Category: Reproductive Rights
Guttmacher Institute has compiled facts and figures for all 50 states regarding the incidences of and costs of unintended pregnancies. This is a detailed state by state analysis, including statistics on abortion.
I live in Missouri, where these statistics apply (follow the link to Guttmacher for the stats on your state):
• In 2006, 53% of all pregnancies (61,000) in Missouri were unintended, compared with 49% nationally.
• Missouri’s unintended pregnancy rate in 2006 was 51 per 1,000 women aged 15-44. Nationally, the rate was 52 per 1,000, ranging from a low of 36 per 1,000 in New Hampshire to a high of 69 per 1,000 in Mississippi.
• The teen pregnancy rate in Missouri was 63 per 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 2005. The national teen pregnancy rate was 70 per 1,000, ranging from 33 per 1,000 in New Hampshire to 93 per 1,000 in New Mexico.
• In 2006, 61% of unintended pregnancies in Missouri resulted in births and 25% in abortions; the remainder resulted in miscarriages.
• In Missouri in 2006, 46% of all births (37,700) resulted from unintended pregnancies, compared with 38% nationally.
• The services provided by family planning centers in Missouri helped avert 20,800 unintended pregnancies in 2008, which would likely have resulted in 9,200 births and 8,700 abortions.
Here is a stunning graphic from a television show called “Viewpoint,” featuring Eliot Spitzer:
So if you want to avoid abortions, make birth control freely available. That’s one of the message of this short Guttmacher video:
Here is another Guttmacher video on the occurrence rates of abortion–it occurs more often in countries where it is illegal (which is often where contraception is not widely available).
The rational way to cut abortion rates is to make birth control freely available; the irrational way to cut abortion is to outlaw abortion. For those who adamantly oppose abortion, Adam Lee asks some pointed questions, including the following:
- Biological evidence suggests that a large number, if not a majority, of fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted at a very early stage of pregnancy (by some estimates, as many as 50%). Do you consider this an ongoing humanitarian crisis that urgently needs medical research?
- If you could write the law however you saw fit, how would you enforce a ban on abortion? For example, in El Salvador, when women come to hospitals seeking treatment for a miscarriage, they can be detained until a forensic vagina investigator can arrive and perform an exam to see if they had an illegal abortion. Would you have something like this? If not, what enforcement mechanism would you have?
- Why do you think it is that so many proposed abortion bans have no exception for the woman’s life or health? (For example, anti-abortion laws with no health exceptions exist in Chile, Honduras, Suriname and El Salvador. Even in the U.S., similar bans have been passed by Republican legislatures in Indiana and South Dakota.) Do you think there should be such an exception?
- Would you permit exceptions to an abortion ban in the case of rape? If so, how would this work? For a pregnant woman to get an abortion, would she have to accuse a specific person of the crime, and would he have to be tracked down, arrested, charged, put on trial and convicted, all before the point of fetal viability?
- What do you think the penalty should be for doctors who perform abortion?
- What do you think the penalty should be for women who seek out an abortion?
I would ask many of the same questions Adam Lee asks. I have set forth my views on abortion here. I believe that the choice of abortion should be solely between a woman and her doctor for at least the first three months after pregnancy.
For those alleged literalists who oppose abortion based on the bible, where in the bible does it state that the union of an egg and sperm immediately becomes the equivalent of a born human being? In fact, consider these passages indicating that breathing air is the key point in time:
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7
“Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 37: 4-7.
As usual, Florida is still undecided, a mess. According to NPR, though, it is leaning heavily toward Obama, despite the shenanigans of the state GOP in suppressing the vote.
I didn’t watch last night. Couldn’t. We went to bed early.
But then Donna got up around midnight and woke me by a whoop of joy that I briefly mistook for anguish.
To my small surprise and relief, Obama won.
I will not miss the constant electioneering, the radio ads, the tv spots, the slick mailers. I will not miss keeping still in mixed groups about my politics (something I am not good at, but this election cycle it feels more like holy war than an election). I will not miss wincing every time some politician opens his or her mouth and nonsense spills out. (This is, of course, normal, but during presidential years it feels much, much worse.) I will not miss…
Anyway, the election came out partially the way I expected, in those moments when I felt calm enough to think rationally. Rationality seemed in short supply this year and mine was sorely tasked. So now, I sit here sorting through my reactions, trying to come up with something cogent to say.
I am disappointed the House is still Republican, but it seems a number of the Tea Party robots from 2010 lost their seats, so maybe the temperature in chambers will drop a degree or two and some business may get done.
Gary Johnson, running as a Libertarian, pulled 350,000 votes as of nine last night. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, got around 100,000. (Randall Terry received 8700 votes, a fact that both reassures me and gives me shivers—there are people who will actually vote for him?)
Combined, the independent candidates made virtually no difference nationally. Which is a shame, really. I’ve read both Stein’s and Johnson’s platforms and both of them are willing to address the problems in the system. Johnson is the least realistic of the two and I like a lot of the Green Party platform.
More . . .
I thought I might write about something other than politics this morning, but some things are just too there to ignore. But perhaps this isn’t strictly about politics.
Representative Paul Broun of Georgia recently said the following. I’m pulling the quote from news sources so I don’t get it wrong.
“God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. There’s a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I believe that the Earth is about 9,000 years old. I believe that it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.
[More . . . ]
All right, you so-called pro-lifers. The facts are now squarely before you. A new study by Washington University in St. Louis indicates that freely available birth control slashes the number of abortions.
A dramatic new study with implications for next month’s presidential election finds that offering women free birth control can reduce unplanned pregnancies — and send the abortion rate spiraling downward.
When more than 9,000 women ages 14 to 45 in the St. Louis area were given no-cost contraception for three years, abortion rates dropped from two-thirds to three-quarters lower than the national rate, according to a new report by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis researchers.
These are dramatic numbers. Therefore, we now have a tool for minimizing the incidence of abortion: Make birth control freely available. If conservatives were rational and if they really wanted to cut the number of abortions, they now have a relatively easy way to do it. Mandate coverage of birth control by health insurers and otherwise make birth control easily available. In fact, make birth control pills available over-the-counter.
But the thing is that this proven method of reducing the number of abortions will not satisfy many conservatives. They will also want to stop women from having access to birth control. They don’t like the idea of women having sex for pleasure only.
And, BTW, most conservatives are not pro-life–they oppose programs that help young children to be healthy and well-educated. Rather, they are merely pro-birth.
A new video pours out all of the lies about birth control that I’ve ever heard. Amy Phillips Bursch reports at Alternet. Here are the first three lies:
When women use the birth control pill, they are no longer desirable to men.
Women who use contraception have to dress all naughty to get male attention.
The World Health Organization has classified contraception as a Class 1 carcinogen.
Paul Ryan, in a little-noticed interview, said the other day—talking about abortion—that rape is simply another “method of conception.” This is very much in line with Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remark, although it contradicts Akin’s point—which was, somehow, that the reproductive system of a woman being raped (really raped, not sort of raped or falsely [...]
George Lakoff writes about the actual Republican war on women and the supposed “war on religion”
A recent Gallup Poll has shown that, in the US, 82 per cent of Catholics think that birth control is “morally acceptable.” 90 per cent of non-Catholics believe the same. Overall, 89 per cent of Americans agree on this. In the May 2012 poll, Gallup tested beliefs about the moral acceptability of 18 issues total, including divorce, gambling, stem cell research, the death penalty, gay relationships, and so on. Contraception had by far the greatest approval rating. Divorce, the next on the list, had only 67 per cent approval compared to 89 per cent for contraception.