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Does the religious right drive up the abortion rate?

Friday, Oct 26, 2007 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Terry Cosgrove, who runs the pro-choice Personal PAC group, has written a highly provocative column for the Huffington Post

The consequences of right-wing reproductive health policies are devastating not only to women, but also to children and families. If you rate every country in the world starting with whether each provides full access to family planning, emergency contraceptives, pays for abortions and provides comprehensive sex education, and compare those to rates for countries where these policies are opposed, you will see that those who provide full access to EC, abortion, family planning and sex education have the LOWEST abortion rates, lowest STD rates, lowest infant mortality rates, lowest teen pregnancy rates, lowest maternal death rates as well as the best indicators for EVERY measurement of women’s health.

On the other side of the spectrum where abortion and family planning are illegal, the worst indicators for women’s health are found including the highest (and most dangerous) abortion rates in the world. Right now, today, as you are reading this, ½ the hospital beds in every large city hospital in Central and South America are taken by women suffering from illegal abortion attempts. And all these countries have the highest abortion rates in the world. […]

The use of contraception reduces the probability of having an abortion by 85%. In states which allowed emergency contraceptives without a prescription prior to the FDA’s move earlier this year, the abortion rate dropped by over 1/3. Some 70% or 42 million American women today of reproductive age are sexually active and do not want to become pregnant. Only 5% of women aged 15-44 in the U.S. use no contraception during sex and they account for 50% of the nation’s abortions. In light of this overwhelming evidence that unfettered access to contraception causes the abortion rate to plunge, it is stunning that NOT A SINGLE anti-abortion group in the United States supports the use of birth control. The best a few do is say nothing about birth control, but many so-called pro-life organizations lobby vigorously against it. The nation’s largest anti-abortion group, American Life League says “A.L.L. denies the moral acceptability of artificial birth control.” These are the very groups that say abortion shouldn’t be used as a form of birth control yet they oppose every type of birth control that would prevent unintended pregnancy. […]

The policies promoted by the pro-choice movement dramatically reduce the abortion rate here in Illinois, across the U.S. and around the world. The policies promoted by those who call themselves “pro-life” or anti-abortion drive up the abortion rate everywhere. The results are devastating to the women, children and families of our great state. Those who are against abortion for whatever reason shouldn’t have one which is why Planned Parenthood has The Cradle adoption agency at its Chicago medical facility.


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  1. - Bill Baar - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 9:26 am:

    Lord Steel who introduced the law legalizing abortion in the UK forty years ago just wrote a column in the Guardian expressing some doubts.

    He quotes a letter from Cardinals,

    “The 1967 Act was intended to solve the problem of illegal abortion, on the basis that it was a major cause of death in pregnant women. Yet our countries now perform nearly 200,000 abortions every year.

    “Whatever our religious creed or political conviction, abortion on this scale can only be a source of distress and profound anguish for us all. There is nothing to stop our society from acting now to foster a new understanding and approach to relationships, responsibility and mutual support.”

  2. - montrose - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 9:38 am:

    While I completely agree with Cosgrove’s argument, it is trying to apply rationality to a stance that has no basis in rationality. I do not say that to deride anti-abortion groups so much as to acknowledge they are basing their position on their view of faith and moral convictions. They believe life starts at conception and there should be no artificial interference with that natual process. Birth control, the monring after pill, etc., are all on the same level as traditional abortion from their moral point of view.

    So, while he makes a good case to those of us that already with him, it won’t mean squat to those morally oppose to abortion.

  3. - Bluefish - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 9:39 am:

    If easy access to contraceptives was available to every woman there would be very few abortions and these groups would find themselves out of business. Then these people would have to get real jobs or real lives focused on real issues instead of standing on street corners holding up pictures of aborted fetuses. Contraceptives are bad for their business.

  4. - Robbie - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 9:41 am:

    I think the article is a good source of information. But I also think montrose is dead on. Perhaps though I will be a bit more optimistic and say that you can slowly win people over with good information.

    It is always too bad when people become totally oblivious to reality just so they can justify their religious views.

  5. - b-dogg - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 9:58 am:

    When I lived in a small town in Honduras I found there to be only two types of un-married women there- single mothers and virgins. Now, every study ever done in the world indicates when you educate women, great things happen. Religion is great and showing constraint in your sexual life is swell, but at the end of the day people are animals. They act like it all the time. I left Latin America feeling angry with the Catholic church, because of its reluctance to allow family planning in the country. Not allowing the message to be spread that when you have sex you MUST wear a condom is criminal, and as the study above indicates it is women, children and society as a whole that suffers.

  6. - Pat Collins - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 9:59 am:

    Ah, but of course he throws out a lot of VERY dubious numbers.

    But here are some real ones, courtesy the weekly standard.

    last fiscal year Planned Parenthood stopped even reporting its adoption referrals. Its 2004-05 report stated that it had referred only 1,414 clients to adoption agencies (that’s less than two per clinic per year).

  7. - Stating the Obvious - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 10:05 am:

    Please, the Weekly Standard? What, a citation from the Flat Earth Times-Herald wasn’t available?

    That the right can only support its assertions with “facts” from its own echo chamber is a clear indication of its intellectual bankruptcy.

  8. - Ghost - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 10:18 am:

    So the religioud right increases abortion
    abortions create more stem cells
    therefore the religious right is creating more stem cells.

    Therefore the religious right now supports stem cell research :)

  9. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 10:22 am:

    What a bunch of stupid garbage!

    Provacative doesn’t begin to describe this piece of utter crap!

    And the bloggers’ stupid comments!

    Reality is simple. Science dictates that when you are pregnant, you will have a human being. Not a chicken, or a puppy - a human being just like yourself, but hopefully better than you. It is a fact.

    To terminate a human being just because you don’t know exactly when you wish to consider this person a person is immoral. Immorality covers a lot of things, including killing another person.

    Religion? What do I care? If there is a religion out there that believes that a human being is not a human being until they are no longer in their mother’s body - than that position is just as immoral as the clowns who wish to rationalize terminating the human life before it shows up in the hospital delivery room.

    You cannot be in favor of aborting a human life and be opposed to the death penalty. In both cases, we just don’t really know enough to decide in one case when a person becomes a person or if a person has committed a capital crime that authorizes the death penalty. WE DON’T KNOW! So, the moral choice is to err on the side of LIFE.

    As we have learned over the past twenty years, as new technologies have permitted us to be witnesses to human conception and fetal development, we are learning that we are who we are far earlier than previously believed. The more we know, the more we understand that human life exists quickly, and the more we understand the importance of protecting our most fragile citizens. To be willfully blind to what we know is simply playing stupid and ignoring medical science.

    The article is ripe with utter crap. To claim that 1/2 the hospital beds in South American countries is filled with women who attempted illegal abortions is sheer crap. Such a claim is so patently false it is shocking.

    I am continually appalled at people who somehow believe that religion and rational thinking is incompatable. Not only is that opinion provable false and has been false throughout history, it shows such a contempt towards those who recognize the importance of religion in human life throughout time. Such a view is horribly ignorant! In this day and age of diversity, acceptance and open-mindedness, reading such bigotry is simply disgusting. There is a scientific reason for religion or it wouldn’t exist. Fact.

    I just don’t care how you rationalize it, if you claim that NO ONE knows when life begins, than you should at least be smart enough to recognize that the only moral position to take is the one that does the least amount of damage and doesn’t kill.

    You would demand that of a person convicted of a capital crime, so why in the world would you NOT demand that for a human being exploding with life and waiting to show up in their parent’s arms?

    No abortions. I don’t care how you prevent pregnancies, but abortion is to birth control what nuclear fusion is to a matchstick.

  10. - Trafficmatt - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 10:27 am:

    It is good to see a topic like this on a blog where there is a higher level of discussion by the folks posting.

    On both sides of the argument, we have passionate people that are not always putting out facts and figures that are straightforward and honest. A few of the posters above have discussed whether or not the facts are correct.

    Two quick points

    I think the worst part of the debate is that there is precious little good, honest, and fair analysis and discussion of the issues and facts about abortion. Our newspapers and national media have failed miserably in filtering the truth. Too often, there are press releases and pundit pieces from advocacy groups that are put up verbatim on the news. And yes, the media DOES have a responsibility to filter out some truth (real truth, not their opinions). Too many people take what they say verbatim instead of investigating the truth, so what the media says becomes defacto truth.

    Second, there needs to be some common ground. If what Mr. Cosgrove piously puts forward in simple terms were correct about education, then there would be some merit behind what he says. However, we have seen far too many cases of schools and groups going around parents to distribute condoms, teach more “adventurous” aspects of sex (trying to keep it PG), and to fight parental notification. There is a HUGE trust issue here. As a father of a pre-teen girl, it scares me to death about what she will be taught by the schools and groups that I don’t agree with and think would be detrimental to her. We talk with her about these items, but the schools have a tremendous influence that sometimes has not been truthful or prudent.

    There needs to be more honest discussion and less subterfuge on both sides of the debate.

  11. - blackrobe - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 10:37 am:

    Who is this guy and why do we assume that his numbers are accurate. I find the assertion that half –HALF! of all hospital beds in South and Central America care for women suffering from botched abortions. Do you really believe that? In a land where people dont have reliable access to clean water and modern sanatation, where preventative medicine and immunology is not widely practiced, we are to believe HALF the sick people in the country are women suffering from a botched abortion. I dont believe it. This piece strikes me as the same kind of creative journalism that asserts the sky is falling because you all have too large a carbon footprint. Yes, lets blame Catholicism for all the evils befalling poor people in the world. If these women only lived under the rule of the Taliban, who have killed women students and those who try and educate them; who stone to death the young women who get pregant (not giving them time to get an abortion), they would be better off. If only they lived in godless-Communist China where people are allowed to live free of the influence and teaching of Christianity, and as it turns out that women are routinely forced to have an abortion or kill their own child after birth because they dare not have more than the proscribed number the State permits. If these poor Christian women in South and Central America only lived there …! Having a reasonable, intellectual discussion about abortion is a good thing. Giving people accurate facts about abortion is a great thing. Deciding Christianity is the boogey man and therefore one is justified in cooking up false and incindiary tales is not evidence of wisdom. Such is evidence of the blinding and intellectually debilitating nature of prejudice

  12. - suburbs - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 10:38 am:

    Since pro-choice people usually want to talk about abortion in the clinically cleaner language of a woman’s body and her choice, I challenge each of them to look at an ultrasound video of a human fetus (Latin for baby) and study it well. Then look at human babies who are discarded after abortions. You cannot tell me that those are not human beings who just moments before an abortion had a beating heart. It is so very sad that so many in the world believe this procedure to be just a procedure and not the end of a life that it is. Before an abortion, there are two beating, human hearts… Afterwards, only one. Look at the result. Look at the babies killed. What a selfish decision it is that your own child may not live so you can live as you wish….ever heard of adoption?!

  13. - montrose - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 10:39 am:

    Vanilla Man said:

    I am continually appalled at people who somehow believe that religion and rational thinking is incompatable. Not only is that opinion provable false and has been false throughout history, it shows such a contempt towards those who recognize the importance of religion in human life throughout time. Such a view is horribly ignorant! In this day and age of diversity, acceptance and open-mindedness, reading such bigotry is simply disgusting. There is a scientific reason for religion or it wouldn’t exist. Fact.

    First of all, I want to point out that I never used the word “religion.” In my book, there is a world of difference between faith/spirituality and religion.

    Second of all, I am not using the word “irrational” as a perjorative term. I am simply saying that certain moral convictions are always going to trump statisitically-based arguments such as Cosgrove’s. It is a matter of faith. Either you believe or you don’t. What makes divisions like this so difficult, is that when it comes to matters of faith, individuals have an incredibily hard time understanding the other side’s point of view.

    Third of all, I think Cosgrove’s point is the similar to Vanilla Man’s - abortion are bad and we should embrace “match sticks” in order to avoid “nuclear fusion.”

  14. - Pat Collins - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 10:42 am:

    The weekly standard != National Enquirer.

    You may not like the numbers, but they are real. PP’s number of clinics are DOWN, their “market share” of abortions is UP.

    They make a lot of money off abortion. Why should we be less suspicious of “big abortion” than we are of “big X”?

    And when you must use funny numbers to make your point, it’s reasonable to ask if their point is valid.

  15. - Philosophe Forum - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 10:51 am:

    If a pregnant woman does not consent to the pregnancy and decides on terminating it, she will do it. It can only exist with her consent.

    The difference between “legal” and “illegal” is “legal” keeps her alive. “Illegal” kills women in alarmingly high numbers. Also, one dead woman results in the “death” of her future children — if she chose to have them.

    The best alternative is education & contraception to so that the need for such procedures only occurs when the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life. If society put importance on women and their needs instead of zygotes, this controversy would never exist.

  16. - b-dogg - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 11:01 am:

    Going to take this conversation to a little higher level, the abortion debate is so tired. **yawn**
    So let me get this straight. The state should legislate morality and leave everything else (social services, healthcare, retirement) to be taken care of by the market??? hhhmmmm…. weird. the word theocracy comes to mind. maybe iran isn’t the only theocracy in the world…

  17. - DwightZinfandel - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 11:03 am:


    “To terminate a human being just because you don’t know exactly when you wish to consider this person a person is immoral.”

    This argument comes with a lot of problems. If we have to err on the side of life or potential life at all times then we have to outlaw male masturbation and legislate that women at least attempt to have every egg they produce inseminated. Those cells are certainly potential life and by your logic must be protected. What is the difference between two haploid cells and a single diploid cell in regard to personhood?

    An artificial distinction, that’s what. Eventually you have to come up with an artificial distinction. You have to decide what is a person and what isn’t. In these matters it seems to me the costs of making this a government choice are higher than making them an individual one.

    As a male I know I would buy a gun and run for the hills before I allowed the government to make that choice for me. I genuinely believe that if it were possible for males to become pregnant there is no way abortion rights would be at any risk at all.

  18. - Southern Illinois iPhone - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 11:08 am:

    Normally, I’m not in favor of legislating morality. However, when life is involved, it is the moral obligation of governments to act. So it goes with abortion. Sure, I don’t agree with the ultra right-wingers on this one. People are going to have sex regardless so it’s best to give them the protection they need to not get pregnant. However, once there is a life, I don’t think abortion is needed, let alone moral.

    Just because people are going to have sex is no reason to retreat on morality regarding abortion, however.

  19. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 11:11 am:

    “moral convictions are always going to trump statisitically-based arguments”

    That is a totally bogus statement. Absolute nonsense. Morality doesn’t trump scientifically proven facts that reveal new insights into His creation. Humans use morality as a compass until science reveals the truths within our world.

    It is those who claim that no one knows and that this ignorance justifies convenient distortions of existing moral stands. We learn these games as children, and these “intellectual” exercises are childish.

    Traditions are based on proven science, or they wouldn’t exist, would they? We did not get to where we are today without them, would we?

    Those who are ignorant of why we believe what we do are easily swayed by the informational flotsam each generation embraces. We have seen every generation embrace fads and pretend to understand more than their ancestors. It is hubris.

    Science trumps hubris. This article is dripping with it.

    It is disgusting to see someone intellectually dishonest enough to twist proven traditions with fabricated data in order to condemn those who disprove their warped views.

    To blame the “religious right” on a rise in the abortion rates, when they fully understand how opposed these people are to this practice, deliberately paints them as stupid boobs too ignorant to understand how their tactics create the problem they wish to eradicate.

    This is a loathesome article that condemns anyone with an opinion that differs from them. The position this article takes does not enhance dialog, it damns it. Under no circumstances should any open-minded person be comfortable with these kinds of publicity stunts.

    It is ugly and it is wrong.

  20. - Pat Collins - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 11:11 am:

    Lets put it this way. We make men be fathers for 18 years. Why can’t we make women be mothers for nine months?

    Where can a man get a financial abortion at?

  21. - cermak_rd - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 11:18 am:

    Contraception availability has definitely reduced the abortion rate in Eastern Europe which was quite high before the mass availability of contraception. If such is true for Eastern Europe, I would think it would be true elsewhere. Abortions are not pleasant for the women receiving them. Give them a convenient alternative such as the morning after pill, condoms, hormonal contraception, sponges, etc. and they will take it and use it.

    This article isn’t about the morality of abortion, it is about the morality of contraception, an argument long since lost by those who oppose it as measured by the marketplace.

  22. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 11:21 am:

    Those who are uncomfortable with the idea that governments use morality as a foundation for laws is ignorant of the purpose of government, and ignorant of the purpose of morality.

    Get a clue! Calling those who recognize the function of governments and morality as theocrats isn’t thinking. It is parroting.

  23. - cermak_rd - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 11:23 am:

    Because the children aren’t dependent on the father’s body for continuous existence.

    I come at abortion from a property rights perspective. The woman’s body is like an apartment building. The woman is the landlord. Just as a landlord can evict squatters, because they have no legal claim on his property, from his apartment building even though it is wintertime and they may freeze; a woman can evict the foetus from her body even though it may die because it has no legal claim to her body.

    There is a middle ground between the protect the embryo movement and the abortion upto 9 months movement. I suspect most people are there in the middle somewhere.

  24. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 11:24 am:

    “Where can a man get a financial abortion at?”
    MEN don’t get financial abortions, boys do. Men recognize their responsiblities regarding life, boys just want to play.

    Our society needs more real men. Enough with the 60 year old teenagers and the 30 year old boys.

  25. - b-dogg - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 11:27 am:

    “get a clue” “bloggers’ stupid comments” wow, vanilla man. your arguments are really strong.. you must have been a champion high school debater before you began your lucrative blogging career.. Who am I parroting exactly?? I bet your one of those people who think all Muslims are evil… Luckily you are just a blogger and not in charge of anything… adieu.

  26. - Pat collins - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 11:29 am:

    MEN don’t get financial abortions, boys do. Men recognize their responsiblities regarding life, boys just want to play.

    Well, and if we replace Men/boys with women/girls, delete the word financial…..

  27. - johnqpublic - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:02 pm:

    all sides should honestly evaluate the issue according to biology. Within moments of conception, a unique being with unique dna sequence is created and developing rapidly with human features appearing in days. To deny the biology is the arena of the illogical or worse. abortions happen because the woman doesn’t want the being to be born for often sympathetic reasons. But that doesn’t change the biological reality.

  28. - Garp - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:05 pm:

    The idiot who wrote this crap does not have the ability to count how many women are in South and Central American hospital beds “right now, today” much less what they are there for. I wanted to thank VanillaMan for his comments because I don’t have the time to express my outrage at this pack of BS.

  29. - DwightZinfandel - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:13 pm:


    Your argument isn’t as rock bottom as you think it is. You confuse the necessary conditions of having DNA and “human features” for personhood with sufficient conditions. Surely each of our life experiences count for part of who we are as persons. Surely my hair on the barbershop’s floor has DNA and human features, but it isn’t a person.

    There is no biological reality regarding personhood. Personhood is an idea. It’s made up. It seems to me the Huffington post makes a convincing case that it’s better to allow individuals to come up with their own ideas on reproduction and personhood than pretending that there is one objective standard that all people will be happy and healthy conforming to.

  30. - Fan of the Game - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:25 pm:

    I’ve read a lot of things in many discussion about abortion, but I have never seen unborn babies compared to “squatters.” Unbelieveable!

    I guess I would ask, who invited those baby “squatters” in the door?

  31. - cermak_rd - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:32 pm:

    If you invite a squatter into your house to spend the night and they choose to stay indefinitely, you have the right to have them removed. So invitation is irrelevant.

    Again, though, this article is about contraception. Contraception is an explicit dis-invitation and it seems to prevent more contraversial forms of eviction from being necessary. So why aren’t anti-abortion groups promoting it?

  32. - Objective Dem - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:34 pm:

    Like many issues, a large part of the battle over abortion is in framing the issue.

    The “pro-life” groups have been successful recently in framing the issue by focusing on late term abortions, partial birth abortions, and abortion being used as a form of birth control.

    I think the Cosgrove article is a good attempt at highlighting the fact that the “anti-aboriton” groups are really “anti-birth control” and against all forms of non-procreative sex. Just as importantly he raises the issue that these anti-birth control policies are counter productive and lead to more abortions.

    The trick now is for his arguments to move beyond the Huffington Post and get out into the mainstream. This will be difficult, because as evidenced by today’s bloggers, many people cannot discuss birth control and abortion in a calm rational way.

  33. - train111 - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:35 pm:

    Vanilla Man

    Your comments about 30 year old boys and 60 year old teens are right on the money. It disgusts me, as a man and a father, to no end that a ‘man’ can go out and have sex and feel no tinge of responsibility for the possible result. In my life I’ve seen many a child whose future is totally lost because of this. Abortion is often times an ‘easy out’ for these ‘men’ who do not want to be a man and take responsibility.
    Too bad in our society, this is just another example of people not having to take responsibility for their own actions.



  34. - Skeeter - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:35 pm:

    The comments here show why there can be no rational debate about any issue involving abortion.

    Vanilla, who recently has been making some intresting and informed comments, did not go to the issue of the original post at all and instead raved about abortion generally.

    Collins apparently is angry that he has to pay to support kids.

    How cares? Neither has anything to do with the initial post.

    The issue is whether the far right actually serves to PROMOTE abortion.

    I don’t see how that point can be reasonably be debated. OF COURSE the impact on the far right is to increase abortion. Whenever you decrease sex education and decrease birth control, the number of unwanted pregnancies is going to go up.

    That’s the real irony of the “pro-life” movement: For all their talk about their hatred for abortion, their policies are serving the opposite purpose. If people like Jill Stanek really wanted to see abortions go down, she would be handing out condoms to every person she saw.

  35. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:40 pm:

    “If we have to err on the side of life or potential life at all times then we have to outlaw male masturbation and legislate that women at least attempt to have every egg they produce inseminated.”

    You are confusing mastubation with pregnancy.
    Get a book. For you, one with pictures!

  36. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:51 pm:

    Skeeter - you are right.

    But to claim that “you are making me have an abortion because you made it too confusing for me to pick up a condom at the corner” - isn’t the blame of the pro-life crowd. Instead it is a crutch handed to the irresponsible courtesy of the “pro-choice” crowd.

    It is the blame of a society that refuses to face scientific fact that pregnancy is life, sex can lead to pregnancy if unprotected, and abortion ends a human life. It is a society that deludes itself into believing several myths in order to salve it’s conscience. It is a society that claims science but then refuses scientific proof that abortion is ending a life. It is a society that twisted a medical procedure designed to save the life of a mother into a form of birth control. It is a society that is failing to form families so that the powerful personal experiences of childbirth is unknown to an increasing number of people, resulting in an mishandling of the entire issue at the societal level.

  37. - Objective Dem - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:51 pm:

    Many of the writers today are very upset because they view abortion as absolutely wrong. Clearly they want the number of abortions to be reduced.

    So the question is if birth control (before conception) and sex education leads to fewer abortions why not support them?

  38. - montrose - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 12:55 pm:

    Skeeter wrote:

    The comments here show why there can be no rational debate about any issue involving abortion.

    Amen. (pun fully intended)

  39. - Skeeter - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 1:02 pm:


    You and I have similar views with regard to abortion as a means of birth control.

    That being said, the issue becomes how do we reduce those numbers?

    You seem to believe that birth control is free open and easy. It isn’t, particularly for the real “at risk” groups. Look at people like Stanek: She doesn’t want schools to teach about birth control. She doesn’t want schools to provide condoms. Does she really think that burying her head in the sand and yelling ABSTAIN as loud as she can, people will, in fact, abstain?

    The very idea seems completely contrary to human nature as we know it. No matter what society says, people are going to have sex.

    Sure kids should be taught that abtaining is the only 100% effective means of preventing unwanted pregnancy. But they should also be provided the resources to prevent conception if they decide not to abstain. And that is the real failure of the far right. They are so concerned with blocking sex that they promote policues that fail to prevent abortion.

  40. - Objective Dem - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 1:17 pm:

    Vanilla man, it is not as simple as you claim with the statement that their is “scientific proof that abortion is ending a life.”

    The concept of when life begins has been debated throughout history. Ancient judaic law distinguished between a baby and a fetus. Many of the Christian ideas are based on Aristotle’s theory that boys received their soul at 40 days, and girls at 80 to 90 days. And now with advances in science, the idea that life begins with viability outside the womb is extremely complicated.

    So while Catholics and others may firmly believe that life begins at conception, that is a belief and not a scientific fact. And this view should not be dictated to people who have other belief systems. This is the idea behind a pluralistic society and does not mean nihilism.

  41. - Bluefish - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 1:35 pm:

    My question for VM and the others who oppose abortion: How many unwanted babies have you adopted and/or supported through adulthood? I understand your side of the argument (as I am personally opposed to abortion). But realize there are financial and human consequences to having every unwanted baby being born. Remember the original focus of this discussion is that the same people who oppose abortion also oppose contraception. Who’ll take care of all the babies that are born as a result?

    So, VM and others, are you part of the problem or part of the solution? I’d really like to know since my theory on this is that the pro-life folks are unwilling to put their money where their mouth is.

  42. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 1:38 pm:

    If it is not as simple as you say, and that throughout history this has been debated, then what makes you so certain that it is OK to end a pregnancy?

    If you are saying that no one knows, or can ever know, you should consider it completely it important to protect the human whose life is beginning by erring on the side of keeping that person alive.

    Just because someone else has a different “belief” system doesn’t mean every belief system is the same or carries the same weight. Abortion causes harm and we have no reason to harm an innocent, do we?

    You err on the side of life.

  43. - Ghost - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 1:57 pm:

    VM if we are to err on the side of life and make sure we do nothing to harm an innocent life, then should we not provide unlimited health care for all? Poor health causes harm, and death.

    Also how can you say every abortion causes harm, or that every abortion if cancelled would result in an innocent? Our society has lots of sociopaths, killers etc who all started as a fetus. Your argument based on innocence opens up the murky waters of testing for genetic traits which demonstarte socio pathic tendencies, crminal behaviour etc.

    People of course are not getting abortions to stop future evil people, but not every fetus can accuratley be described as innocent, or develops to improve our society.

    Look at the cost of welfare and social programs for all the people born into poverty or low income; all the kids removed from homes do to abuse and neglect. Very few anti-abortion advocates discuss quality life or how to help deal with all the kids who are not getting the food, shelter, healthcare, emotional care and education they need.

    I do not support abortion, but the concept for a society entails looking at what happends to the child after it is born. We are failing to take care of the children we have, adding to the mess is not the best of plans.

  44. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 1:59 pm:

    Y’all can “debate” about abortion until you pass out from exhaustion and it won’t do any good. You’ll never convince each other.

    I suggest all of you return to the topic of this post.

  45. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 2:09 pm:

    Fine. While I don’t like the old “hypocrite” approach to the old “are you a part of the problem or the solution”, I’ll tell you what I do. But even if I was infertile, or celebate, how my society protects the innocent human life is important. As a human being we have the capacity to empathize and this allows us to be more than what society or biology forces on us. So even if I was a priest, I should have the right to discuss these issues, and as you know, most priests do present their views on these issues. Being a biological father or an adopted father doesn’t matter actually.

    These are OUR children.

    Birth is good. I am doing my share to reach out and assist other parents via my church and my governments. I have been and am a “Big Brother. I have children. I am a Mason and committed to celebrating and protecting life without regards to creed.

    Simply because a distressed mother “doesn’t want” her child means that that child should be considered unwanted. There is a long list of very important people who were born whose start in their mother’s womb was not wanted. Life is just too awesome to deny to others. We should not be deciding who lives and who dies.

    Also because we need everyone. A growing society is a healthy society. We cannot have more 20 year olds 19 years from now because everyone who needed to be born last year have already been born.

    A society that supports its children has a future. I support every societal program that has been intelligently designed to deliver financial and emotional assistance to children. (But I am not a sap to be plucked by every politician with a tale to tell.)

    We cannot have socialism without children. Those of you who will be depending on tomorrows wage earners for taxes, depend upon a society that is fertile. For too long bad science has told us that we had a ticking population time bomb. We now know that is a load of crap. We are one of the only leading industrial nation with a birth rate that replaces and grows our population. Other countries are simply dying out - and quite quickly too. Spain has just recently offered $3500 to each birth in hopes that they can survive the 21st Century. Japan, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands - these countries have a terminal illness that is beginning to scare their governments.

    Pro-life means what it means. We err on the side of life whether this refers to the death penalty, abortion or euthanasia. We have to admit that we do not yet know the answers as to when life begins, when it ends or when it should end. Therefore, we have to respect one another enough to allow for life.

  46. - Pat Collins - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 2:27 pm:

    Collins apparently is angry that he has to pay to support kids.

    No, I am trying to make the point of UNEQUAL treatment. Women get a “choice”, men dont.

    I skewer you on one point or the other, you can choose which to fall on :)

    how many did you adopt

    Given that real adoption agencies have many people on waiting lists, that’s a silly argument. There used to be no abortion and no pill. There were lots of kids born, and placed.

    And if no one would adopt, what’s all those Chinese babies doing arriving at airports?

    the topic

    Indeed, this article really does cheer me up. Having lost the high ground on abortion, they try to regroup on Dick durbin’s silly ground of “I switched to supporting abortion when I realized those people were against birth control”.

    The thing is, that BC isn’t 100% effective. So what PP really does is make kids THINK they are safe, then make money from them via abortions.

    And shall we ask the esteemed Mr. Cosgrove to discuss MANDATORY reporting for underage girls? Where adult sex offenders impregnate, PP aborts, and doesn’t report? Several examples in the standard article above.

    The article makes some very silly claims about 3rd world countries.

    Now, lets forget the colonialist aspect of his argument “we must protect those poor dumb 3rd world’ers from evil RWE”. Do we really think those numbers are right? In many of those places, even the governments would he hard pressed to give them. How can PP?

    We have had some 30+ YEARS of doing it PP’s way. It hasn’t worked at all. The “kids will have sex, so lets educated them” argument, why don’t we apply that to guns? *^^*.

  47. - cermak_rd - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 3:03 pm:

    Do you really think PP is getting rich on abortions? Abortions which make up about 10% of their business (the bulk of their business is in providing affordable birth control and the attendant paps etc. that go along with that.) If their business model is so enriching, why do they bother me with fundraising?

    No birth control is 100% effective, yet they are all more effective than sex without some kind of protection. Abstinence works but it has apparently never been all that wholly adopted by the population. Even if you look back at the 1950’s (when according to some life was perfect), you will see high rates of teen age pregnancy. True most of those women married their partners at the time, but I don’t think that genie is returning anytime soon, and even that was more common in the middle class community.

    As for mandatory reporting–show me where it won’t simply lead to the girls continuing with their relationships and not getting bc or safer sex counseling and maybe I’ll consider it. As a parent, I’d rather my child have an ill-advised relationship with an older man with birth control than wind up pregnant. Ill advised relationships can screw you up emotionally; pregnancy screws you up that way and every other which way too.

  48. - Bluefish - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 3:28 pm:

    0 for 2 so far. My theory is holding.

  49. - Objective Dem - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 3:49 pm:


    You said “Just because someone else has a different “belief” system doesn’t mean every belief system is the same or carries the same weight.” Well, you know my belief system is mainstream Protestant and even if you don’t think it carries the same weight there are tens of millions of Americans who think it does (plus a lot of other people).

  50. - Jimmy Carter - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 4:11 pm:

    Jimmy Carter made the same point in one of his books by pointing out that nations with the highest abortion rates are conservative ones dominated by the Catholic Church’s view on abortion and birth control.

    Electing conservative Republicans = more abortions. It has been shown to be true again and again.

  51. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 4:23 pm:

    “Jimmy Carter made the same point…”

    Geez, now they’re digging up Jimmy Freakin’ Carter like he is some kind of messiah.

    Listen, if you have to have Jimmy Carter backing your opinions up, then it is high time to start having some new opinions, isn’t it.

    And listen Objective Dem, I know a lot of mainstream Protestants that see nothing wrong with ending human life before it is born. That is why they’re going to church.

  52. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 4:29 pm:

    Oh and Bluefish you postings make you look double-jointed to the point where I can understand how you can pat yourself on your back without breaking your arm like you’ve been doing. Mr. 0 for 2 boy.

  53. - cermak_rd - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 4:41 pm:


    While you obviously feel strongly about abortion, have you ever once in this thread addressed the actual topic of contraception and why many on the anti-abortion side are against it and whether it decreases the incidence of abortion? If you’re against abortions occuring in IL, the best way to do so is to back ways to reduce demand for it, because given the electorate as seen through Rich’s poll results article yesterday, you’re not likely to actually be able to get laws passed or enforced against it.

    The anti-abortion crowd would probably do better in this state if it wasn’t headed and championed by so many abrasive and arrogant personalities. The nice ladies praying the Rosary are so much more pleasant than Jill or Scheidler or many of the other public faces of the movement.

  54. - Objective Dem - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 4:43 pm:


    Jimmy Carter the blogger is actually building on the point of the posting and the original commentary. There was nothing that indicated that he views Jimmy Carter as the Messiah. Additionally, Carter is an ex-president, Nobel prize winner, and well-known for his writings and views on religion and politics. So he is someone whose voice matters.

    The more interesting thing that JC the blogger did not address is why the mainstream media does not report these stories and the link between anti-birth control and increase numbers of abortion. It will be interesting to see if the Huffington Post column is picked up in the MSM. If the MSM was as liberal as people claim, this story would be on front pages everywhere.

  55. - Rob_N - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 5:17 pm:

    Pat Collins wrote, “They make a lot of money off abortion. Why should we be less suspicious of “big abortion” than we are of “big X”?”

    About 10% of Planned Parenthood’s business is from abortion procedures.

    10% is hardly “a lot” of anything. In fact, several of PP’s clinics and offices don’t offer the procedure at all (IIRC their Naperville office fits into that category).

    As for the Cosgrove essay, there are also other studies indicating that conservative social policies also lead to increased rates of sexual activity including “alternative forms” and decreased use of protections against STDs (leading to increased disease).

    And the conservatives complain the other side is uninterested in being persuaded?

  56. - Lainer - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 7:49 pm:

    OK folks, I’m going to take the plunge here and address a few things that I have been dying to say all day.
    While the “hard right”, religious anti-abortion groups are the ones who get all the attention, they are not the only ones out there. There are groups called Atheists for Life and Feminists for Life. There are Jewish, African-American, Muslim and Hindu pro-lifers. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of what is now called NARAL Pro-Choice America, was an atheist when he switched to a pro-life point of view and produced “The Silent Scream” (he later became Catholic). Another well-known atheist pro-lifer is Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice. Why don’t we hear about them? Well, they don’t fit the predictable point/counter point template the media favors. They would rather just stick to the “usual suspects” whenever a controversial issue like abortion, gay marriage, illegal immigration, etc. comes up. Eventually all the debates start to sound like broken records.
    The religious conservative groups like ALL are the most vocal so they get all the attention. Their motivation stems from strongly held views about the nature and purpose of sexuality that aren’t real popular in today’s world. But to repeat, they are not the only pro-life/anti-abortion advocates out there.
    I do think its time people who are really serious about the pro-life issue start thinking outside of the box and realizing that the approach they’ve been taking for the last 30 years or so may have outlived its usefulness. Marching, picketing, sit-ins and chanting slogans might have “worked” for the civil rights and anti-war movements, but I’m not so sure anymore that they are going to work for the pro-life movement. They seem to be stuck fighting the last war.
    The one thing that I think has the potential to break through the deadlock is this: realizing that many, many people on BOTH sides of the abortion issue come to their convictions the hard way — by either having an abortion, or knowing someone who has. That is something we should all remember before we start calling one another baby killers or Bible thumpers.

  57. Pingback Ill Review annihilates its own credibility « Illinois Reason - Monday, Dec 3, 07 @ 1:18 pm:

    […] To the point, whether you believe allegorical evidence provides a reasonable basis for argument or not (silly goose conservative “writer” Dennis Byrne apparently does), many suggest that conservative economic and social policies tend to backfire and actually increase abortion rates. […]

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