Legal restriction of abortion doesn't change the rate

shesulsa

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I've been saying this for years.

Those of you who've been members here back to '04 who have read my opinions on abortion laws know that this is a big bone of contention for me. You've read my writings of my opinion that abortions have been happening since females have been getting pregnant and will continue to happen for as long as females will be getting pregnant regardless of legality.

Well, folks ... Gilda Sedgh has gathered data on abortions in Africa, America, Asia and Europe and guess what??

The legal status of abortion has never dissuaded women and couples, who, for whatever reason, seek to end pregnancy, Beth Fredrick of the International Womens Health Coalition in the U.S. said in an accompanying commentary.

Maternal mortality
Abortion accounts for 13 percent of maternal mortality worldwide. About 70,000 women die every year from unsafe abortions. An additional 5 million women suffer permanent or temporary injury.


The continuing high incidence of unsafe abortion in developing countries represents a public health crisis and a human rights atrocity, Fredrick wrote.


The number of worldwide abortions has dipped from about 46 million in 1995 to just under 42 million in 2003. But there was no change in the rate of unsafe abortions; nearly half the procedures are still performed illegally in potentially dangerous conditions.

Read for yourselves.
 

Cruentus

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I am morally against abortion, but I agree with your point on this, Shesulsa. That, and my fairly libritarian views when it comes to civil liberties makes it impossible for me to support making abortion illegal.

The problem is that the data you present won't disuade the hard core "right to lifers." The reason is ironic in a way, but my take on it is that they basically feel that if someone dies from a decision to "kill a baby" (as they believe that is what abortion is) then so be it. I think that they would rather have the consequences for abortion to be severe.

So to them, the data you present is a plus, in a demented sort of way.

Just helping you get into their heads....

C.
 
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shesulsa

shesulsa

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I want to be clear - I'm not a huge fan of abortion either.

What I cannot morally ignore this particular issue - that females - COUPLES even - around the world are unified in their desire to control their reproductive lives. As long as we know how to control reproduction and fail to provide information regarding effective contraception and try to deny that we are copulous beings and pretend that saying "no" is the panacea for all STDs and unwanted pregnancies, we will have millions of unwanted or risky pregnancies.

Let's look at that statistic for just a moment ... millions. Of children. Unwanted. Unhealthy (most likely).

Let's all - regardless of our feelings about abortion - drink that in for a moment. There is not a photograph of one million children - I doubt it could be done.

What would the impact be?? How many of them would contract disease? How many would be abused or murdered after birth? How many would starve? How many would be shuffled through an inefficient - nay, broken - system into the resulting life of accepted poverty, potential crime and drug use?

Just some thoughts to consider. And I *really* hope we can all talk about this rationally. It is such an emotionally charged issue. There is an article by the Lancet about minimizing the need for abortion but I think it's for paid subscription viewing only - will see what I can do about that.
 

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This doesn't surprise me at all. Many things have been outlawed over the years that are - or should be - moral rather than legal issues, and the rate at which the activities have occurred does not change unless and until the societal attitude changes, rather than legal strictures.

With abortion in particular, the moral component is tied up with religious and cultural attitudes; religions object to abortion on moral grounds, because of religious injunctions to "be fruitful and multiply", as well as strictures against murder, and in religions with beliefs in the evolution of the soul, abortion is considered to prevent such evolution. Cultural attitudes can vary widely, and are often tied in with religious objections; in addition to those, cultures which value the birth of one gender over the other (generally boys over girls) have a much higher rate of abortion for the other gender, regardless of existing laws (religious or otherwise).

Poverty in developing countries also leads to abortion - as difficult as abortions are to afford from some very poor families, the children who have already survived infancy must be fed so they can provide for their parents' old age - but contraception is seen as infringing on a man's manhood - a strong, masculine man engenders many children, and contraception prevents that; abortion, on the other hand, does not reflect on a man's ability to sire children.

Other cultural and religious attitudes also affect abortion rates, regardless of the legality of abortion in that area, as can be seen by some of the comments here:

Most devout Hindus object to the practice of abortion. Although you will not find them in Pro-life marches (reproduction is a private issue), they do not practice abortion unless the mother's health is threatened and all other avenues have been explored.
The following excerpt is taken from a book on Hinduism called Dancing With Siva written by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, a member of the Parliament of the World's Religions and a leading authority on contemporary Hinduism: abortion: The deliberate termination of pregnancy. From the earliest times, Hindu tradition and scriptures condemn the practice, except when the mother's life is in danger. It is considered an act against rita and ahimsa. Hindu mysticism teaches that the fetus is a living, conscious person, needing and deserving protection (a Rig Vedic hymn [7.36.9, RvP, 2469] begs for protection of fetuses). The Kaushitaki Upanishad (3.1 UpR, 774) describes abortion as equivalent to killing one's parents.

<snip>

...most poor women in India have very little voice in their own families and may feel pressured to make such a horrible choice to allow her girl babies to die, or to abort them before birth. Girl babies are seen as a burden, but this attitude has only come about in modern times (the last 500 years or so).
Judaism, in contrast, has always allowed abortion if the life of the mother was in danger - although "allowed" and "encouraged" are two different things; "be fruitful and multiply" applies to Jews as well as Christians - but remember, as you read this, that these laws were written at a time (4000 years ago) when an infant that survived birth without a mother would likely die, but a mother who survived childbirth with a dead infant could potentially have more children - and given the infant mortality rate at the time, a live adult was worth more, culturally, than a live infant - in addition, the fetus was considered to be part of the mother's body until the head was fully extruded during birth, rather than a separate entity; at least, that's the way it was explained to me by a rabbi some years ago in an adult education course I took at the synagogue I belonged to at the time. Here is some of the interpretation of Talmudic discussion about this issue:

To begin to make his case, Feldman points out that there is no Commandment reading "Thou shalt not kill": rather, the Commandment reads "Thou shalt not murder." In Judaism (and elsewhere, of course) killing in self-defense is allowed. There are a number of categories of allowable killing in self-defense - including the category "of rodef, the aggressor, who may be killed if that is the only way to stop his pursuit or aggression of a third party." The Talmud considers treating the fetus as a rodef - specifically, "an aggressor against its mother, and making that the reason why abortion to save the mother's life is permitted." But
the Talmud proceeds to reject that reasoning on the obvious grounds that the fetus is not yet of responsible age to deliberately forfeit its protection against being murdered [i.e., by consciously choosing to act as an aggressor, and thereby loosing its protection against killing]. The only valid grounds for permitting even therapeutic abortion is that murder is not involved because the fetus is not yet a human person [ftn. 1: Sanhedrin 72b: David Feldman Birth Control in Jewish Law (New York: New York University Press, 1968), chaps. 14 and 15.] Killing is admittedly involved, but not murder. Killing is the taking of life of, say, an animal or a chicken, or of a human who forfeits his protection by an act of aggression. (81)
<snip>
the abortion question in talmudic law revolves around the legal status of the embryo. For this the Talmud has a phrase, ubbar yerekh immo, which phrase is a counterpart of the Latin pars viscerum matris. That is, the fetus is deemed "a part of its mother," rather than an independent entity. This designation says nothing about the morality of abortion; rather, it defines ownership, for example, in the case of an embryo found in a purchased animal. As intrinsic to its mother's body, it belongs to the buyer. In the religious conversion of a pregnant woman, her unborn child is automatically included and requires no further ceremony. Nor does it have power of acquisition; gifts made on its behalf are not binding. These and similar points mean only that the fetus has no "juridical personality," but say nothing about the right of abortion. This turns rather on whether feticide is or is not homicide. (81-82)
Other religions have different viewpoints, often based on the conditions at the time the religious laws were written - involving, to a large degree, cultural attitudes toward procreation and contraception. Cultures that were more free about sexual activity tended, in general, to be more free about contraception as well - not always, but often.

Socioeconomic factors enter into this as well - if you cannot afford to raise a child, and contraception is forbidden or unavailable for whatever reason, abortion may be the only possible choice - or at least the only available one. In the past, families had many children because they were needed to work, to support the family - and because disease and accident claimed so many before adulthood. As that changes in developing countries, the population skyrockets - as it did in the US in the last century - until the cultural attitudes toward family size change, if they ever do. And again, religious values about procreation continue to play a role here as well.

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not a big fan of abortion, especially in cases where contraception is easily available and affordable, as I see a significant moral difference between preventing conception and ending conception once it has occurred.

However, I do think that the decision about whether to continue or end a pregnancy should be up to the people personally involved - not to people who think it is wrong, no matter what, who talk women out of abortions, throw them a baby shower and then leave them on their own to raise unwanted children; I see too of those many kids where I teach middle school to believe that such actions are in the best interest of the child (or the parent, for that matter). Either commit to raising the child(ren) whose abortion(s) you just prevented, or butt out - I find anything else to be morally irresponsible.
 

Cruentus

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ILet's look at that statistic for just a moment ... millions. Of children. Unwanted. Unhealthy (most likely).

Let's all - regardless of our feelings about abortion - drink that in for a moment. There is not a photograph of one million children - I doubt it could be done.

I think that if we took any impoverished or unhealthy child and asked him if it would be O.K. to just kill him right now because his life is worthless, I don't think that child would be O.K. with that.

Obviously that is very figurative as no one here is going to do that and find out the results. But the point is, I think that if given the choice between living with problems or not living at all, I would think that in most cases, they would rather live.

So from my perspective, I am not about to defend abortion as a viable choice. However, I do in fact realize that the choice is not mine to make. And I think that is where people have difficulty in bagging their ego's and realizing that ultimatily, it is not your choice to make for other people. Even if you are able to make it illegal, the choice still falls in the hands of the mother.

So to me, I'd rather fight things like poverty and the lack of availability of birth control in 3rd world countires. If mothers have the ability to take care of children, and if birth control and education is available in countries that fight epidemics like aids and unwanted children, the mothers will be less likely to choose abortion.

To me, that is a real, pragmatic way to reduce abortion. I would rather advocate for that, rather then simply making abortion illegal, which as the data shows does not fundamentally work.
 
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shesulsa

shesulsa

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Well, here's a talking point about abortion/pregnancy prevention and education.

Here, in the US of A, my daughter who attends public school is now in 9th grade. She knows of 8 girls who have had abortions and goes to school with over 30 pregnant teens - at least 5 in her grade. She goes to a high school known as "Grandma High." She is a card-carrying member of the Abstinence Till Marriage club. She has learned what HIV is, she has learned of two of the four bodily fluids which we currently believe to carry and transmit the virus, she knows how you get pregnant ... but believes (because this is what she was taught) that condoms don't work, that dental dams don't work, that latex protection are not effective in transmission of HIV, nor are they effective methods of birth control.

She also doesn't know what nonoxynol-9 is - not only the most effective OTC and safe-for-use spermicide on the market but the ONLY spermicide on the market known to kill the human immunodeficiency virus.

I only brought the AIDS factor in because barrier contraception also prevents AIDS and other STDs which HAVE to be taken into consideration in developing countries.

So is there, Cruentus, in your mind, any such thing as a "therapeutic abortion?" And if so, what in your opinion would conditions be mandated?
 

Cruentus

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So is there, Cruentus, in your mind, any such thing as a "therapeutic abortion?" And if so, what in your opinion would conditions be mandated?

Yes, I think "therapeutic abortion," [as defined as an abortion because the mothers health is at risk or the fetus has a terminal illness] is definatily viable.

As far as conditions mandated? They shouldn't be mandated, in my opinion.

In other words, it's not for the government or medical community to mandate. As I said before, I think that ultimatily this is the decision that the mother has to make with her family. It's an especially tough one when the fetus has a terminal illness, or the mothers health/life is at risk. Because this decision is so tough and personal, I think that is at the very least unfair for the government or the medical community to make the decision for people in these circumstances.

As to my personal belief regarding abortion, subjectivly my belief is that people have 'souls.' My personal subjective belief is that when an egg is fertalized, it becomes a being with a soul, of whom it is the mothers responsibility to protect, as that soul/baby is completely dependent on the mother. Even if I felt (which for the record, I don't) that I could support legislation based on a subjective spiritual belief that is not rooted in fact or science, how could I morally support legislating such a difficult, case specific, and subjective decision on another person? I personally just couldn't do it.

As to education and your daughters circumstance, I think that is too bad that teens in this era would buy into myth's like "condoms don't work" and so forth. That is the kind of thing that we really need to fight against.

C.
 

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I think that you should have to go infront of a judge, and if you can prove to his/her satsifaction that you should have an abortion, you can have an abortion. There are times where I think morally, it is wrong to make a woman carry a child to term, such as in incest, rape, a strung out mother, and so on. There are other times where it could be a bad idea, such as with a teen mother (obviously she shouldn't be having sex, but is it really worth probably ruining her life and her childs life?).

Now, if you in your 20's, and simply decide that you 'aren't ready', well, too bad scooter.
 

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A couple of decades ago, for a short time, I lived with a woman who was a few years older than me. Earlier in her life, she had terminated a pregnancy. After that abortion, she was unable to conceive.

In hindsight, when we were together she was pretty self-destructive, and I think the results of that terminated pregnancy were probably a significant contributor to her behaviors.

I believe these decisions are best dealt with by a woman, and her doctor.
 

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I want to be clear - I'm not a huge fan of abortion either.

I think this is a really important point. Nobody WANTS abortions. An abortion is a terrible thing, and the fewer the better, and with proper education, unwanted/accidental pregnancies should be avoided and not need to be terminated.

That being said, life ain't perfect and abortion should remain a safe option if necessary.

I think sometimes the pro-life group tries to paint a picture of pro-choicers actually WANTING to have abortions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nobody WANTS to go thru it. But sometimes it's the best option under the circumstances.
 

Big Don

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I think this is a really important point. Nobody WANTS abortions.
The founder of Planned Parenthood would disagree:
http://thinkexist.com/quotation/we-are-failing-to-segregate-morons-who-are/1190272.html
and
Women of the working class, especially wage workers, should not have more than two children at most. The average working man can support no more and and the average working woman can take care of no more in decent fashion.
and
http://www.dianedew.com/sanger.htm

The purpose in promoting birth control was "to create a race of thoroughbreds," she wrote in the Birth Control Review, Nov. 1921 (p. 2)
Other leaders of Planned Parenthood had similar views:
"We are not going to be an organization promoting celibacy or chastity." Faye Wattleton, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 17, 1986
(celibacy and chastity being two 100% effective ways not to become a parent...)

 

Makalakumu

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The founder of Planned Parenthood would disagree:
http://thinkexist.com/quotation/we-are-failing-to-segregate-morons-who-are/1190272.html
and

and
http://www.dianedew.com/sanger.htm

The purpose in promoting birth control was "to create a race of thoroughbreds," she wrote in the Birth Control Review, Nov. 1921 (p. 2)
Other leaders of Planned Parenthood had similar views:
"We are not going to be an organization promoting celibacy or chastity." Faye Wattleton, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 17, 1986
(celibacy and chastity being two 100% effective ways not to become a parent...)

BD, looks like you posted a dirty little secret...Planned Parenthood started as a Eugenics program.

Not that I'm against people having abortions, I just find this little fact VERY interesting.
 

Flying Crane

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The founder of Planned Parenthood would disagree:
http://thinkexist.com/quotation/we-are-failing-to-segregate-morons-who-are/1190272.html
and

and
http://www.dianedew.com/sanger.htm

The purpose in promoting birth control was "to create a race of thoroughbreds," she wrote in the Birth Control Review, Nov. 1921 (p. 2)
Other leaders of Planned Parenthood had similar views:
"We are not going to be an organization promoting celibacy or chastity." Faye Wattleton, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 17, 1986
(celibacy and chastity being two 100% effective ways not to become a parent...)

ah, well, not knowing much about these details, I guess I ought to qualify my comment a bit. Nobody who is reasonable wants abortions. I suspect that few people today would actually take the position that they WANT to have abortions. But of course the World does have its share of wack-jobs...
 

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So did a lot of people. But before you get out the Hitler brush to paint her and Planned Parenthood with remember a couple things. She was also arrested for giving birth control information to White Middle Class Protestant Americans. Eugenics was certainly part of her belief system at the beginning. It wasn't within a few years, and certainly not by the time that she died. The "Margaret Sanger and Hitler" crowd, on the other hand, have been telling distortions, slander and out and out lies about her from the word go and haven't stopped (e.g Operation Rescue, National Right to Life, Life Dynamics, etc.). No, she did not support genocide. No, Planned Parenthood and the other birth control activists didn't support the Nazis. No way. No how. No doubt.

If you look back at the controversies of the day a lot of the early feminists' opponents were also against women voting, Negro suffrage, organized labor and pacifists. In short, doctrines of ethnic superiority were a feature of the times. Sanger wanted to extend the status of self-willed full human being to women. The Conservatives of the day did not. And they have not stopped their opposition. The women's rights and birth control proponents have embraced a wider and more comprehensive view of human rights. The Full Quiver Christians, the Catholic League, the Republican Party, the AFF, Focus on the Family and all of Comstock's inbred hateful bastard children are still stuck at around 1913.
 

Big Don

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The thing about eugenics is it is rarely discussed. The most famous proponent of eugenics is KHAN NOONIAN SINGH. That ought to scare ya...
 

Makalakumu

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So did a lot of people. But before you get out the Hitler brush to paint her and Planned Parenthood with remember a couple things. She was also arrested for giving birth control information to White Middle Class Protestant Americans. Eugenics was certainly part of her belief system at the beginning. It wasn't within a few years, and certainly not by the time that she died. The "Margaret Sanger and Hitler" crowd, on the other hand, have been telling distortions, slander and out and out lies about her from the word go and haven't stopped (e.g Operation Rescue, National Right to Life, Life Dynamics, etc.). No, she did not support genocide. No, Planned Parenthood and the other birth control activists didn't support the Nazis. No way. No how. No doubt.

If you look back at the controversies of the day a lot of the early feminists' opponents were also against women voting, Negro suffrage, organized labor and pacifists. In short, doctrines of ethnic superiority were a feature of the times. Sanger wanted to extend the status of self-willed full human being to women. The Conservatives of the day did not. And they have not stopped their opposition. The women's rights and birth control proponents have embraced a wider and more comprehensive view of human rights. The Full Quiver Christians, the Catholic League, the Republican Party, the AFF, Focus on the Family and all of Comstock's inbred hateful bastard children are still stuck at around 1913.

Once again, great post. People who try and paint PP as a bunch of Nazis seem to forget that the Nazis stole most of their Eugenics ideas from us. Back in these times, the US's Eugenics program was very advanced and supported by the highest echelons of the government. Both positive (birth control) and negative (euthenasia) measures were promoted.

The funny thing is that if you go back far enough, you'll find some very strange bedfellows. For example, one of the major contributors to starting PP was none other then Prescott Bush, W's grandfather...
 

Kreth

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What's always mystified me is that many of these hardcore RTL activists are men. :idunno:
 

Cruentus

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Once again, great post. People who try and paint PP as a bunch of Nazis seem to forget that the Nazis stole most of their Eugenics ideas from us. Back in these times, the US's Eugenics program was very advanced and supported by the highest echelons of the government. Both positive (birth control) and negative (euthenasia) measures were promoted.

The funny thing is that if you go back far enough, you'll find some very strange bedfellows. For example, one of the major contributors to starting PP was none other then Prescott Bush, W's grandfather...

Evidence please?
 

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What's always mystified me is that many of these hardcore RTL activists are men. :idunno:

well, I think that's one of the big gripes that many of the pro-choice women have. They feel that until men start getting pregnant and dealing with all the issues that go along with that and childbirth, they really have no grounds to tell the women what to do and how to do it. I think they have a good point...
 

Big Don

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well, I think that's one of the big gripes that many of the pro-choice women have. They feel that until men start getting pregnant and dealing with all the issues that go along with that and childbirth, they really have no grounds to tell the women what to do and how to do it. I think they have a good point...
Being a pro-life man, it has ALWAYS been my opinion that the question isn't about choice, it is, whether or not it is permissible to end a life that one person finds inconvenient. No one opposes abortion when the mother's life is genuinely at risk. Sadly, far too many abortions are issues of convenience not life or death for the mother. Believing in personal responsibility also means believing one must take the proper precautions in every part of life.
 

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