As I have mentioned in recent blogs, I am a RINO, republican in name only who is determined to continue to vote for democrats until there is a republican candidate who will courageously stand up to tea party members’ words of racism and contempt against President Obama.
I am now going to broach the subject of abortion. While I am anti-abortion, I am also against any and all anti abortion legislation. This is not an expedient belief but one arrived at after a lot of thought, study and research.
I grew up at a time when abortions were illegal and so, I know for a fact that when this medical procedure was prohibited, it did not stop abortions. All it does, is place the woman’s life at risk. If conservative, far right Christians were genuinely interested in reducing the rate of abortions, there are many constructive steps which can be taken to reduce the number of abortions in any given year, which are much more positive and effective than the current pro life, in your face tactics.
I have footnoted a link below about a major 2007 global study by the Guttmacher Institute, as reported in the NY Times. This research institute uses peer review and refuses to take money from organizations that could compromise their objectivity. The study concludes that there is no significant difference in the rate of abortions, among countries which legally and liberally allow for this medical procedure versus those that don’t.
However, there is a huge disparity in the number of deaths for women accessing this medical treatment between countries which legally allow for abortions and those that don’t. The countries where abortions are easily available and legal show the lowest number of deaths and other serious complications due to a woman having an abortion.
It is many of these same tea party, evangelical Christian conservative folks who are against hand outs to the poor such as government social benefits like Medicaid expansion, which provides for the safety network for poor pregnant women and children. The US far surpasses (CIA and CDC reports) all other developed countries in infant mortality rates because the poor do not have sufficient access to medical care.
The pro lifers and the tea party, evangelical base have easy access to funds to support their activist agendas from far right conservative, tea party think tanks and organizations, with financial backing from Koch brothers, oil, gas, utility companies and other conservative resources. The republican tea party legislators are heavily lobbied to enact and pass laws, such as the shutting down of planned parenthood clinics which provide affordable health care to poor women; and the recent, controversial “religious freedom restoration” acts.
Christians who are part of this pro life/ anti abortion crowd, believe that person hood, life, rights, the soul begins at fertilization. This means that anytime an abortion occurs, a child is being murdered. Some Christians argue that the contraceptive pill kills zygotes (fertilized egg cell resulting from the union of a female gamete egg with a male gamete sperm), which could possibly create a child. Therefore, some as in the Catholic Church consider this also as being an abortion. This is where I become dubious. A woman’s body naturally and automatically sloughs off dead zygotes. So, unless the pro lifers plan to save all these lost zygotes because they could potentially be a fetus, then this is a specious argument.
Many of the western European countries have liberal laws regarding abortion but their rates are much lower than the United States because these countries embrace the concept of teaching young people on how to effectively prevent unwanted pregnancies. This includes educating young people about sex, contraceptive use as well as ensuring that contraceptives are easily available and affordable. However, some conservative churches are against overt contraceptive use. Abstinence during a woman’s cycle when she is most fertile, is permitted. Also, their infant mortality rates are much lower than the US, because all women have access to cost effective or free, competent health care as well as generous government sponsored laws and programs instituted to provide a safety net for poor pregnant women and their babies.
Directly below is an example of how European countries educate young people via TV Ads. This sample you tube advertisement is extremely effective.
French condom commercial: Kids are a pain – YouTube▶ 0:41http://www.youtube.com/watch? May 4, 2007 – Uploaded by !! omg blog !! One more reason to use condoms: Voted “best commercial in Europe.”
“The best article that I have read on this subject, is by Libby Anne who was originally part of the pro life movement but evolved her belief system to become pro-choice (anti-abortion legislation) designed to end women’s’ access to legal abortions. Here are some excerpts from her 01/29/12 Pathios blog,”How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement:”
Banning Abortion Does Not Decrease Abortion Rates
“A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it.”
“Moreover, the researchers found that abortion was safe in countries where it was legal, but dangerous in countries where it was outlawed and performed clandestinely. Globally, abortion accounts for 13 percent of women’s deaths during pregnancy and childbirth, and there are 31 abortions for every 100 live births, the study said.”
“The results of the study, a collaboration between scientists from the World Health Organization in Geneva and the Guttmacher Institute in New York, a reproductive rights group, are being published Friday in the journal Lancet.”
“We now have a global picture of induced abortion in the world, covering both countries where it is legal and countries where laws are very restrictive,” Dr. Paul Van Look, director of the W.H.O. Department of Reproductive Health and Research, said in a telephone interview. “What we see is that the law does not influence a woman’s decision to have an abortion. If there’s an unplanned pregnancy, it does not matter if the law is restrictive or liberal.”
“But the legal status of abortion did greatly affect the dangers involved, the researchers said. “Generally, where abortion is legal it will be provided in a safe manner,” Dr. Van Look said. “And the opposite is also true: where it is illegal, it is likely to be unsafe, performed under unsafe conditions by poorly trained providers.”
“I was shocked to find that the countries with the lowest abortion rates are the ones where abortion is most legal and available, and the countries with the highest abortion rates are generally the ones where the practice is illegal.”
“Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.”
“Banning abortion does not actually affect abortion rates. I found that almost 50,000 women worldwide die each year from unsafe abortions, and that many more experience serious injury or infertility. These deaths happen almost entirely in countries where abortion is illegal – and thus clandestine. In fact, when abortion was made legal in South Africa, the number of abortion related deaths fell by over 90%.”
The Real Solution: Birth Control
“But if banning abortion does not decrease abortion rates, what does? Why do some countries have low abortion rates while others have much higher rates? The answer, I found, was simple.”
“Both the lowest and highest sub regional abortion rates are in Europe, where abortion is generally legal under broad grounds. In Western Europe, the rate is 12 per 1,000 women, while in Eastern Europe it is 43. The discrepancy in rates between the two regions reflects relatively low contraceptive use in Eastern Europe, as well as a high degree of reliance on methods with relatively high user failure rates, such as the condom, withdrawal and the rhythm method.”
“I found that making birth control widespread and easily accessible is actually the most effective way to decrease the abortion rate…The pro-life movement as a whole generally opposes things like comprehensive sex education and making birth control available to teenagers. I knew this because I had lived it, had heard it in pro-life banquet after pro-life banquet, had read it in the literature. The pro-life movement is anti-birth-control. And opposing birth control is pretty much the most ineffective way to decrease abortion rates imaginable.”
“As I mulled this over, I realized how very obvious it was. The cause of abortions is unwanted pregnancies. If you get rid of unwanted pregnancies the number of people who seek abortions will drop like a rock. Simply banning abortion leaves women stuck with unwanted pregnancies. Banning abortion doesn’t make those pregnancies wanted. Many women in a situation like that will be willing to do anything to end that pregnancy, even if it means trying to induce their own abortions (say, with a coat hanger or by drinking chemicals) or seeking out illegal abortions. I realized that the real way to reduce abortion rates, then, was to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. And the way to do that is with birth control, which reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies by allowing women to control when and if they become pregnant.”
“I realized that the only world in which opposing birth control made any sense was one in which the goal was to control women’s sex lives. After all, birth control allows women to have sex without having to face the “consequences” of sex. I had always opposed abortion out of a desire to save the lives of unborn babies. As a child, I had been moved to tears by the image of millions of babies murdered by abortion each year.”
“I no longer wanted to see Roe overturned or abortion banned. Instead, I wanted to work towards a world in which everyone has access to affordable birth control and unplanned pregnancies are reduced to a bare minimum. That day I became pro-choice.”
“I am done trying to insist that the movement really is simply trying to “save unborn babies.” I’m done because it’s not true. The pro-life movement supports the exact policies that will keep abortion rates high. It is those who believe in choice who support policies that will bring the abortion rates down.
“The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. If it were about babies, they would be making access to birth control widespread and free and creating a comprehensive social safety net so that no woman finds herself with a pregnancy she can’t afford.
UPDATE: I updated this blog on 4/11/15.
1.) Legal or Not, Abortion Rates Compare – NYTimes.com www.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/…/12abortion.htmlOct 12, 2007 – ROME, Oct. 11 — A comprehensive global study of abortion has … of this article appeared in print on October 12, 2007.
2.) (PDF) Abortion: Worldwide Levels and Trends – Guttmacher Institute https://www.guttmacher.org/…/10/…/AWWtrends.pd…Guttmacher Institute Oct 10, 2007 – published in peer-reviewed journals. Additional … Organization and the Center for Reproductive Rights. … support from the World Health Organization and the World Bank. … Society and Abortion Worldwide, New York: AGI, 1999. … of Unsafe Abortion: Report of a Technical Working Group, Geneva: WHO.