Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Latest on Abortion Stats and the Safety Net

A few weeks ago Rob and I blogged about preliminary statistics suggesting that the abortion rate had risen during the Bush administration and later numbers, based on data from more states (43 in all), suggesting that the Clinton-era decline had merely slowed rather than reversed.  Now ethics professor (and pro-life liberal) Glen Stassen, who had publicized the original numbers, reviews the latest statistics and concludes "that abortions in those 43 states probably declined slightly [from 2001 on], but at a slower rate than previously - what I call a stall."

Stassen also summarizes evidence that the abortion rate slowed in its decline, and actually increased among poor women and those on Medicaid, at around the time welfare reform kicked in in the mid-1990s.  (I should comment that for the causal analysis to be complete and convincing, it would have to be a lot more extensive than what's in this short article.)  He concludes:

Taking $200 billion per year out of tax income for the wealthy and therefore squeezing down justice programs for children, schools, the CHIP health insurance program that should support children, and jobs programs, and shifting income from the broad consumer base to the wealthy has been bad for mothers and children. We need a motherhood mandate - health insurance, accessible clinics, economic support, parental leave with pay for a child's first year (as most every other democracy except the U.S. has), jobs programs, and support for schools such as my wife's, where teenagers can bring their babies and get their clinic visits without either quitting school or having an abortion - or getting someone else to parent their baby.

Stassen also has choice words for conservative pro-lifers who criticized his initial numbers and publicized the later statistics (which came from the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute):

So here is the irony of advocates who claim to be pro-life cheering data from a pro-choice source to say things are not as bad as I thought. They attack my pro-life effort to push the Bush administration to adopt policies that decrease abortions. It raises the question as to whether their real loyalty is pro-life, or whether their priority is partisan politics.

Tom B.


Berg, Thomas | Permalink

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