Abortion Weirdness

Of all the political issues that separate Democrats from Republicans, few make the GOP look wackier than the discussion about abortion. The specifics in a moment.

First, let’s get the terminology right.

The battle over abortion is divided into two camps: pro-choice and anti-choice. No Democrat should ever use the term “pro-life.” Everyone is pro-life. Those who want to mandate what a woman can do inside her own body are “anti-choice.”

Next, let’s accept the fact that unintended pregnancies will always be with us. No contraception method is 100% effective, and not everyone uses contraception regularly and correctly.  As a result, studies show that an astonishing 4 in 10 pregnancies are unintended.

Children whose births were unintended are (from Wikipedia, with links to sources):

  • likely to be less mentally and physically healthy during childhood,[11]
  • at higher risk of child abuse and neglect,[1][12]
  • less likely to succeed in school,[13]
  • more likely to live in poverty,[13]
  • more likely to need public assistance,[13]
  • more likely to have delinquent and criminal behavior.[13)

Pretty depressing, don’t you think?

The solution, of course, is to provide women (and men) with practical sex education, make contraception affordable and easily obtainable, and, as a last resort, make abortion services, as Bill Clinton used to say, “safe, legal, and rare.”

Now here’s the wacky part: the GOP is not only against abortions, they also want to reduce or eliminate the laws and agencies that help prevent unintended pregnancies. What could be dumber?

Mitt Romney and most of the GOP proudly proclaim they would eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. Why? Isn’t preventing unintended pregnancies – which is the main purpose of Planned Parenthood – the smartest way to prevent abortions?

Romney also says he would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. He says abortion is a “states’ rights” issue. That is frightening nonsense. (The last time we heard about “states’ rights” was during the fight against segregation.)  Can you imagine 50 states debating a woman’s right to choose?  At best, it would take many years to resolve and hundreds of thousands of women would be forced to bear children they don’t want!

Women of means will always be able to get abortions, so outlawing them drives the less wealthy to take desperate measures. In the days prior to Roe vs. Wade, thousands of women suffered injury or death when they put themselves in the hands of “back street butchers,” or tried to induce the abortion themselves.

Perhaps worst of all, Republicans don’t care about fetuses after they are born (aka children). Their mantra is that we are a nation of individualists. “You’re on your own, kid. Too bad about being born into a low-income family with five other kids. You should have thought of that before being born. Good luck getting medical care, dental checkups, or a nutritious meal at school.”

The best that can be said about the GOP on this issue is that they are pro-birth. It’s the Democrats who fight to give women a choice about abortion, and to give children of unintended pregnancies a good life. Democrats, by that yardstick, are the true pro-lifeparty.

Thanks for caring about the truth.

Ken