Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Missing Link

Modern Liberal rhetoric on abortion has changed over the years. It used to be portrayed as a positive good, but is now depicted as a necessary evil, hence President Obama's characterization of it as "tragic." This is probably due to our country's slight shift in a pro-life direction. Professor Naomi Cahn, one of the two co-authors of the book Blue Families v. Red Families, recognizes this and so she wants to change the subject and talk about contraception instead. But isn't there a link between birth control and abortion? Does access to birth control increase abortion rates? If it increases abortion rates, then Modern Liberals would be endorsing a policy which would increase something which they themselves admit is "tragic."

Ross Douthat points out the same states (e.g. Massachusetts) which uses public funds to increase access to birth control also have higher abortion rates than states (e.g. Mississippi) which do not. Cahn's attempts to explain this away by saying the problem is states like Massachusetts have not gone far enough. They need further funding of sex ed and even easier access to birth control. Yet this seems highly implausible; the more likely explanation is abortion is necessary as a backup when contraception fails. This is why the abortion rates go up in states which permit easier access to birth control.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Mr. Joseph,

    Ms. Cahn is a fool for trying to argue that states in which contraception is available should have lower abortion rates. THIS WILL NEVER BE THE CASE. Why?

    Consider the statistic of abortion rate. Abortion rate measures the number of abortions per pregnant woman, correct? This understood, why is it surprising that states with available contraception have higher rates of abortion? Consider the following: one can be reasonably justified in saying that states which subsidize contraception are socially liberal, therefore, because the populace tends to be socially liberal, it will also be pro-choice. That is, A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN WILL BE PRO-CHOICE and thus seek abortion. In the exact same vein, pro-life (red) states will have lower abortion rates because fewer pregnant women will feel comfortable getting an abortion. So, independent of the number of pregnant teens, the rate will always be higher for abortion in socially liberal states, which, not surprisingly, will also most often support distribution of contraceptives. Mr. Douthat is foolishly arguing that the presence of contraception drives up abortion rates. This is completely and utterly FALSE. The correlation between pro-contraception policies and pro-choice beliefs in liberal (blue) states is what brings about this false notion.

    In light of the above statements, what should be the discussed topic is, "does availability to contraception decrease the number of births per 1000 teenagers?" Not surprisingly, the answer is yes, and there seems to be a stronger case for causation here. Throwing out a few data points here, according to a 2006 study, Mississippi, Texas, and Arizona (all red states) had the most out of wedlock teen births per thousand girls aged 15-19. This is partially attributable to the fact that abortion rates for states like Texas (32%) are far lower than for MA (51%), but also because a far higher proportion of Texans become pregnant in the first place (101 per 1000 compared to 42 per 1000). Considering these numbers, one can reasonably state that contraceptive lowers teen birth rate (and pregnancy rate).