Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 20, 2011
POLITICS: Abortion By The Numbers

With the recent debate over federal taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood bringing the abortion debate back to the surface, it is sometimes useful to look at the numbers to get a little perspective on why this issue is such a large one. (All of these are estimates, and sources vary, but there's no serious debate as to the scale of the numbers).

Number killed or missing in action in all wars in U.S. history: 1,343,812. Adding the wounded: 2,489,335.

Number killed or missing in action in U.S. wars since 1973: 12,387. Adding the wounded: 96,680.

Number of executions in U.S. history dating back to 1608: 15,269.

Number of executions in U.S. history dating back to 1930: 3,859.

Number of executions in U.S. history dating back to 1977 (after the Supreme Court lifted a decade-long moratorium): 1,099 through 2008.

Number killed in the September 11 attacks: 2,977.

Number of detainees waterboarded by the CIA under President Bush: 3.

Number of abortions in the U.S. since 1973: 53,310,843 through 2010.

Number of abortions per year in the U.S. since 1973: 1,402,917.

Number of abortions per month in the U.S. since 1973: 116,910.

Number of abortions per week in the U.S. since 1973: 26,979.

Number of abortions per day in the U.S. since 1973: 3,841.

Number of abortions by Planned Parenthood in the U.S. in 2009: 332,278, more than 900 per day, or 27.6% of all abortions in the U.S.

You know, there are a lot of issues I care about, as a conservative Republican. I don't especially like having to draw lines in the sand over abortion, and if you're reading this, even if you're pro-life, chances are you don't either. But it is useful at times to prick our consciences with the sheer scale of this atrocity, happening daily under our noses. Liberal activists and lawyers devote massive efforts every year to battling the death penalty - yet all the executions of the post-Roe era don't even add up to a third of a day's worth of the number of abortions. We agonize, and rightly so, over the cost in life of our wars - but the toll of abortion is equal to fighting the Battle of Antietam, or two Battles of Okinawa, every single week, or two entire Vietnam Wars every month. Our commentariat was racked with paroxysms of moral reproach over three prisoners being waterboarded, yet considers it gauche to even mention well over three thousand abortions daily, each of which destroys a biologically unique human being. (Your religion may override your regard for the science, but there's no way around the fact that an unborn child has his or her own unique genetic code, the definitive scientific hallmark of an individual).

Numbers alone can't make the moral judgments that constitute public policy for us. But they can certainly inform our sense of perspective. And looking at the number of abortions is a reminder that maybe, sometimes, we go too far in trying to make this just another issue.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:10 PM | Politics 2011 | Comments (49) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Crank, those 53 million kids that never got to grow up and find their potential just aren't as important as the murderer or rapist on death row or the spotted owl or the Saddamist with the underware drapped over his head. It is fine to kill these kids...we just don't have time, but alll this other stuff we will fight to our last breath for. I fully, 100%, believe a woman has the right to choose...to keep her knees together.

Posted by: maddirishman at April 20, 2011 1:50 PM

What kind of abortions are counted? For example is Plan B considered an abortion? At what point are we considering it an abortion (1st trimester, 2nd, 3rd)?

Posted by: Evan at April 20, 2011 3:05 PM

Moral judgments? Like, love the fetus, cut WIC so they live lives of misery and deprivation?

Posted by: Magrooder at April 20, 2011 9:00 PM

I fully, 100%, believe a woman has the right to choose...to keep her knees together

Very clever.

Meanwhile, the penalty for her moral failing is borne by the unwanted child who gets to be raised by the mother who didn't want to have him/her? We assume the mother who couldn't responsibly manage her sex life will responsibly raise, feed, guide, and love a biologically unique human being with feelings and needs?

This is the moral course how, exactly?

Posted by: Mike at April 20, 2011 10:49 PM

madirish - The woman (and the man; it takes two) exercising more sexual self-control doesn't solve the abortion problem. But it surely would reduce its scope.

Evan - I believe they count drug-induced abortions from a provider, I can't say I'm an expert on where the statistical line is drawn. Follow the links and you can see how NRLC interprets the stats from CDC and Guttmacher.

Magrooder - Let's both agree to stop killing children, and then we can have a fair debate how best to provide for them. Otherwise, you're just diverting from the issue.

Mike - Life, any life, is still life; it's not ours to take on the grounds that it's not worth living. Read a few biographies and you'll quickly find the lives of some amazing people who came up from awful families. Read up on why Jack Nicholson, who by natural inclination would be pro-choice, says he'd be a hypocrite if he was.

Posted by: Crank at April 20, 2011 11:05 PM

Crank,
Let's care for children first. Then we'll debate if we should save the hypotheticals.

Posted by: Berto at April 21, 2011 12:17 AM

While you are welcome to your opinion the use of irrelevant statistics (how many base hits have switch-hitting Latino secondbaseman had in night games since 1973?) along with the ever so smug moral superiority you throw around on this topic makes your point even more boring than normal when it comes to this. Please come up with more Win Share stuff so this cycles out as quickly as possible.

Posted by: jim at April 21, 2011 1:05 AM

It amazes me how many people seem to believe killing kids is OK. Is it more acceptable to kill an unborn infant than a 6 year old? As for the mothers who don't want their children, there are couples all over this country who would be happy to adopt a child. As for the moral choice, killing a baby is moral?

Posted by: maddirishman at April 21, 2011 1:37 PM

Crank,

As I've commented before, I believe there ought to be some limits on abortion, and that Roe was not an especially well-reasoned opinion.

That said, however, why must abortion be -- in what I assume is your view -- abolished BEFORE we work harder on caring for the fetuses who are delivered? I don't see any moral basis for the delay.

Posted by: Magrooder at April 21, 2011 4:34 PM

Berto, hypotheticals? Just when I thought you couldn't be any more offensive.

My son was nearly delivered at 20 weeks (well within the time for a legal abortion), only emergency surgery and bed rest for my wife bought us another 8 weeks. When he was born at 28 weeks, the only difference between him that morning before birth and that afternoon after birth was location. He was not a hypothetical then or at 20 weeks. He was an unborn human being.

I realize that denying unborn children their humanity helps rationalize support for abortion, but it simply ignores reality. The numbers Crank posted are both staggering, and sickening.

Posted by: Paul H. at April 22, 2011 10:07 AM

@ Paul H.: exactly! It seems to me that when the unborn child is wanted by the parent(s), it's referred to as "my (our) baby" rather than the technical/scientific term. It would be the rare expectant mother at her baby shower telling her friends how excited she is to meet her "fetus." Perhaps calling the unborn child a "fetus" rather than "baby" makes it easier to kill it.

If the decision whether a child's life is worth living should depend on the convenience of the parents, perhaps there are a bunch of two-year-olds that should be rounded up and retroactively aborted.

Posted by: Mick at April 22, 2011 10:53 AM

You never hear parents call their dead child "collateral damage" either.

The only difference between your child and the children killed by US military drones in Pakistan is location.
Fixed for accuracy.
-------------
"Just when I thought you couldn't be any more offensive."

Be careful, Paul H. You never know when I'll call for cuts to programs which support children's mental health just so America's richest of the rich get a tax cut.

Posted by: Berto at April 22, 2011 1:17 PM

My partner and I really enjoyed reading this blog post, I was just itching to know do you trade featured posts? I am always trying to find someone to make trades with and merely thought I would ask.

Posted by: daigoume at April 22, 2011 3:01 PM

Wow, those are some numbers. Maybe, uh, you might want to fund a few programs pushing contraception while you are on your soapbox.

Posted by: Daryl at April 22, 2011 4:41 PM

Magrooder - my point isn't that we should refuse to address what to do with needy children until abortion is banned, but rather that I have no patience to listen to people who posture themselves as caring for children as long as they support legal abortion.

Daryl - You know and I know that no amount of funding for sex education, abstinence education, or contraception is going to make a genuinely meaningful dent in the number of unwanted or crisis pregnancies. Any effort in that direction deals at most at the margins. It is no excuse for permitting vast numbers of abortions, and it is certainly no justification for giving money to organizations that perform 900 abortions a year. If Planned Parenthood believes so strongly in contraception, let it stop performing abortions and we can have a fair argument about giving it taxpayer money.

Posted by: Crank at April 22, 2011 10:54 PM

If the Catholic Church believes so strongly in caring for children, let it stop covering up for rapists and pedophiles and we can have a fair argument about giving it taxpayer money.

Posted by: Berto at April 22, 2011 11:14 PM

Crank, as we now know, the amount of money Planned Parenthood spends on abortions is 3% of its budget. None of it federally funded. And yes, that is intended to be a factual statement.

Your kids are young yet, or you don't know the extraordinary ignorance many people have about sex and conception. Will teenagers always have sex? Yes. Conservatives and liberals alike. Except the conservative kids will then wallow in fear they will then go to hell in eternal damnation. Your argument is crap, because then, by extension, why have any education at all? How much schooling does it take to use a coat hanger?

Posted by: Daryl at April 23, 2011 8:12 AM

"the amount of money Planned Parenthood spends on abortions is 3% of its budget. None of it federally funded. And yes, that is intended to be a factual statement."

I think you mean Planned Parenthood intended you to take that as a factual statement, and you fell for it hook, line and sinker.

You know how you go to the doctor for one visit, and you get a bill with 25 line items? Count each line item as a separate "service" and suddenly the one thing you went for looks like a tiny piece of the services provided, even if it's most of what you paid for. That's how PP does that. (And "For some federally funded affiliates, such as Planned Parenthood of New York City, even that 'services' number is much higher. PPNYC reported that abortion constituted 28 percent of its 'services' in 2008.") In fact, even using their somewhat opaque numbers and the testimony of former clinic directors, abortion accounts for about 38% of PP revenues, almost certainly more than any other one line of business.

(And if you really think money is not fungible, you're even more naive than you pretend. But fundamentally, any organization that puts 330,000 innocent children to death annually should not receive federal funding, even if they do 'make the trains run on time').

In fact, if you compare abortions to alternatives to abortion, the percentages look vastly different: "According to a 'fact sheet' detailing its 'services' for 2009, affiliates performed 332,278 abortions, saw 7,021 prenatal clients and made 977 adoption referrals. That means for 97.6 percent of its 340,276 pregnant clients, abortion was Planned Parenthood’s provided 'service.'"

Sources:

here

here

here

here

here

here

here

here

Among others. Daryl, you've been had.

Posted by: Crank at April 23, 2011 10:57 AM

"You know and I know that no amount of funding for sex education, abstinence education, or contraception is going to make a genuinely meaningful dent in the number of unwanted or crisis pregnancies."
Really? How do you know such a thing?
-----------------
"Among others. Daryl, you've been had", writes the guy who supported the Iraq invasion, because Saddam might fire non-existent WMDs from a non-existent delivery system at his nation.

No worries, Crank, I still think you're ruberific.

Posted by: Berto at April 23, 2011 12:23 PM

Daryl,
Crank is right. You can no more separate the money between other Planned Parenthood programs and monies they use for abortions, then Crank can separate the $10 he put in Sunday's collection plate for keeping the rectory lights on from the hush money given to the family of a 10-year old boy who was sexually abused by a priest.

Posted by: Berto at April 23, 2011 1:31 PM

Berto, Berto, you are missing the point my friend. Because when the small boys were molested, they couldn't get pregnant. See? No abortions needed!!!!

And your argument Crank only works if you think that little microscopic tadpole is a baby. It's nothing we are going to agree on, and that's fine. But teenagers will still have sex, and will still have children. Your conservative approach says yes, we will take care to make sure you have them, then tough shit. You're like Dr. Seuss (who by the way was a scumbag of a stepfather--never having his own)...you think sitting on the egg in the tree was the hard part, not after.

Posted by: Daryl at April 23, 2011 9:43 PM

Crank,

We are alike, then, for "I have no patience to listen to people who posture themselves as caring for children as long as they support cutting funding for the poor."

Posted by: Magrooder at April 23, 2011 10:05 PM

I have tried to stay out of this debate, but can't any more.

The basic issue is what to do about women who get pregnant because of issues like:

1) Raped
2) Teenage idoicy
3) Lazy "safe sex" habits

and other reasons where the woman either does not want the baby, is too young to care for the baby, can't afford the baby, or giving birth is a health risk.

In the "old days", abortion was not legal and hence the horror situations. Now abortion is legal and we are killing 1 million children in a year. Do either of the above situations make any sense? Well not to me they don't.

It seems to me that a combination of better help to the mothers, better adoption processes, medical approval required for abortions that are health risks, and improving society attitudes is a path to follow. If Planned Parenthoood spent more time helping the mothers to find ways to have the baby and did less putting money in their pocket for killing the baby, then they would actually be doing their job.

Stop arguing that killing babies is OK or that abortion is never an option. Instead figure out a better approach. Murdering innocent children is not moral.

Posted by: Lee at April 24, 2011 8:53 AM

Lee, does this go back to the beginning of the debates. Where then, does anyone stand on cases of incest and rape? The IS no moral high ground, because if you really really believe that any abortion is immoral, then every birth is moral, even if you then condemn a baby known to have mega-birth defects to deal with a year or two of agony and misery before a death. Or forcing someone raped to carry a pregnancy to term. Or forcing a 14 year old girl raped by her relative to carry to term. If you say yes, it's OK to force them to do that, then you are at least consistent. Also a cold hearted miserable bastard.

The biggest issue I have is with a church that says all forms of contraception is wrong; all forms of abortion is wrong, and BTW, wink wink, molest all the boys you want. It IS a big issue, because religion, an odd idea at best anyway, is used as a moral force to make other people do what they (you?) want. The same churches that ban gay behavior, thereby taking out of the equation many couples who could adopt these babies you seem hell bent on being born.

Planned Parenthood does just what the name suggests: help you plan when to become a parent. If we had better and easier ways to deal with contraception, there would be fewer pregnancies to start with. I'm not taking a moral high ground here, but neither should anyone else.

Posted by: Daryl at April 24, 2011 9:57 AM

Daryl,

I am going back to the beginning of the debate! To keep pointing out that there are circumstances when a abortion might be best for the child and/or the mother is just my point. But to say any woman at any time for any reason has the right tp her baby killed is just wrong!

As for this being a moral issue, it is a moral issue! Anyone attempting to take the moral portion out of the issue has their head up their butt! Once you accept that morality is involved, then the problen can be address properly with the proper balance.

As for easier/better ways to deal with contraception, how much easier can it be? For a few bucks condoms can be bought everywhere.

As for Planned Parenthood, the stats show they don't do what their name suggests. Instead they encourage women not become parents and pad their own pockets at the same time. Alternative pro-life agencies are vilified by the left and don't get public funding.

Posted by: Lee at April 24, 2011 11:09 AM

To keep pointing out that there are circumstances when a abortion might be best for the child and/or the mother is just my point

Lee, that position doesn't hold up. The only legitimate basis that anyone puts forth to ban abortion is that it's the "murder" of a child. For the sake of this post, I'm not debating that point.

What I am saying, however, is that if you believe abortion=murder, how in the world can you permit any exceptions for rape, incest, etc? It's not the child's fault he's the product of rape? Why does he deserve to die? Why is he a permissible exception to a ban on . . . "murder"???

----------------------------------------------
This, by the way, is why I find most of the anti-abortion arguments based on "morality" to be spurious: any anti-abortion position permits for selective morality: women who have to bear the price of a crime committed against them; women told their lives are worth less than the fetus' that they're carrying; unwanted children thrust into lives of pain*; or, as Lee outlines, exceptions that are purely subjective, and violate the moral principles that supposedly underlie the broader position.

The only position that's logically defensible is one that acknowledges that abortion is awful. But one that also acknowledges that the weight of (i) removing free will from a full-grown woman, plus (ii) the unnecessary pain of an unwanted life, trumps (iii) the "crime" of the abortion. It's complicated, but not unsolvable.

(* BTW Crank, Nicholson is a bad example. Yes, his incredible talent, charisma, and good looks certainly got him by in life. But his 70+ years of uncommitted sex, drug use, and general irreverence are signposts of the kind of amorality you generally condemn. He may be a success, but I'm not sure he's a good example of psychologically overcoming a bad childhood. See also Williams, Ted; Regan, Ronald; Cobain, Curt, etc).

Posted by: Mike at April 24, 2011 12:05 PM

Mike,

"But one that also acknowledges that the weight of (i) removing free will from a full-grown woman, plus (ii) the unnecessary pain of an unwanted life, trumps (iii) the "crime" of the abortion."

I cannot agree with you. You start down the road but turn off at the wrong point. Your points i and ii don't trump iii. Neither i or ii or their combination carry moral weight over murder. If so, then I have the right to kill anyone who causes me pain and takes away my free will to do anything I want. That does not make sense.

We all have limits on what we can do in life. But there are no limits placed on a woman who wants her child killed. I cannot kill my neighbor simply because he irritates me with his loud music or does not keep up his property. A woman who cannot support or take care of her child has the option of having her child adopted. The child can have a good life and the mother can know she gave her child a chance.

My position is that there can be special situations where abortion (murder) may be allowable and this best course of action. However the bar you set is way too low.

Posted by: Lee at April 24, 2011 1:10 PM

My position is that there can be special situations where abortion (murder) may be allowable and this best course of action

Lee, any position that rationalizes murder is morally dubious. I acknowledge that my own position has some moral wiggle room, but I'm arriving at a compromise that I think makes the most sense.

Will you allow that your position is also morally dubious?

Posted by: Mike at April 24, 2011 10:20 PM

If by "morally dubious" you mean that based on strict moral grounds (ten commandments) that any killing is always wrong, I would agree.

For a "real life" sense, our society has defined a specific set of circumstance where killing is sanctioned/legal/allowed. In the US these are defense of self or others, in war, death penalty, reduce end of life suffering, and a few others. Abortion was then added to be "at the whim of the mother before the child is born".

Some cultures/religions also add people who are a different religion, race, culture, tribe, daughter who shames the father, slave, etc.

I am objecting to the "at the whim of the mother before the child is born". If feel that this is wrong and that alternative solutions are possible.

Posted by: Lee at April 25, 2011 10:01 AM

That's a more nuanced view than most anti-abortion folks. I don't agree with you, but I can respect where you're coming from.

Posted by: Mike at April 25, 2011 11:16 AM

Lee, I know you will be shocked, but we can agree here. Not on every point, but you've taken out the religious aspects, which is tiresome to me, and made it a reasonable legal argument. As a non-lawyer, I can appreciate it. Now if we can take it further, and see that if abortions are rare, at least make it so we can include:

1. A major push toward contraceptive education
2. Probably a large amount of free contraceptives available, anonymous, without parental consent (which would probably eliminate many of the abortions you dislike).
3. Stop the bullshit about allowing gay couples to marry and adopt
4. Here we will disagree, but I do happen to agree it's a privacy issue. Take all the churches and religious crap out of this. A person's personal superstitions are precisely that. It's no way to make state policy.

Posted by: daryl at April 25, 2011 11:50 AM

Daryl,

My comments to each:

1. Absolutely. Plus encouragement to the entertainment indusdry to stop showing sex as risk free.

2. Don't agree to "free" cause someone has to pay for it. I don't agree to the w/o parental consent. As a parent of a girl I don't want her taking advice from Planned Parenthood. But I do agree we can look at ways to keep prices down. However condom prices are low aready. So really there is no cost issue.

3. Nope. This is not a factor as far as I can see. A totally seperate issue. Sorry, no riders to the amendment.

4. I agree it is a privacy issue, but that does not make it the exclusive decision of the woman. There still can be rules, but you don't have to publish the names in the media.

Posted by: Lee at April 25, 2011 1:16 PM

Abortion is not a hot-button issue for me. I have a position on it, but I don't treat it as a litmus-test when I vote. Frankly, I'd rather see it brought up as little as possible, particularly when it politically charges a big budget bill, like it has recently.

I am Catholic, but I do not view my religion as requiring me to vote any particular way on any issue as a matter of public policy. Nor would I feel the least bit complicit if I would support a bill that could be construed as "financing" abortions. It's usually too attenuated an argument, anyway. A woman has to make an affirmative choice to walk into a clinic or hospital to have the procedure done. I don't feel responsible for someone who makes that deliberate choice.

There is a point, of course, where the link is not so attenuated, and I would prefer eliminating gov't funding in those cases. Planned Parenthood is an example - they are a large provider of abortions, no question, and abortion is obviously one of its reasons for existing. Put it in a separate bill, and I'm more than happy to see it go away. But I wouldn't want to see it scupper a huge budget bill.

Opposing gov't money for health insurance on the basis that it covers abortion, though, is a bridge too far for me. It's hardly the main purpose of health insurance.

2) As others have mentioned here, it's difficult to hold a firm line on "life begins conception" as a public policy stance when you have cases such as rape and incest. If you are going to make exceptions for rape and incest - and I think you should - then you have already conceded a fetus' right to life. Teen pregnancy is also a difficult issue.

I would draw the line at the first trimester however. Yes, it's somewhat an arbitrary line, but at some point you have to call a fetus a baby, and its life is entitled to government protection. My view is also somewhat informed by the possibility that the fetus can experience pain at some point in the second trimester, and it may be impossible to know with any certainty.

Posted by: MVH at April 25, 2011 1:49 PM

Lee, I do see the gay/adoption issue as part of it. Not sure how large, but the idea that adoption is so damn difficult, when any moron with two x chromosomes can meet an equal idiot with an x and a y is hardly a good reason to be a parent.

And for the free issue? Fair enough. But I guess we do agree that abortion should be legal, with reasonable restraints. We do that all the time. We don't let people drive 90 MPH; we don't let them drink until they are 21; we don't let them run around with a gun...OK, I guess there are limits (sorry, had to get that in).

And your who pays argument is a very good one. But then it becomes what George Bernard Shaw said to a woman, when she said she would sleep with him for $1,000, but not a dollar. His answer was they've established what she was, now he's negotiating.

Would I agree to see that a woman has the right to an abortion in the first trimester, irrespective of age, but we don't have to pay for it? Yes I would. Because in the end, if you don't have the money, you don't have all sorts of things you would otherwise like. But paying for it to me is like the gay issue to you. Peripheral to the task at hand.

Good Lee. Maybe you and I could meet somewhere with a laptop and a great meal (I'm big on great meals) and come up with a true deficit reduction plan. Bet without politicians we would be done in an hour.

Posted by: daryl at April 25, 2011 2:34 PM

I agree with the posts indicating that lines may be drawn around circumstances in which abortion is allowed.

While a line at the first trimester has the benefit of being a bright line, there may be circumstances no known or knowable at that time (for example, certain birth defects) and, for me, certain reasons for choosing abortion that seem abhorent (for example, the fetus is the "wrong" gender).

My problem is how to get there. These types of line drawing questions are ones suited for the legislature and executive, not the judiciary. But, given the interests of the pregnant woman, it seems to me there ought to be a period of time (very short) in which she has an absolute right to an abortion because human beings make mistakes (unprotected sex in the "heat of the moment") and products fail (broken condom). Where in the constitution to ground that right, however, is problemmatic, the "penumbra" rationale leves me cold.

Posted by: Magrooder at April 26, 2011 1:09 PM

Magrooder, there will be a much larger issue for the right, who have been campaigning on just this: it's a state issue best left for the legislature. Which BTW, I agree with. I'm not lawyer, and the Supremes know more than I do about it (well, maybe not Thomas since he's mum on the subject ) but that is the right wing's biggest nightmare. Because what do you do then if a bunch of states pass all sorts of abortion legislation allowing it? Then you've met their litmus test. And I can't imagine an Amendment being passed on this.

OK right wingers out there. You are against abortion. You've claimed it's something left to the states. And New York State passes a pro choice law. Now what?

Posted by: Daryl at April 26, 2011 7:34 PM

Daryl, I posed the same question to Crank in the comments here a long time ago. 2005?

He acknowledged that at some level the goal is to eliminate abortion, so they'd move on to convince the State legislature to outlaw, etc.

I may be wrong -- Crank, if so, please correct me -- but that's my recollection.

Posted by: Mike at April 27, 2011 12:47 AM

I was a part of this blog then, so maybe the argument stuck in my mind. If so, then my apologies Mike. I forgot about it, but credit is due you, not me.

Posted by: Daryl at April 27, 2011 7:44 AM

For conservatives, state-level battles would be preferable to the status-quo, where the Supreme Court has basically protected the right to abortion in most cases. Making it a state-level issue at least gives them an arena to fight.

Posted by: MVH at April 27, 2011 7:44 AM

But MVH, it doesn't answer the question: what do you do after you've lost on the basic reason you though you would win by? I can see it passing in New York and Massachusettes, probably in Connecticut, Rhode Island, not in Mississippi or Kansas. Seriously, if that happened, what next?

Posted by: daryl at April 27, 2011 2:01 PM

Well, you would keep fighting. You can always overturn a law. And keep in mind, at least conservatives in Mississippi, Kansas, or wherever wouldn't be living in a state where abortion was legal.

Posted by: MVH at April 27, 2011 2:42 PM

Coming back to this thread....

"I have no patience to listen to people who posture themselves as caring for children as long as they support cutting funding for the poor."

Magrooder - You miss the crucial distinction. You kill the child in the womb, that's final; nothing else matters. Whereas it is possible for a child to live without ever having received funding from any particular federal program (you may be unaware of this, but there were actually children who grew up and had perfectly good lives in this country - even children born to great poverty - before there was a WIC program).

Mike - I recognize that burdens on free will are serious. Not being an anarchist, though, I also recognize that depriving us of untrammelled free will is what the government is there for - but also why govt power should be used only in the most compelling circumstances, such as to prevent us killing each other. Banning abortion, obviously, passes that test in the way that very few government initiatives do.

Daryl - You continue to ignore the fact that there is little or no basis for the notion that sex ed or free contraceptives make any significant dent in the number of unwanted pregnancies.

As for the state-level argument, my view is both constitutional (the Constitution as presently written leaves the abortion issue wholly within the power of the states) and strategic; if we took the federal government entirely out of the abortion picture, some states would ban it, others would not. That at least is progress. Would I rule, if I was on SCOTUS, that the 14th Amendment protects the unborn's right to life? I'd be tempted, sure, but it's not there. Would I vote for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, for essentially the same reasons we passed the 13th amendment? Yes. But that won't pass unless and until we get a consensus more durable than a bare popular majority in favor of doing so.

Posted by: Crank at April 27, 2011 8:51 PM

"Would I rule, if I was on SCOTUS, that the 14th Amendment protects the unborn's right to life? I'd be tempted, sure, but it's not there."

This example of intellectual consistency shouldn't pass unnoticed. I'm sure it will be forgotten by those who think strict constructionism is all about politics.

Posted by: MVH at April 28, 2011 11:12 AM

Not true Crank. Simply not true. You are basing an argument strictly on teen pregnancy grounds. And various pressures. When I say contraception and sex ed should be taught, that includes the end of the Church's silly superstitions that relate to it. As long as you have organizations that continue to rail against abortion, and also teach that contraception is wrong, because of some stupid line that got translated in being fruitful and multiplying that means people have to feel angst and guilt over using contraceptives. It's a multi-level issue here.

Posted by: daryl at April 28, 2011 3:00 PM

Crank,

"[Y]ou may be unaware of this, but there were actually children who grew up and had . . . lives [of terrible desperation] in this country - [especially] children born to great poverty - before [and after] there was a WIC program."

Surely, you don't suggest that most children born into poverty in the US gorw up and have "perfectly good lives." If so, you've been fortunate enough to live a life of middle and upper class comfort, untouched by the grim reality faced by the poor.

Your absolutist position ignores the wholly separate rights of the pregnant woman, giving her no consideration whatsoever.

Finally, as for MVH's comment on Crank's consistency, I would urge the Reaganite caution of "trust but verify," though we should hope that Crank never sits on the SCOTUS.

Posted by: Magrooder at April 28, 2011 3:03 PM

Magrooder, I only need be able to point to one child who had a good life and that's one more than lived well after being aborted. That's my point - abortion's the end. Whereas the funding levels of particular federal programs are just one piece of a wider world in which there are also private charities and even people who get jobs when they can no longer depend on the federal dole. It's your position that says to the child: You get nothing, ever.

Posted by: Crank at April 28, 2011 3:07 PM

"When I say contraception and sex ed should be taught, that includes the end of the Church's silly superstitions that relate to it."

I can't speak for all Catholic schools (or for that matter all branches of Christianity), but the one I attended back in the late 80's had a very professional sex education class. You learned all the contraceptive methods, the pros and the cons, their rates of effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, the differing methods of abortion, etc. Of course you learned the Church's view, but it wasn't rammed down your throat, and you were presented with all the information in an objective way.

I recall seeing an abortion video as well, but it was clinical and scientific, though I imagine it put many students off their lunch that day.

Posted by: MVH at April 28, 2011 3:37 PM

Crank, you aren't getting basic enough. You see, you've determined that a 2 day old fetus, which just makes it beyond the amoeba stage, is a baby. I don't. the problem is, where do you end it? Had I known my daughter was in for months of miserable agonizing surgeries and chemo before dying, would we have said, "No, let's terminate the pregnancy?" I've thought long and hard on that one, and the answer is yes. Not because it would have made it easier, but because it would have been right. To me anyway.

And it also still gets back to abortion and capital punishment. Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are the perfect examples. They are against all abortions. Yet I sat in the courtroom the day they refused to overturn a capital murder case because they said the State (I think it was Mississippi) had the final say on whether the trial was fair or not (the opinion, 7-2) was read by Alito, who in a very simple statement knew a tuna when he smelled it. Yes it's the same. You don't say a baby is innocent and shouldn't die, but this prisoner, well he might be innocent to, and should (and BTW, I am consistent, more than many of you, since I am for the death penalty).

Posted by: daryl at April 28, 2011 3:43 PM

Crank,
The other "distinction" is you don't get to tell women how to live their lives if you're just trying to give under-privileged children a leg up in life.

Posted by: Berto at April 28, 2011 9:49 PM
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