Abortion


declineEarlier this month the Guttmacher Institute released the latest abortion figures (for 2011), which revealed that the number of abortions in this country have once again began to decline despite the continued growth in population.  In 2011, there were 1.06 million abortions – a 13% decline from 2008.  The 2011 abortion rate also declined 13% from 2008, with 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44.  Compare this to the 1981 peak of 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women.

There has also been a big shift in the way women procure abortions.  In 2008, 17% of all abortions were performed via chemicals (such as RU-486).  As of 2011, that number increased to 23%.

There are also fewer abortion providers (4% fewer than 2008) and abortion clinics (1% fewer than 2008).

See Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2011 for details.

AZ enacted a law in April 2012 banning abortions at 20 weeks and later (measured from last menstrual period) due to evidence that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks.  This was ruled unconstitutional by the 9th Circuit Appellate Court in San Francisco because Roe protects a women’s right to abortion before a fetus is viable, and a fetus is not viable until ~24 weeks.  The SCOTUS refused to hear the case, and thus the ruling stands.

Judge Kleinfeld, from the 9th Circuit court, had said, “Were the [AZ] statute limited to protecting fetuses from unnecessary infliction of excruciating pain before their death, Arizona might regulate abortions at or after 20 weeks by requiring anesthetization of the fetuses about to be killed, much as it requires anesthetization of prisoners prior to killing them when the death penalty is carried out.”

Paying-Lip-ServiceOne of the reasons many conservative Christians tend to vote for Republican politicians is due to the party’s moral conservatism: pro-life, pro-family.  Several people have argued, however, that this is not a worthwhile reason to vote Republican because most Republican politicians only pay lip service to the pro-life position for political purposes, and/or they don’t really do anything to limit or abolish abortion (or can’t really do anything due to Roe).

I’ve always found the psychoanalysis claim to be dubious. It’s very difficult to prove that someone does not truly believe what they say they believe. Pro-life Republicans could make the same claims about pro-choice Democrats: They don’t really believe abortion should be permitted, but pay lip service to the pro-choice position for political purposes.  I think it’s best to avoid the psychoanalysis, and just take people at their word unless we have good reason to doubt their sincerity.

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I’ve heard a few prolife thinkers take the position that it is wrong to use the biological tissue of aborted fetuses for medicinal purposes on the grounds that such a practice would encourage additional abortions.  I’m not sure I agree with this line of reasoning, however.  Consider the practice of using the organs of those killed by homicide.  Should we be opposed to this on the grounds that it will encourage additional homicides?  Surely not.  The motivation for homicide is not to provide a fresh supply of organs for the born, but hatred for the individual who was murdered.  Nobody commits murder so that they can increase the number of organs available for transplantation; therefore, there is no reason to believe that using the organs of homicide victims will increase the number of homicides in the future.  By the same token, the motivation for abortion is not to provide additional biological tissue to help the born, but because people do not want the children they conceived.  While an unborn child should never be killed, if and when an unborn child has been killed, I see no ethical problem in using its tissues to aid the born.  After all, one is not doing evil (abortion) to accomplish some good (helping the sick), but trying to find some good (helping the sick) from an evil (abortion) they cannot prevent.

At least, these were my thoughts prior to reading more deeply into some of the arguments presented by those who oppose the use of aborted fetal tissues.  After having delved a bit more into the arguments, I’ve changed my thinking.  It think it is more reasonable to avoid the medical use of aborted fetal tissues.

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According to The New York Times, there are 2500 crisis pregnancy centers in the United States versus 1800 abortion clinics.  For those who think that pro-lifers aren’t doing anything to help women with their babies, think again.

In March of this year, China’s health ministry released abortion data.  Approximately 13 million abortions are performed in China every year.  That’s 25 abortions every minute!  They estimate that since 1971, ~325 million abortions have been performed.  That’s the population of the United States.  Tragic!

Russia is experiencing a population problem.  Putin has hired Boyz II Men ahead of Valentine’s Day to get the Russians in the mood for baby-making!  As Daniel Halper at The Weekly Standard quipped, he should have hired a pro-life organization instead.  In Russia, for every 10 babies born 13 more are aborted.  That is a staggeringly high abortion rate (for comparison, in the U.S. “only” 2.5 babies are aborted for every 10 babies born).  More babies are killed than born!

Russia will never fix its population problem until it fixes its culture of death that devalues unborn human life.

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