Abortions Decreased Under Clinton - Increased Under Bush
October 14, 2004 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Abortions Decreased Under Clinton - Increased Under Bush 52,000 more abortions under Bush than under Clinton, reversing a ten-year trend that had resulted in a 17.4% decline in abortions.
posted by eustacescrubb (44 comments total)
 
Yes, yes, I know, ElectionFilter. But this seemed important and unique enough to risk the wrath of seth and dhoyt.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:22 PM on October 14, 2004


What does this tell us? Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative. Rhetoric is hollow, mere tinkling brass, without health care, health insurance, jobs, child care, and a living wage. Pro-life in deed, not merely in word, means we need policies that provide jobs and health insurance and support for prospective mothers.

Well said. Has it been established that in the past that when times are bad, abortion rates go up, beyond anecdotal evidence?
posted by amberglow at 8:28 PM on October 14, 2004


and some "culture of life" Bush is creating, huh?
posted by amberglow at 8:29 PM on October 14, 2004


Kerry was saying something during the debates the other night about how faith without deeds is nothing, but I was too busy taking a black marksalot to all the dirty parts of my Bible to pay attention.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:35 PM on October 14, 2004


More people should have abortions, really. I mean, have you been in a restaurant lately? A movie theater? Lots of irritating kids out there. Not doing anyone any good, them.
posted by xmutex at 9:13 PM on October 14, 2004


I'm reminded of how Bush boasted that more students are receiving Pell grants under his administration. Kerry pointed out that it's because more qualify for them. Pell grants are awarded based on need.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:22 PM on October 14, 2004


Kerry was saying something during the debates the other night about how faith without deeds is nothing

I and my brother were pretty astonished that Kerry used this peculiarly Catholic point in the debate, actually.
posted by clevershark at 9:35 PM on October 14, 2004


The economic argument makes sense, but what about the abstinence education vs. sex education policy? I know this isn't all about teen pregnancy, but I would argue that at least a few of those unwanted pregnancies are the result of poor sex ed.
posted by whatnot at 10:02 PM on October 14, 2004


how faith without deeds is nothing ... I and my brother were pretty astonished that Kerry used this peculiarly Catholic point in the debate, actually.

Hmm? How so? That's a direct quote from the New Testament. How is that a peculiarly Catholic point, rather than a general Christian (indeed, a more Protestant) one?
posted by ChrisTN at 10:26 PM on October 14, 2004


I and my brother were pretty astonished that Kerry used this peculiarly Catholic point in the debate, actually.

Kerry wasn't making a theological argument, he was making a moral/ethical one. I think what you're thinking of are the conditions for salvation. Catholics believe that faith and good works are necessary to be saved, and Protestants believe that faith alone is necessary. Calvinists believe that a result of having faith is the compulsion to do good works. So if you're not doing good works, you must not be one of the elect, and so on and so forth. I think both would agree that if you have faith, you are naturally doing good works. At any rate, that's a lot more space than I wanted to spend on this, and I think I generalized it beyond recognition, but I have seen similar ideas on MeFi as a result of the Kerry quote, and thought it needed clarification.
posted by psmealey at 10:31 PM on October 14, 2004


Catholics believe that faith and good works are necessary to be saved, and Protestants believe that faith alone is necessary.

Mmm...I'm too lazy to look it up right now, but I seem to remember that as a result of the joint Catholic-Lutheran talks that came out a few years ago, both groups publicly acknowledged that faith alone is necessary for salvation. You didn't directly reference the Lutherans, but that was a critical public statement that suggested that Catholics and Protestants aren't as far apart as is widely assumed on that issue.

But you're right...Kerry wasn't trying to start a theological conversation, but rather, to make an ethical point.
posted by ChrisTN at 10:38 PM on October 14, 2004


.Mmm...I'm too lazy to look it up right now, but I seem to remember that as a result of the joint Catholic-Lutheran talks that came out a few years ago, both groups publicly acknowledged that faith alone is necessary for salvation.

Um, WHOA. As a Cradle-Catholic who's involved in the Church, that is a bold statement to make. I don't mean on your part, but would have been on the Church's part. "Faith without works is dead" has been a very significant part of Church doctrine and I would be astounded to hear a reversal. So, yea, curious of you have any idea of a link for that (again, not because doubting you, but I find it very interesting).
posted by jmd82 at 11:04 PM on October 14, 2004


Looks like it's a sin to vote for Dubya. *crosses self*
posted by The God Complex at 11:14 PM on October 14, 2004


Wouldn't it make sense that when the economy sucks, you can't afford kids, and since this is the first president to lose jobs on his watch in our lifetimes, I wouldn't be surprised to hear abortions shot up.
posted by mathowie at 11:28 PM on October 14, 2004



Wouldn't it make sense that when the economy sucks, you can't afford kids, and since this is the first president to lose jobs on his watch in our lifetimes, I wouldn't be surprised to hear abortions shot up.


Forget just your lifetime: you might as well include your parents, too. It hasn't happened for seventy-two years (so during the great depression). But yeah, I think that's pretty much the point (no money = nobody wants to have kids).
posted by The God Complex at 11:30 PM on October 14, 2004


Well and the no condom thing too, absence education (although I don't subscribe to that thing personally)is fine as long as it is a PART of the whole. "Don't have sex, but if you do, use a condom/birth control."

So I guess Bush and Laura have had sex twice in their marriage eh? Now THAT would be an amusing debate question. Excuse me Mr. President how many times have you had sex with your wife, and if it is more than twice, what kind of birth control do you use? Removal? rhythm? .... hmmm I think I personally would pay $1,000 to hear that question asked of Bush, forget that arrest question.
posted by edgeways at 11:49 PM on October 14, 2004


>(no money = nobody wants to have kids).

Yeah, but we still fuck like drunken monkeys, its in our nature. Thus the whole "abstinence" solution is bunk. This the "war against condoms" is bunk too. It blows my mind that the right and the crazy religious want both abortions and condoms gone.
posted by skallas at 11:54 PM on October 14, 2004


Catholics believe that faith and good works are necessary to be saved, and Protestants believe that faith alone is necessary.

Except for, you know, the Protestants who believe that faith and good works are necessary to be saved.
posted by kindall at 11:54 PM on October 14, 2004


The Bush girls are twins - so it would be once, not twice.
posted by bashos_frog at 11:54 PM on October 14, 2004


>So I guess Bush and Laura have had sex twice in their marriage eh?

That's the whole problem, most of these abistence/anti-condom people are middle aged people with families who look back to their past and think, "wow, I did so much wrong. Jesus must hate me." No, in fact by learning how to attract a mate, develop sexual skills, social skills, etc they are actually learning the basics to build a family, build confidence, attract better mates, etc. The hypocrisy is pretty evident: I had a right to fuck around and have a good time, but you don't.

Its very much the mentality of the old to think that the problems of youth can be so easily solved. Or that youth behavior is a problem in itself.
posted by skallas at 11:58 PM on October 14, 2004


please note that the number of childbirths decreased from 2000 to 2002.
posted by woil at 12:11 AM on October 15, 2004


Huh??!! Where are the facts? This is some kind of online journal that is reporting this. It claims it got its stats from the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life using the Guttmacher Institute's studies. Maybe this study is out there, but why not link to it? Where is this study? We must take their word on it? I tried to Google this study without success....maybe someone else could find it for me....meanwhile I found this on the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life's website: A July 1 report by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows the state’s reported abortion numbers have dropped.

To do a Seth impersonation, this is pure Op-Ed Filter; one link to a blog-type entry that doesn't back up its claim satisfactoraly. Not only that, but the FPP hyperboles the issue.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:00 AM on October 15, 2004


The author of that article seem to basically have said – Here are some factors that could explain the phenomenon; I believe them to be true; also, it follows that they are true. Quite a leap of faith (hah!) is needed to accept that inference to the best explanation. In fact I have no reason to believe that it actually is the best explanation.

So I guess Bush and Laura have had sex twice in their marriage eh?

Well that certainly doesn’t follow – they could have had sex plenty of times, never used contraception, but simply failed to conceive. Plus, even if they have remained consistent with their beliefs, asking as to which method they have used to achieve this would be a rude and inappropriate question to ask anyone.

Most of these abistence/anti-condom people are middle aged people with families who look back to their past and think, "wow, I did so much wrong. Jesus must hate me."

Well, something of an appeal to motives there – whatever their motivations for holding their opinions, those opinions could be true regardless. Besides, is your belief that this is the motivation for “most of them” actually based on anything tangible?
posted by ed\26h at 2:48 AM on October 15, 2004


how faith without deeds is nothing ... I and my brother were pretty astonished that Kerry used this peculiarly Catholic point in the debate

not exactly peculiarly, but I get your point, poor Luther had a little beef with all that -- "justification by faith" is very interesting but it can be a bitch to argue at length

let's see what James (2:14-26) has to say about that:


14What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[2] is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder! 20Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"-- and he was called a friend of God. 24You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.


in another chapter, James argues that


22But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25


and grouchy Paul stays, ahem, "on message" as the well:

1Corinthians 13
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil;
6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth;
7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;
10 but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.
13 But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.


And the greatest of these is love. which, come to think about it, goes well with these surprising bit from that sweet, gloomy Kierkegaard:

"There was one who was great by virtue of his power, and one who was great by virtue of his hope, and one who was great by virtue of his love, but Abraham was the greatest of all, great by that power whose strength is powerlessness, great by that wisdom which is foolishness, great by that hope whose form is madness, great by the love that is hatred to oneself."


love as faith in action, in the world. the basileia tou theou here on earth, since we're apparently waiting for parousia. I may be as Pelagian as the next guy, but really there's nothing peculiarly Catholic about that, nor it should be.
posted by matteo at 3:04 AM on October 15, 2004


Seth SpaceCadet,

It's a letter to Sojourners, a Christian journal geared toward Social Gospel types. I tried to find the MCCFL data online as well, but I don't think it is available online. All the reports from the Guttmacher Institute (from whence the MCCFL got their data) are online, though, if you want to fact-check the letter's author.
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:33 AM on October 15, 2004


I tried to find the MCCFL data online as well, but I don't think it is available online.

eustacescrubb, why did you word your FPP in such a stark way, given the shaky ground from which you are getting your information from? I still couldn't find this information from the Guttmacher website.
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:44 AM on October 15, 2004


I don't really think I worded it badly - the link text is true if the information in the letter is true, and the remaining text is just a summary of the main point. But then I believed the letter. Sojourners has a good reputation for reliability, and the letter's author, Dr. Stassen, ( faculty at Fuller; PhD from Duke ) - doesn't seem like the kind of guy to fudge the numbers.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:04 AM on October 15, 2004


Um, WHOA. As a Cradle-Catholic who's involved in the Church, that is a bold statement to make. I don't mean on your part, but would have been on the Church's part. "Faith without works is dead" has been a very significant part of Church doctrine and I would be astounded to hear a reversal.

jmd82: It's not a reversal, so much as a clarification, I think. Like I was trying to point out above, "faith without works is dead" is, in theory, something that all Christians would share, based on our common scriptures. This new Catholic-Lutheran dialogue seems to have spelled out a common understanding that justification ("salvation," essentially) comes through faith alone, but that good works are the necessary result of true faith. Here's a news clip from October 1999 (from the Catholic diocese of Gaylord), and this *may* be the final document, or at least a proposal toward the final document.
posted by ChrisTN at 4:51 AM on October 15, 2004


The linked article in topic slightly disturbed me. The author and his wife decided NOT to end her pregnancy even if she contracted Rubella during the 8th week of pregnancy. A related article in Wiki talks about Congenital
Rubella Syndrome
describing the risks of malformation for the fetus.

Given that the author has training in statistics one would expect him to look for statistic related to miscarriages/fetus malformation and related problem...he probably had tons of data, I managed to find one australian study in a quick nobrainer google search.

It appers that, at least for the data show in that study, out of 24 childrens born with congenital rubella, 5 showed no defect even if they were congenitally infected. The remaining 19 showed more then 1 defect ..and we're speaking about very serious life-changing defects.Which leads to a temporary conclusion, that the kid is likely to be born with debilitating defects.

In this situation, we have 2 parents that are "playing poker" knowing that there is a significant risk for the kid ; obviously it was not their choice to enter the game, nonetheless they are into it and there's no way out . At some moment in time I guess they decided to have the child (or was that an external imposition by some idea of God not wanting an abortion ?) and the result is a blind and severely handicapped human being they call a "blessing".

Personally that sends a shiver down my spine ; all of this could have been prevented..tons of internalized suffering of the child, tons of the parent. Hopefully I'll not find myself in the same situation, but I surely wouldn't want any priest, God, physician or governer restricting my or my wife choices.
posted by elpapacito at 5:35 AM on October 15, 2004


Morford's column: As Oprah Slaps Bush ... This is, after all, what so many women don't seem to know. That the Bush administration has already, in just a few short years, managed to roll back a truly astounding number of their basic rights, making it more difficult, for example, for doctors to perform abortions, or making it illegal for schools to discuss contraception or for hospitals to discuss pregnancy-termination options.

From demeaning and ineffectual abstinence-only programs to biased counseling to cutting all funding for international women's health organizations that provide care to poor women in third-world nations (hell, Bush hacked that one away in his first month in office), Dubya has done more than any president in the last 100 years to smack women upside their sexually empowered heads.

Oh and by the way, that suggestion currently being floated by some in the GOP that the Iraq war has become so nasty and desperate that we might very well need to reinstate the military draft? That draft includes young women. And oh yes, Bush has already upheld the ban on abortions for servicewomen stationed overseas, even if they were raped, even if they pay for it themselves. Feeling patriotic yet?

This has been the GOP's message to women since, well, forever: Be like Laura Bush -- submissive, matronly, heavily shellacked and ever flashing a disquieting mannequin grin, off in the corner ...

posted by amberglow at 5:44 AM on October 15, 2004


I wouldn't want to bring a kid into the world these days, either. Money's not even the issue, although I haven't got much extra cash lying around for diapers and baby food. The planet is clearly on a handcart to hell, and I wouldn't want to bet that things aren't going to get significantly worse in my, let alone my kid's, lifetime.

/just my pessimistic two cents. Feel free to procreate as you see fit.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:16 AM on October 15, 2004


I don't really think I worded it badly - the link text is true if the information in the letter is true, and the remaining text is just a summary of the main point. But then I believed the letter. Sojourners has a good reputation for reliability, and the letter's author, Dr. Stassen, ( faculty at Fuller; PhD from Duke ) - doesn't seem like the kind of guy to fudge the numbers.

Doesn't matter....nobody can just state statistics on the web without backing them up with at least a link to the stats themselves. I don't care if someone has a PhD - it doesn't mean they don't have an agenda.
posted by SpaceCadet at 6:28 AM on October 15, 2004


What does this tell us? Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative.

That, or we need a return to a more pro-plo chop white house. More plo chops = less babies. (or does it? one for AskMe perhaps)
posted by biffa at 6:41 AM on October 15, 2004


You guys are all missing the obvious explanation:

BUSH INHERITED the growing abortion trend for the Clinton Administration!

Duh.
posted by wfrgms at 7:05 AM on October 15, 2004


I tried to find the MCCFL data online as well, but I don't think it is available online.

I still couldn't find this information from the Guttmacher website.


If you read the blog posting carefully, you'll see that you're looking at the wrong place for the stats. The MCCFL and Guttmacher references were in regards to the decreasing trend until 2000 when Bush took office. And that's quite easy to find on the Guttmacher site.

The blogger specifically says " I found three states that have posted multi-year statistics through 2003", which means he has looked at the State Dept. of Health sites for this information. A quick Google search brought up the stats for Michigan and Pennsylvania (PDF).

I agree that it would have been nice for him to provide references, but come on, it's a blog not a scientific journal...
posted by tuxster at 7:55 AM on October 15, 2004


Well, I've asked this before and maybe this time I will get an answer: Can someone please explain to me why so many people, including President Bush, have said, "Abortions should be illegal except in case of rape or incest"?

Although I do not agree with them, I can understand and even empathize with those who feel that abortion is murder-- therefore it should be illegal. But why would you then say that it is OK to murder the child of a rapist, it is OK to terminate the life of a child of incest?

I can think of only two reasons for saying this.

1. Withholding abortion is a punishment for a woman
willing engaging in..gasp!...sex. If a woman doesn't have sex willingly, then she doesn't have to bear the consequences. I call this the "Paying the Piper" reasoning.

2. It is purely a political stance meant to get more votes, soften a hard line, a way of compromising. Yes, abortion is murder, but murder is OK sometimes. I call this the "It is OK to murder some babies if more babies are saved" reasoning.

Strange, though, with all this compromising George Bush never says, "Abortion should be illegal except when the mother's life is in danger." Guess that is why the Partial Birth Abortion Bill is being struck down by the courts.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:08 AM on October 15, 2004


elpapacito: The story about deciding to have the child in spite of the mother having Rubella is there precisely to estblish that the writer is pro-life. The writer, an ethicist at Fuller Theological Seminary, apparently does believe that God wanted them to have the baby.

SpaceCadet, the article is a letter to a print magazine - the author named his sources, but they don't have hyperlinks in print. You seem to be bugged because to check on them, you're actually going to have to go to library. The internets are making you lazy!

you'll see that you're looking at the wrong place for the stats.

tuxster, I realized that on my way to work.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:02 AM on October 15, 2004


eustacescrubb, your FPP does not clearly point this out. You turn an unsubstantiated claim into a bold fact which makes up your FPP.
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:40 AM on October 15, 2004


So I guess Bush and Laura have had sex twice in their marriage eh?
I know he isn't Catholic, but the Chuch also supports Natural Family Planning as a viable method to have sex and have kids (it consists of women keeping track of their periods and avoid having sex during the time pregnancy would occur). I think the teaching is a load of crap, but it's still out there.

This new Catholic-Lutheran dialogue seems to have spelled out a common understanding that justification ("salvation," essentially) comes through faith alone, but that good works are the necessary result of true faith.

I see your point better now. However, the main point of Catholic's "faith without works" mantra is the "Altar Call" that some Protestants profess to, ie, being Saved at that one moment is time (assuming you really did have faith at that moment in time) is not just enough- rather, it takes a continued effort throughout life, which I would agree should come as a reult of faith.
posted by jmd82 at 10:24 AM on October 15, 2004


SpaceCadet, we disagree that the information is unsubstantiated, is the thing. The author named his sources. I accept "Old media" citations. You want hyperlinks rather than having to go to a library. Not sure there's much we can do here except agree to disagree.
posted by eustacescrubb at 11:27 AM on October 15, 2004


I have to say, eustacescrubb, that this would have been a better FPP if you had said "Professor opines in letter to Christian journal that abortions increased...etc." rather then posting the link as though it were a point of information from a recently released comprehensive demographic study.

However, I thought the opinion itself was well-written and thought-provoking. So I'm delighted with the content of your FPP, even though I was a little impatient with the form.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:33 AM on October 15, 2004


Can someone please explain to me why so many people, including President Bush, have said, "Abortions should be illegal except in case of rape or incest"?

The answer is very simple: It's a sop to the moderates they're trying to woo to their side. Moderates accept that the prevention of abortion is not an absolute good, when balanced against another life.

Which is to say that moderates, to put it into code that Evangelicals would use with one another, arrogate the will of God unto themselves.

You can see this in lots of places. Look, for example, to the fact that the "partial birth abortion" ban is eternally lacking in exceptions for the health of the woman who actually has to bear the child. That could be plain misogyny, but I don't think that's sufficient.

Another analogy. Many of us who know fundamentalists will recognize a sort of theme, whereby young fundamentalists kids refuse to use any kind of birth control when having sex before marriage. The (usually unspoken) idea is that you're mitigating your sin by placing your fate into the hands of God.

I tried to answer this before and crashed Firefox doing it...God must not want me to post this....
posted by lodurr at 12:29 PM on October 15, 2004


Can someone please explain to me why so many people, including President Bush, have said, "Abortions should be illegal except in case of rape or incest"?

I think there can be nuanced opinions regarding abortion. The far right really sees fetuses as little children and considers it murder. But there are moderate conservatives who think of it as a lesser kind of murder - as perhaps animal rights activists might consider the death of an animal - wrong if it can be avoided, but in desperate situations acceptable.

Then there are those who believe it should be a choice, but still not one taken lightly, and who would personally if not legally condemn anyone who had an abortion without sufficient soul searching, considering it to end something like a life, at least. And there are even those who think it's really not that big a deal - a fertilized egg, a potentiality, but like that time you almost went to that concert (or whatever) the regretfulness you might feel is only because of what you might have gained, not because of any actual death of a living thing. In other words, you're mourning the death of one possible life you might have had, the one where you had this child - but it's no more tragic than that you chose not to go to grad school or move to london; there's no actual death (of consciousness or experience) involved.
posted by mdn at 1:10 PM on October 15, 2004


""Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Jesus Christ, from Matthew 7:15-23
posted by troutfishing at 9:00 AM on October 16, 2004


« Older TFT KO'd by TSG in IPD   |   Y2Y Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments