Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 15, 2006
POLITICS: The Roe Effect

The NY Daily News reports some appalling figures:

For every 100 babies born in New York City, women had 74 abortions in 2004, according to newly released figures that reaffirm the city as the abortion capital of the country.

And abortions for out-of-town women performed in the city increased from 57 to 70 out of every 1,000 between 1996 and 2004, a subtle yet noticeable trend that experts say may reflect growing hurdles against the procedure in more conservative parts of the country.

The new Vital Statistics report released by the city Department of Health this month shows there were 124,100 live births, 11,700 spontaneous abortions and 91,700 induced abortions in the city in 2004.

That means 40 out of 100 pregnancies in the city ended in a planned abortion - almost double the national average of 24 of 100 pregnancies in 2002, estimated by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a Manhattan-based nonprofit group that researches reproductive health issues.

First of all, what's a "spontaneous abortion"? Please tell me that's not a euphemism for miscarriages intended to make abortion sound like a natural occurrence.

Second, when you subtract out the out of town abortions, 40% of pregnancies are aborted - a number far too high to square with the common rhetorical effort to tie abortion to situations of rape, incest and other extreme cases.

Now, on to a not-unrelated story:

Southern and Western states are growing so much faster than the rest of the country that several are expected to grab House seats from the Northeast and Midwest when Congress is reapportioned in 2010.

Demographers and political analysts project that Texas and Florida could each gain as many as three House seats. Ohio and New York could lose as many as two seats apiece.


The projections are based on state population estimates by the Census Bureau. The bureau released its July 2005 estimates Thursday, showing that Nevada grew at a faster rate than any other state for the 19th consecutive year, followed by Arizona, Idaho, Florida and Utah. Kentucky grew a modest 0.8 percent.

Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts lost population, as did the District of Columbia. The populations of North Dakota, Ohio and Michigan grew, but at a slower rate than others.

Strangely, when you kill off 40% of your children, your population doesn't grow so fast. And one more thought, while we're on that subject:


Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:56 PM | Politics 2006 | Comments (27) | TrackBack (0)

I'm a little slow in commenting, but I haven't been home much the last couple of days. The term "spontaneous abortion" has been used by the medical field for a long time. My mother had a miscarriage during WWII - they couldn't reach my dad, so the Red Cross contacted her father to get permission to treat her. When he saw the term "abortion" he wouldn't sign the papers, until someone convinced him that it meant miscarriage. I may not have all the facts quite right - it's a story I remember my mom telling someone, but she's not around to check it out anymore.

Posted by: JudyB at January 16, 2006 3:42 AM


I'll avoid -- for this time, at least -- a "standard abortion yes/abortion no" pissing contest. But I will comment on some of the overheated rhetoric you've used and suggest that both sides of the aisle on this debate are capable of turning into frothing propagandists.

First, you try to tie the abortion debate to some "common rhetorical effort to tie abortion to situations of rape, incest and other extreme cases." The only time I ever hear these terms enter the debate is when some anti-abortion meddler tries to include these extreme situations in the "No Compromise, Non-Negotiable" prohibition-of-abortion stance.

Those who wish to see abortion remain safe & legal want abortion-on-demand in *all situation*, not only in these Strawman scenarios. As I've said a few times in this forum, the issue is the freedom of an undeniably living human being vs. the life of a bundle of tissue which may or may not be a living human depending on battling definitions. Whether rape of incest has caused the unwanted pregnancy is irrelevent.

Second, your connection to population growth is tenous. What's that have to do with anything? Not to mention, a rock-ribbed Republican like yourself should be happy to see apostate states like NY or OH lose congressional seats to solid anti-abortion states like TX, no?

And finally, your comment that a state will experience population decline if it "kill[s] off 40% of your children" is hyperbolic, to say the least. As far as I understand the link you provide, no children were killed. Maybe 40% of fetuses were aborted, but as I argued here last month, a fetus is not a child, so your comment is probably false more than it's hyperbolic.

Posted by: Mike at January 16, 2006 5:43 AM

Well Mike, for someone criticizing "overheated rhetoric" you sure engage in a lot of it yourself. When pro-abortion rights folks stop using rape and incest as an escape clause for abortion on demand then anti-abortion folks won't need to address it - and with 40% (yikes) of pregnancies being aborted in NY there must be a helluva lot of rape and incest up there.

"Second, your connection to population growth is tenous. What's that have to do with anything?" Seems like you must understand what it has to do with anything, since you go on to argue about its impact. The 'abortion ultimately undermines the political power of people that engage in it' argument is amusing, if not exactly scientific, you must admit.

I had no idea abortion rates were so high in New York. That's pretty amazing, and indicates exactly what anti-abortion folks object to most, abortion used as birth control.

Posted by: Dwilkers at January 16, 2006 8:01 AM

The medical definition of "abortion" is a pregnancy that terminates for any reason before viability. These may be "spontaneous" or "induced." "Termination of pregnancy" is a commonly used medical term for induced abortion. "Miscarriage" is a lay term. The report you cite is not trying to be euphemistic. Most technical fields try to use language that is minimally emotionally laden.

Posted by: Allanjoel at January 16, 2006 8:27 AM

Crank's comments about NY's abortion rate were essentially moral, and thats fine. Its his site after all. More than that, though, its appropriate. No woe-is-Roe wailing, no talk of constitutional amendments. Just good old-fashioned moral outrage.

NY-ers are going to have abortions whether Roe stands or not. Indeed, they'll have them even if the NY Legislature or (heaven help us) the US Congress outlaws abortions. Lets continue to shame abortion-ers and -ists, ala Crank. 40% is way too high, and is strong evidence for a decline in the regard for the intrinsic value of human life. But, like good, consistent conservatives, lets also recognize government's competencies and legislate, or not, accordingly. Overturning Roe is an obvious first step, but lets not get carried away.

Posted by: seamus at January 16, 2006 11:36 AM

I'll avoid -- for this time, at least -- a "standard abortion yes/abortion no" pissing contest.

and then . . .

As far as I understand the link you provide, no children were killed. Maybe 40% of fetuses were aborted, but as I argued here last month, a fetus is not a child, so your comment is probably false more than it's hyperbolic.

Translation: I won't engage in an argument about the morality of abortion, but I will make a snarky comment that asserts that fetuses are not worthy of protection and are not really living organisims on the same level as fully grown humans. Hurrah for liberal logic!

Posted by: paul at January 16, 2006 11:46 AM

As far as I understand the link you provide, no children were killed. Maybe 40% of fetuses were aborted, but as I argued here last month, a fetus is not a child, so your comment is probably false more than it's hyperbolic.

You'll forgive some of us who lost a child through "spontaneous abortion" (miscarriage) - who also aren't obsessed over the abortion debate - that may disagree. My wife, who cries every year on the anniversary of the date that we lost our first "tissue mass", thought a bit more of it than a clump. Not that I'm trying to force anything down your throat, but you might consider the same....

Posted by: RW at January 16, 2006 11:57 AM

A fair enough point about the "spontaneous abortion" language. A few of the commenters at RedState made the same point. It's still apples and oranges though.

Mike, at least you recognize the obvious - the rationale for not banning abortion assumes that the fetus is not a human being. I just don't think that's a decision that ought to be made by the courts, especially without admitting that that is precisely what they're doing.

And really: any time you get in an abortion debate the NOWs and NARALs of the world always steer discussion to the rape/incest and other extreme cases. The numbers here show that that's not where the abortion industry's real money comes from.

Posted by: The Crank at January 16, 2006 12:10 PM


You and I agree completely that the rape/incest harang is a Strawman, no matter which side engages in it. I'm sick of it, and I'm sure you are too.

Which is why, Paul, you should be giving the Bronx Cheer to my "logic," period. No need to put the "liberal" before it. Unnecessary, and inaccurate.


I feel for you and your wife. It must be very difficult and if my "crude" language offended you, I offer a sincere apology. I'm sorry. What your wife misses is a wanted child, lost due to accident. That's terrible, and there's no getting around it.

But that doesn't change the basic fact that not everyone who gets pregnant wants to raise a child. And children need to be raised by good parents, up for the 18-25 year career they're embarking on. Unwanted children cost society deeply, in terms of crime, drug abuse, moral breakdowns, more unwanted children, etc. Abortion foes don't have a monopoly on moral outrage.

Posted by: Mike at January 16, 2006 12:28 PM

And Mike continues to make a moral case fgor abortion, contrary to what he initially said. So, I guess I will give a Bronx cheer to you and your "logic."

Posted by: paul at January 16, 2006 12:59 PM


Glad to hook you up. I aim only to please.

Posted by: Mike at January 16, 2006 1:24 PM

"Unwanted children cost society deeply, in terms of crime, drug abuse, moral breakdowns, more unwanted children, etc."

Abort 'em all! The Great Solver of Social Problems is the abortionist's knife. Certainly you can't now argue, using your logic, that it would be wrong to abort babies to effect the good ends you speak of. In fact, since these are such worthy goals, why would abortion ever be wrong? Oh, it would then be wrong only if the abortion were compulsory in some way.

This is not a view, I hasten to mention, shared by most Americans, who are only willing to allow for abortion in the hardest of hard cases.

Posted by: Campagna at January 16, 2006 1:27 PM


First off, let me say, you've used some sneaky argumentation devices there. And none to well, I'll note.

Basically, your rhetoric goes as follows:

1. Strawman argument ("Abort em all.")

2. Demonstration that my logic must support your Strawman ("Certainly you can't argue now, using your logic . . .").

3. Point out that my "logic," even if it supports your cheap Strawman, is "not a view . . . shared by most Americans."

What do you want me to say, Campagna?

I'll stick to my point: most pregnancies are either wanted or accepted. These lead to births and, hopefully, well-raised children who will create the future of America & the world. Sounds good to me & to you. Cool.

For those pregancies that are unwanted (whether 40%, 4% or 94%), permit the woman who's carrying the fetus to determine whether she wants to carry-to-term *and* make a 20 year commitment to a future human being.

As to contraception which someone mentioned earlier? Of course this is preferable to abortion. But abortion is preferable to unwanted children.

Posted by: Mike at January 16, 2006 1:43 PM

Assuming the 40% is correct (which its not) what then is the solution to the population drain in our beloved Northeast?

Forced pregnancies, outlawing contraception obviously not... would you suggest a general social/cultural encouragement of pregnancy carried to term? Unless you are suggesting that, I'm not sure how you the articles can be "not-unrelated."

Posted by: adwred at January 16, 2006 2:23 PM

Maybe I'm missing something, but I think he's suggesting exactly that. Thank goodness.

Posted by: seamus at January 16, 2006 3:06 PM

First, that's not a number I think is really accurate. I think we had better see the raw data. 40%? That's really unlikely.

Second, the so-called "Pro-Life" crowd, and I of course knnow you are in that Crank, which is fine, has some serious questions to answer on this as well, and I'll get to it also.

Third, I think the 40% is way too high for accuracy. I recall reading an article a cople of weeks ago, that a woman who was pregnant, on food stamps, was married, and had 4 kids home, was glad she found a coat. The intent was to make you feel good that the used coats went to a good cause; however, I was really angry that our food stamp money was paying for this baby making machine to crank out more kids. If you need food stamps to feed your kids, you surely don't need 5 mouths to feed. This is not the 18th century, with an infant mortality rate that virtually demanded 6 kids to produce two that would reach adulthood. The old adage that the poor have children still holds, so I really doubt the 40% number is accurate. More like 5%, but of course, that is only my conjecture.

Now my problems with the "Pro Life Crowd" is not the name, it was clever to take that name, even if it's really not all that accurate, but OK. No, my problem is that lack of reall alternatives. One major bastion of the anti-abortion rights crowd is hte Roman Catholic Church. They are against all sorts of things, as all organized religions are. But how can you have an IQ over 60, and want both no abortions perfomed (the ideal solution), and NO BIRTH CONTROL being taught.

Second, and Crank, let me ask you, and others this: Do you feel that young moms, say 15-16 years old, even 14 sad to say, should carry the babies to term and then give up the kids for adoption? That is well and good as well, but how many of those babies have you, or others who do claim to believe iin that, have they adopted. I've heard both Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh call for such adoptions, yet have not heard of them actually doing it themselves.

And many, as I have just decided to call them, NARists (Non-Abortion Rightists), are alos opposed to abortion in all cases, whether the mom's life is at stake, whether the baby is a product of rape or incest, or both. Now that is simple cruelty, plain and simple.

Abortions should be provided on demand. However, it should also be investigated as to whether or not the mother and father used an available, and it should be easily available, birth control device or drug. Also, if Medicaid or some other public agency pays for it, the abortion should be paid for if it involves rape, incest, or lif threats. If not, well, some responsibility must be taken by those who do conceive. How about, if it is publicly funded, mandatory birth control, or a cutoff in public funding? We don't want to go back to the coat hanger days, but we don't want to remove all acts of responsiblilty from people either.

I'm not an Alito fan, but refuse to base anything on any litmus test on Roe. Abortion rights should be reserved for the states, and all states should have some plan in place to permit them. I don't like Alito because he is a liar. That Rpinceton organization really bothers me. If he doesn't remember for real, he is too stupid to sit on the court, if he does remember, he is a liar. And Martha Stewart went to jail for lying while not under oath.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at January 16, 2006 5:35 PM


Posted by: seamus at January 16, 2006 5:50 PM


Really, what do you suggest as a way to deal with the loss of population in the Northeast? If its related, I want to understand how we are going to make women have more babies and therefore increase population.

Posted by: adwred at January 17, 2006 1:25 PM

Mike, thx for the response.
I really didn't want to present myself as someone who was obsessed with abortion, cuz I'm dream '08 ticket is Rudy & Condi. And, no, I don't think women should be locked up if they get an abortion. Just sayin' that people disagree on whether or not a fetus is a life & at what stage it's a "person". When we got the ultrasound on our daughter (now an 8 year old), she immediately became a "person" to us.

Unwanted children cost society deeply, in terms of crime, drug abuse, moral breakdowns, more unwanted children, etc.
Wanted children cost us too. So do old people. I'm not so sure that "offing" is the appropriate way to go, but I don't think that's what you meant.

Posted by: RW at January 17, 2006 10:57 PM

Mike-I'm not building a straw man. You said, quite directly, that the social problems you detailed are a result of unwanted pregnacies. "Abort 'em all" referred to all those future drug addicts, not all babies. All I did, in essence, was repeat your morally grotesque argument with appropriately lurid language.

Unless you're kidding, in which case tell us that you'll pulled a Jonathan Swift on us.

Posted by: Campagna at January 17, 2006 11:16 PM


You give me more credit than I deserve. I can assure you that any Swiftian misanthropy that emerges from my rants is purely unintentional. If only . . . !

I think my flimsy prose did me in more than any "morally grotesque arguments" (I like that phrase, by the way; you can assured I'll be using that somewhere soon). What I meant to explain was that unwanted children are *a*cause in that parade of horribles, not *the* cause.

Posted by: Mike at January 18, 2006 6:04 AM

Uh, why does everyone immediately assume that the Northern population drain is completely due to politics? I've seen this arguement on three different sites already and I can't help but scratch my head.

The Baby Boomers are getting old. My parents, born and bred New Englanders, certainly are. And, not surprisingly, they're taking about moving "someplace warm" for their later years.

I'd like to see some hard data as to the age of the Great Northern Exodus compared to the remaining population. And this great theory that people are fleeing the North because of their politics seems rather speculative to me.

Posted by: Jay at January 18, 2006 10:58 AM

If people want to bake in the sun, shop at box stores, and speak in tounges at mega-churches for the rest of their lives, let 'em go. Lots of good land in the northeast.

Posted by: seamus at January 18, 2006 11:22 AM

Jay - Yes, aging and weather are factors. But even there, a big part isn't just weather but a lower cost of living, and taxes and other political factors are a part of that equation.

Posted by: The Crank at January 18, 2006 11:33 AM

Seamus: "If people want to bake in the sun, shop at box stores, and speak in tounges at mega-churches for the rest of their lives, let 'em go."

Wait a second-not everybody in the South is a Skoal dippin', tattoo displayin', Walmart shoppin', NASCAR watchin', Pearl swillin', Robertson listenin' type.

That only describes 90% of us. The rest of us are transplanted Yankees like me, or natives who got through high school.

Posted by: Campagna at January 18, 2006 6:42 PM

I've spent a fair amount of time in Dixie as well and, though not a native, claim the native's right to ridicule what I love. Hope y'all enjoy y'all's eeelekt-ral prowess. Y'all've earned it.

Posted by: seamus at January 18, 2006 7:43 PM

The 'Roe Effect is all about numbers. Pro-choice women have abortions and Pro-life women have their babies even if they are not planned. There is a better than a 50-50 chance these pro-life babies grow up to be pro-life themselves. It takes 18 years to turn out a new voter. It is no wonder the Republicans have taken over the Congress, the Presidency and are working to get a pro-life majority on the Court. Some Republicans are more than happy to let poor white, black and latinos abort their babies but the moral majority does not. By supporting abortion the Democrats are committing genocide. The populations of the blue states are getting smaller and smaller along with the number of electorial votes they have for the Presidency. Democrats tell your leaders to be pro-life and let the Democrat babies live.

Posted by: Frank at February 10, 2006 12:34 AM
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