence alleviating any doubt (had there ever been any) where they stand on the issue of illegal immigration. Obviously, we should go on an accelerated program of creating a second baby boom to stem the tide of all those undocumented workers stealing American jobs. It will, of course, take about 18 years for the program to produce any tangible results–unless, of course, the Republicans intend sponsoring legislation to overturn child labor laws.

Anything to strike a blow at a woman’s right to choose.

Now, lest we not be clear about where I come down on this issue–both issues–let me state a couple of things up front.

I am a man. I therefore do not believe I have a “natural” right to say anything at all about what a woman does concerning reproduction. I have some contempt for males who bleat about their rights being trampled by abortion (after all, it’s MY fetus, too, she used MY sperm). In specific instances where a couple planned in advance to make a baby and the woman backed out after pregnancy occurred, I have a modicum of sympathy–broken promises are hard to take–but I don’t see any way short of legal instrument (a contract between them, notarized, etc) of ever proving the case. And in the end, it’s not the man who will have to carry the fetus nine months, go through labor, lactate, risk post-partum depression, risk future health, etc etc etc. He gets a good time in the sack and some bragging rights that his plumbing works just fine. The trade off seems to me–has always seemed to me–imbalanced at best. So, no, I do not think men have much business making pronouncements about what women do about procreation.

Having said that, because other men disagree with that position and proceed to try to pass laws on the subject, I find myself perforce engaged in the argument. In addition, because I do believe in responsible parenting (which is one reason I am not a parent), when and under what conditions procreation occurs is a question males ought to deal with–but as one half of a partnership in advance of the fact.

Abortion, to my mind, is the last ditch defense women have against males who think they have certain “natural” rights concerning female persons. I don’t think I need go down the list of these to make my point.

But there we have it. Women finally have control of their reproductive systems vis a vis their relationship to men and the society at large, which has freed them up to live the kinds of lives they may choose. Freedom of choice is not merely about whether or not to get pregnant. The fact that our social systems have always been geared toward making women with children dependent for their survival on men means that a woman who can say when, whether, or how she will reproduce is potential free to be a social equal to men. I cannot stress this enough–the freedom to not be pregnant is the defining condition guaranteeing female equality in society.

The freedom not to be pregnant. If we can all agree that a woman has a fundamental right not to be pregnant, the question to ask all those anti-choice advocates is: how come you think that right disappears once she is pregnant? We don’t treat any other right that way. (We’re arguing with Republicans over habeas corpus these days, which is the same idea.) If we agree that a woman gets to live her life free of pregnancy–that she doesn’t have to reproduce if she doesn’t want to–then how come is it we try to take that freedom away once she is?

Even in the past it was acknowledged, at least given lip service, that women didn’t have to play in the gene pool. Of course, the big difference then was such women still weren’t allowed to participate as equals in society–many had to go away to special places, like convents, and take vows of celibacy.

No no. Here’s where empathy comes in. We must–we males–ask ourselves if, say, tomorrow we woke up having had a sex change, would we be willing to give up our jobs? Our credit ratings? Sex?

If we’re honest, the answer is no, so why should it be expected of women who have always been women that they give up these things in order to remain Not Pregnant?

Well, because it’s still a patriarchal society, despite the enormous strides made in the last forty years, and men can’t abide the idea that women might, en masse, tell them No. Not, No I won’t ever have sex, but the more pointed No, I won’t have sex with you.

Female circumcision is based on this utterly contemptible confidence issue–that if women never know what an orgasm is, they’ll be faithful to their (possibly) lame lover of a husband. They couch it in terms of temptation and propriety and honor–nonsense, they’ve just devised a system to keep the women from ever finding out that there might be better elsewhere if they’re given half a chance to find out. It also, of course, means the men don’t ever have to learn how to be good lovers (something, by the way, is obligatory in Islam–men are obliged in the Koran to see to it they please their women as much as the women please them, which I point out to show that this is not religious but cultural, that it is not condoned by Islam).

So we suffer these absurd attacks on birth control, on abortion, on divorce, on anything that is construed to give women choices.

This one, though, takes the proverbial cake. How dare these unpatriotic, left-wing, godless people deprive America of its cheap labor just so they can have personal choices?

But wait–didn’t I read somewhere that one of the core beliefs of America is that individual liberty is sacred? Or is that Old Testament constitutionalism, overturned by New Testament patriotism…? It gets confusing.

But my other point, this illegal immigration thing. I’m still waiting for someone in Washington to state the obvious. They skirt the edges, they dance around it, even the so-called liberals.

We have so many undocumented workers in this country, filling jobs, it is claimed, that Americans ought to fill. Is it because there aren’t enough Americans? Maybe, but I seriously doubt the shortfall is that great. We do have unemployment–low as it is claimed, it is still in the multiple millions, and higher than advertised because our head count system allows for certain classes of unemployed people to fall off the rolls and no longer be counted.

No, we have all these “guest” workers here doing jobs Americans won’t do for the wages being offered. If we paid enough, Americans would line up for those jobs. But we don’t want to. Not on any level. I remarked on this in a previous post, The Gardener of Eden.

But the Republicans are already irked about the minimum wage increase, so they have to attack the problem some other way. This one, though…man. Talk about dubious correlations!

But even if they could demonstrate a strong correlation, it would be beside the point. This is no better reason to take away a woman’s right to choose than any other. I’m just amazed they tried to make the argument.

Now if the Democrats would just start pointing out that what’s at issue here is–I said it already–cheap labor.

As a final thought, though, has anyone noticed the intrinsic classism in this Republican statement? I mean, would all forty-five million of those “lost” workers be born to circumstances guaranteeing that they’d be minimum wage workers?

Because, you know, the rich have always been able to choose…


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Category: American Culture, Civil Rights, Cultural Evolution, Culture, Current Events, Economy, Law, Noteworthy, Religion, Reproductive Rights, Sex, Whimsy

About the Author ()

Mark is a writer and musician living in the St. Louis area. He hit puberty at the peak of the Sixties and came of age just as it was all coming to a close with the end of the Vietnam War. He was annoyed when bellbottoms went out of style, but he got over it.

Comments (4)

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  1. Deb says:

    I heard that news as well, and was as flabbergasted as Jason. I think the link (abortions = illegal immigration) can be summed up as follows:

    1. Make women have children they don't want.

    2. Those children have a high chance of being deficient, whether caused by mom's alcohol or drug addiction, poor diet during gestation, poor genes to start with, lack of education, or simple parental neglect.

    3. Voila- a labor force willing to swab toilets and pick spinach infected with e-coli for a couple of bucks a day.

    There's the link. Without such labor force, we wouldn't need undocumented workers. Let's enslave the pitiful citizens instead.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    What has really been the most dramatic result of legalizing abortions in 1973? That topic was addressed by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner in their 2005 book entitled Freakonomics. Here's how they set up the story:

    In 1995, criminologists were predicting huge spikes in crime that would "make 1995 look like the good old days." Starting in 1995, however, instead of going up, crime began to fall dramatically. This huge drop was entirely unanticipated by the experts. "The magnitude of the reversal was astounding." For example, the teenage murder rate fell more than 50% within five years.

    Many experts rushed in to explain why the crime was decreasing. They pointed to the perky economy of the 1990s. They suggested that gun control laws were working and they pointed to innovative new police strategies. According to Levitt and Dubner, none of these explanations were true. The real reason that crime dropped dramatically was that abortions had become legal throughout the country in 1973.

    Decades of studies have shown that a child born into an adverse family environment is far more likely than other children to become a criminal. Decades of studies have shown that a child born into an adverse family environment is far more likely than other children to become a criminal. And the millions of women most likely to have an abortion in the wake of Roe v. Wade -poor, unmarried, and teenage mothers for whom it illegal abortions have been too expensive or too hard to get–were often models of adversity. They were the very women whose children, if born, would have been much more likely than average to become criminals. But because of Roe v. Wade, these children weren't being born.

    Freakonomics points out that the experts not only got it wrong, and but they continued to get it wrong:

    Now, as the crime-drop experts (the former crime doomsayers) spun their theories to the media, how many times did they cite legalized abortion as a cause?  Zero.

    To oversimplify the point raised by Levitt and Dubner, legalized abortion did not deprive this country of millions of productive workers. Rather, it protected this country from the creation of millions of criminals.

  3. Clell Young says:

    There is way more than 45 million lost. They would have had children too, lifting the total to near 80 million lost. Would any percentage of the aborted children be working, had they survived? Are you saying that not any of them would be willing to accept a low paying job, even though a high percentage, by definition, would be under-privileged, had they been born?

    I submit that even if only 10 % were willing to take a low paying job, the illegals are without a job. I do not mean to anger you, but I sincerely don't understand your logic.

    Please reply, Clell Young

  4. Scholar says:

    Clell, there is a simple answer to why you are confused by simple logic. Your premise, and probably your whole understanding of immigration and population dynamics is *backward*.

    The "illegals problem" which you are referring is not due to underpopulation in the USA. It is however, a direct result of the global economic pressures of *overpopulation*. You might cringe when you read this, but actually, the immigration is good for everyone. Immigration actually MAKES jobs, it doesn't TAKE jobs, on the large scale of the economy.

    The "problem" is complex and is partly due to the growing wage disparity. Even if we did somehow bring those 45 million aborted back to life to do our landscaping instead of mexicans, they would be so underpaid that they could not survive without working 2 jobs or resorting to crime…is this really the direction you want to lead us Clell?

    And the 80 million figure you came up with is just plain ludicrous. Using Clell's logic…an abortion is actually killing imaginary offspring of the aborted fetus, and the offspring of those imaginary offspring, and the offspring of those…and so on until infinity. So basically an abortion is the same as killing 10 billion people, Clell?

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