“Can one vote for Romney if it means a 6 or 7 or, God forbid, 8 percent increase in the number of abortions in America? If it means ANY increase in the abortion rate? If it means thousands of new deaths among the unborn?”

Steve Schneck’s argument at a Democrats for Life Panel in Charlotte are lighting up the right-wing Catholic blogosphere.   Schneck’s explosive argument is that policies for the poor affect the abortion rate.  Cuts to Medicaid and the ACA will increase abortions.

“The most powerful abortifacient in America is poverty.”

“The abortion rate is 300% higher below the poverty line. More than 3 out of 4 women who choose abortions cite economic reasons for their decision. Examples from other countries around the globe have demonstrated that effective social programs and health care for the poor correlate with much lower incidence of abortion.”

Schneck casts much needed light on how abortion functions as a political issue.  Over the years, I’ve spoken with many committed and knowledgeable Prolife activists, who can recount and critique the various strategy and policy positions the movement has made.  They know the issues and the political tradeoffs.  (It’s encouraging to see similar reflection in some of the comments on the CatholicVote site referenced above.) But for so much of our politics, it’s simply a moral posture.  “Prolife” Republicans have been in power repeatedly since 1980 and have spent virtually no political capital on policies that address abortion in significant numbers.  It’s a posture that need have no relationship to outcomes.

Schneck forces us to think about outcomes. He catalogues the proposed policies of Romney and Ryan that will cut coverage for poor pregnant women:

They will rescind the Affordable Care Act – including its $250 M pregnancy assistance fund “to help at-risk women have their babies,” it’s tripling the level of the adoption credit, it’s funding for Community Health Centers. 

Above all though, their proposals for Medicaid will have a grave impact on the abortion rate.  Medicaid currently pays for 1/3rd of all births.  Romney and Ryan’s budget will cut Medicaid by 29% in the next four years and 40% in the next ten.  Proportionately, that means more than 13% of all current births will no longer be paid for.

What will poor women do?  Schneck states the obvious, “Pregnancies are expensive. The medical costs of newborns are expensive. An abortion by contrast costs hardly anything at all.”

As I’ve argued before, focusing on supporting women’s choices to have a child is a place where Prolife and Prochoice folk can work together.  I've been amazed at how the conversation changes when you move to discussing the real pressures and constraints women face with unplanned pregnancies and what we as a society can and must do to help them.

Schneck’s argument is dangerous to those who want to use abortion as a moral shibboleth.  If abortion is a real policy issue about women and children, the calculus becomes much more difficult.  Moving from checking the right box (in time for one’s candidacy) to arguing about outcomes can only be a win for the Prolife movement. 

 

*corrected misquote of Schneck's numbers

Comments

Tim O'Leary | 9/8/2012 - 12:35pm
William # 28
You offer only another excuse. Why is it that you want to end capital punishment for murderers but not capital punishment for the unborn children? Let's end all forms of capital punishment! Then add up the total lives saved.

Earlier, you made the statement that we cannot legislate morality. But, we do it all the time. Is it not immoral to discriminate, to buy child pornography, to kill someone, to steal, to bear false witness?

Law also has a teaching value. A law that prosecutes a physician for performing an abortion for the sole reason a fetus was a female might save only a few thousand lives in the USA, but it would impact the worldwide practice that kills more women each year than all the atheistic tyrants of the 20th century. But the Democrats won't even give that much.
Tim O'Leary | 9/7/2012 - 4:29pm
Amy #6
You're always on about fat ugly frumpy ignorant people, whether they be the poor Haitian women in your congregation, or the older clergy, committing the mortal sin of having uncool unsexy bodies. And you called someone a jerk for mispelling a name! You have also recently claimed that you as devout as anyone in Boston. Is Boston that bad?

To be Christian is to want salvation for people of all ages, the very young and the very old, the men as well as the women, the rich as well as the poor, the jerks like you as well as the nice cool people, the stingy limosine liberals that want to give away other people's money and those who are actually generous with their own resources.

Pro-life people do care for humans of all ages, and do support many charitable causes  - more than the big government types with their tiny charitable contributions. We want to eliminate poverty by making people independent, not by eliminating the poor people by killing them. We believe in a preferential option for the poor (esp. the poorest of the poor, which includes the pre-born), just not a preferential option for the state.
Anne Chapman | 9/7/2012 - 4:28pm
Typo correction in #9, in response to #5 by Mr. Gaitley. The sentence beginning '' insurance exchanges for individuals not covered through an employee plan, ..... should read ''Individuals  not covered through an employee plan, and also  some small businesses (with fewer than 100 employees) will be able to buy their own insurance through 'insurance exchanges' that will be set up by states (these are mandated) to provide access to insurance''. 
Tim O'Leary | 9/7/2012 - 4:11pm
Unbelievable! Schneck makes the claim that Romney and Ryan’s budget will cut Medicaid by 29% in the next four years and 40% in the next ten. Sounds very specific. But, where does he get these figures from? Not from the Ryan budget. These are nefarious assumptions put together by the openly pro-abortion outfits (like the NYT). Here is Ryan’s actual 99-page document (http://paulryan.house.gov/uploadedfiles/pathtoprosperity2013.pdf). Medicaid is discussed in the Safety Net section on pages 37-42. Medicaid began in 1966 with a budget of $400M. It grew 1000-fold to $400B today. So, Medicaid is great at multiplying the number of poor dependents. It is projected by CBO to grow to $800B in 10 years. Ryan converts the federal component to block grants to the states, indexed for inflation and population, and caps the grants to the $800B (for 2023). While I think it is an amazing anti-women slur that a mother will kill her child for financial reasons, if that were the case, what might happen if the country goes bankrupt or the recession limps along endlessly?
If Romney gets elected he will do several things quickly that will impact abortion killings: 1) He will rescind the Mexico City Policy that Obama put in place on his first day that permits foreign aid to pay for abortion of poor foreigners; 2) He will stop the Obamacare payments for abortifacients and remove the coercion on Catholic organizations to cover abortifacients; 3) He will permit Catholic agencies to work with poor immigrants against human trafficking (remember that this admin stopped gving grnats to the Catholic agencies because they wanted only contracepting groups to do it); 4) He will not veto a ban on sex-selection abortions. The current bill, which passed the House a few weeks ago (even though 7 Republicans and 161 Democrats voted against it – the barbarians!) will get a vote in the Senate (if the Republicans pick up only a few Senate seats). Note that this is the real (meaning direct actual, not indirect) War on Women – a war on women in the womb (www). So, we can have very high confidence that a vote for Obama is a death warrant for many children over the next 4 years, at home and abroad.
The liberal journalist (for Science), Mara Hvistendahl, estimated in her book “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men addresses” that at least 160 million girls have been eliminated in this way in her book. What tragic irony that the radical feminists at Planned Parenthood are more responsible for killing females than all the tyrants of the twentieth century put together? The womb is now the most dangerous place for girls in the whole world.
Anne Chapman | 9/7/2012 - 4:10pm
The real causal connection is not between poverty and abortion, it's between sex and abortion, but you know that.  ... since the well-to-do, including the Catholic middle class, procure abortions at the same rate as everyone else.  

Actually, this is not accurate. Those with income below the poverty line get abortions at a higher rate than those whose incomes are higher.  While it is true that those in the Catholic middle class get abortions at about the same rate on average as others in the population, the rate among women - and among Catholic women - is higher for black and Hispanic Catholics than white Catholics.  As you know, far more blacks and Hispanics in America have incomes below the poverty line than is the case with white Americans.

The US Census Dept reports in its 2012 Statistical Abstract that the abortion rate/1000 women in 2007 - the most recently reported figures - was 13.8 for all white women, but it was 26.0 for Hispanic whites and 10.0 for non-Hispanic white women. The abortions for 1000 women of all races was 19.5, for black women it was 48.2.  

To ignore the reality of the lives of poor women facing a pregnancy when they are having trouble keeping themselves and other family members fed and with some kind of leaky roof over their heads is to willfully refuse to look at how abortions might be reduced if the economic deprivations that lead some women to choose it are mitigated.  It is far better to deal with reality than fantasize about a world where poor women won't have sex.  It is also better to just accept that it is unlikely that the US will ban abortions any time soon, if ever. The best we can hope for is to limit the time window and make ''partial birth'' abortion illegal everywhere.  The majority of voters believe that abortion in the first six months or so should remain legal, even those who call themselves ''pro-life''. Banning abortion does not eliminate it, as history shows. It simply drives it underground.  Only by facing reality can there be an attempt to fashion real-world solutions.

Also, can you please specifically point out (chapter and verse, so to speak) where the Affordable Health Care act mandates coverage by insurance companies for abortions. This charge is frequently made but seldom do those who make this claim provide specific citations  to support it. insurance exchanges for individuals not covered through an employee plan, and also to some small businesses (with fewer than 100 employees) will be able to buy their own insurance through ''insurance exchanges'' that will be set up by states (these are mandated) to provide access to insurance.

''Plans that meet certain qualifications can sell to individuals and small businesses in the health insurance exchange. ...  these plans must cover the essential package of benefits,...They can cover benefits that are outside the essential benefit package, as well, but with two caveats: 1) if they cover abortion services, they must collect separate premium checks for that coverage and cannot use any premium tax credits or other federal funding for those services; and 2) if they are required under state law to cover services beyond the essential benefit package, states will pay any additional costs for those benefits for exchange enrollees. [See law text in Appendix 2, below]'' Source: National Conference of State Legislatures
JIM MCCREA | 9/7/2012 - 4:04pm
Amy:  Mencken said it best:    "Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."
Thomas Rooney OFS | 9/7/2012 - 3:39pm
HEY AMY!!!!!

I like Tolkein... :)
Amy Ho-Ohn | 9/7/2012 - 3:25pm
It is also worth noting that, while initiatives like the Massachusetts health insurance program, do seem to correlate with a declining abortion rate, there is no evidence at all that criminalization of abortion reduces its incidence. Nor is there any a priori reason to believe it would. Criminization of drugs has not stopped people from buying, selling and consuming drugs. Criminalization of prostitution does not seem to effectively prevent people from buying and selling sex.

It is a little bit suspicious that our dear, intentional, "pro-life" brethren always seem so uninterested in saving non-fetal lives. Mosquito netting, polio vaccinations, and water filteration for developing countries? They yawn. Gun control? Over their dead bodies! Medical research? Eeek, too much big, scary, nanny-state government.

So what is the push for criminalization really about? Is it just an excuse to lock up low-income, unemployed minority women? (For some reason, our dear "pro-life" brethren always seem to like things that result in locking up more low-income, unemployed, minority people.)

It couldn't just be that a bunch of fat, ugly, theoretically celibate bishops and frumpy, pious, post-menopausal Church ladies and brainless, unmarriagable, EWTN-and-Tolkein fanboys are furiously irate that hot young women are having a lot of great sex, could it?
Vincent Gaitley | 9/7/2012 - 3:08pm
Ms. Chapman,

The real causal connection is not between poverty and abortion, it's between sex and abortion, but you know that.  I lament every abortion, but I know it won't change much since the well-to-do, including the Catholic middle class, procure abortions at the same rate as everyone else.  Not all social ills are caused by poverty, although I lament the poor too.  

Short of appointing a majority of pro-life Supreme Court Justices, Republicans and like-minded Democrats (like the late Robert Casey of Pa) are limited in effectiveness in reducing abortions or their legality because Roe v Wade doesn't merely permit abortion, it creates an unemumerated substantive due process constitutional right to abortion. Thus the legal impass may only be broken by a case reversal or constitutional amendment. The Hyde amendment prohibited taxes to pay for abortion.  The Obamacare bill mandates that insurers may not limit coverage regarding reproductive care and access.  This means birth control pills and abortions will be covered.  Ms Sandra Fluke complained to Congress because she attends a Catholic university and was worried that the former exceptions permitting religious institutions to opt out would continue. So yes, as things are now, the bill causes the mandated insurance coverage (called a tax by the Chief Justice) to cover abortion.

As for the remark about bishops, well, we are in agreement there.  I blog responses routinely on America, and sometimes get letters published in print.  Anyone who has read those knows that I have demanded the firing of all the current bishops in the US seated before or during the scandal.  They have ruined the Church, harmed children, young adults, and misappropriated funds.  For their sins, they will be forgiven; for their malfeasance, they must be replaced.   
Anne Chapman | 9/7/2012 - 2:18pm
#3 - Vincent, do you think that abortion rates would fall if the numbers of women in poverty fell dramatically? There is a very powerful correlation between poverty and abortion rates. Trying to reduce poverty seems to be a no-brainer as far as trying to reduce the abortion rate goes.

Can you tell us specifically where in the Affordable Care Act it states that people will be forced to pay for abortions in the future through their taxes?  

History shows that denouncing abortion goes no farther with most Republican politicians than rhetoric. Even when the White House was Republican and both houses of Congress had Republican majorities, not much happened. So, perhaps it's better to look at doing something about the reasons women get abortions, rather than depend on politicians to actually DO something.

You also said ''One bad bishop is far more dangerous to the unborn than two politicians.''

Given the staggering and continuing revelations of the breadth and depth of the sexual abuse of the young by priests in this church, who gained access to far more victims than they should have because bishops chose to protect sexual perverts and an institution instead of kids, it seems that ''bad'' bishops are also far more dangerous to young people already born than are any two politicians. 
Vincent Gaitley | 9/7/2012 - 1:31pm
There is no merit to this assertion.  Abortions are stable at about 1.2 million per year, and have been for a while.  Politics is tough enough these days without adding to the perversity of topsy-turvy thinking with more Orwellian language or postulations.  What causes abortion?  Having one.  What would increase that? Forcing taxpayers to pay for them.

It is quite unfair to prosecute Paul Ryan because he is a politically conservative Catholic; it is also quite unfair to praise Joe Biden because he is a politically liberal Catholic. 

Worry more about the fact that yesterday, a Catholic bishop was convicted of a crime.  That damages the Church, her mission, the faithful far more than either of the politicians.  And if the Bishop's conviction causes some to turn from God, denounce the faith, diminish the Church teaching on abortion, then that too will indirectly add to the aborted dead.  One bad bishop is far more dangerous to the unborn than two politicians.  
Terrence Tilley | 9/7/2012 - 12:43pm
There are some real confusions among those who write on abortion. One key one is confusing conditions and choices. Choosing or not choosing to have an abortiion is one thing, an individual choice. To be subject to conditions like poverty that shape one's choice is another. No doubt about it: poor women as a group are more likely to choose individually to have an abortion. So given that criminalizing all or even most abortions is unlikely in a nation as divided as ours, should one vote for the candidate who will ameliorate the conditions which constrain people to choose abortion over childbirth or the candidate who will exacerbate those conditions? The answer is, whatever the rhetoric may be, obvious.

As many have noted, the "pro-life" politicians have done little to reduce the number of abortions in the past. It often seems that they take anti-abortion positions in order to cultivate the votes of social conservatives - votes which wind up having little or no effect on social policy, but find tremendous support for fiscal policies which degrade the poor and disempower the middle class.

Should we believe and? ?v?o?t?e? ?f?o?r? those who talk a good game but do nothing ?w?h?e?n? ?e?l?e?c?t?e?d? or those whose commitment is to do something that makes the conditions for supporting life from womb to tomb better for the poor and middle class? Isn't the answer obvious? 
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Thomas Rooney OFS | 9/7/2012 - 12:17pm
An interesting insight, one I think deems some thought.

A candidate sinks or swims as viable for a Catholic to vote for based on his/her STATED position on abortion.  What if the candidate claims pro-life, but is doing so to exploit it as a wedge issue and indeed intends to do little/nothing about it once elected?  What if a candidate is pro-choice but the results of policies enacted on behalf of the poor reduce the number of abortions?

Which candidate are we as Catholics "obligated" to vote for? 
Andrew Eppink | 9/11/2012 - 6:09pm
In reply to Thos. Rooney (#v 1) I'd think it obvious that a candidate who doesn't substantially oppose abortion once elected isn't prolife in any essential way, in any way at all really. Talk is cheap, meaning little. Actions count.  What is that but simple commonsense? Politics is so smary, so disgustingly, typically devoid of character and substance that most of the schemes proposed by most of its practitioners can be rejected out of hand. Most pols, 'judges' etc. will say whatever they think people are dumb enough to buy, which is considerable, unfortunately. Thus the only thing to be considered re abortion is practical effectiveness in annilhating it, and I don't think that's social programs, which, while sometimes regrettably necessary, are tryically shot through with corruption and inefficiency, aspects usually associated w Dems and libs, tho Reps are no angels either.
One way or another the scourge of abortion must be excised from the society. It's an obvious, catastrophic evil which is utterly, obviously, destroying our nation.
Tom Maher | 9/10/2012 - 1:16pm
Winifred Holloway # 40

History shows the United States had continuous decades of sharp  political conflicts over the insttuion of slavery that finally reerupted into a Civil War which milititarily resolved the conflict over the moral question of slavery.  Don't underestimate the power of moral questions to severly  impact society for centuries.  The moral question over slavery was is it moral for society (not just a person) to allow human beings to be owned as property?  YThis moral question proved to be politcally desatbiliszing and unresolvable and poisonous to our politcal system.  Society sharply separated on this basic moral question issue decades before the Civil War.  And world history is full of wars over moral and religous issues.  

It is time to realize before the institution of abortion gains unstoppable  destructive politcal and legal strengh with the help of the Democratic party that abortions must not  be allowed to become freely available by governemnt funding.   Government funding of abortions like governemnt legal support for slavery is a poison to the Amerian politcal system is a politcal developemnt that must be stopped.
Tim O'Leary | 9/10/2012 - 12:11pm
Winifred #40
There is no slavery in preventing a woman from killing her child, just as there is no legitimate property right to buy and sell slaves. We are obligated not to harm the defenseless.

From the many blogger posts on this supposedly Catholic site, it does seem that many are not really pro-life in any practical aspect. So, it may be pointless to carry on this argument further.

The current abortion right of absolute choice could only make a modicum of moral sense (in a highly libertarian and non-communitarian way) if one subscribed to the completely unscientific and un-Christian view that a human miraculously appears once the umbilical cord is cut, but beforehand the offspring is just a piece of tissue or some sub-human animal ''owned'' by the woman. But, even then, they should be against killing those who survive an abortion on the cold metal table. But, I don't think I hear of anyone even wanting that.

It is amazing to me that none of the so-called feminist women on this blog show any concern for the sex-selection abortions that have wiped out so many little girls since the development of ultrasound. But, maybe their view is that they are not female until the umbilical cord is cut. And this is from the side that touts their scientific acumen.
F Jackson | 9/10/2012 - 11:03am
Abortion has always occured and always will occur. The right or wrong of the issue does not change this fact. If those seeking an abortion are once again sent to a backwoods cabin or back-alley second floor "clinic" then women are going to die, children are going to  be orphaned, and fathers are going to be single parents. Those  outcomes are also wrong if their cause is known and allowed to happen.
Winifred Holloway | 9/10/2012 - 9:14am
Mr. O'Leary and Mr. Maher,,,,I would suggest that the slavery analogy is more apt for the woman.  Slaves had no control over their lives and bodies, being owned by masters.  A woman in your argument also should not be granted control of her own life or body.  The coercion argument that Mr. Lindsey advances is compelling.  Pro-life advocates can use persuasion to discourage abortion, changing hearts and minds.  Outlawing abortion will not make it go away.  It will just make it dangerous for the woman seeking one.
Stanley Kopacz | 9/10/2012 - 7:21am
With a majority of five republican-appointed justices in the Supreme Court, why is abortion still legal?
Tom Maher | 9/10/2012 - 1:20am
Tim O'Lleary # 37

Thanks for your very apt historic comparisons.  LIke slavery abortion is an insitution with establish legal rights which like slavery seeks to gain further power and priveledges in society by spreading.   and spread.  Much of the political friction we have today is over the attempt by the abortion industry and advocates to promote new abortion rights such as providing free abortions a duty of the statel   For example for the first time the 2012 Democratic party platform called for the federal funding of abortion.  This is the poltical basis for "abortion on demand" as public policy. Presently abortion is  funded by the federal government i forign aid programs.  If people paid carful attention to the helath care debate of 2009 - 2010 their wwere numerous Democratic politicians calling for abortion on demand to be part of the health care bill.  This can become a reality in the near future by the action of the Secretary of Health and Human Service recognizing abortions a health care.

Dr. Schneck knows full well the greatest danger of increasing abortions nationwide across all democraphic groups is the implemeation of the new 2012  Democratic party platform calling for federal fuinding of abortions.   Politically powerful pro-abortion groups are promotioing free abortions as right and obligation of the governement to fund.  This is platform is part of powerful and well organized politcal movement within the Democratic party to make the United States governemnt fund free abortions on right demand as a unitversal right.  As wiith slavery government support and promiotion of the insistuion of abortion as a right and funding abortions is the ultmate threat to increasing abortions toi worry about. and must be prevented. 
Tim O'Leary | 9/9/2012 - 9:50pm
William #30 and Winifred #34
The law is only one component of the pro-life movement, as the private prolife organizations (of Birthright, Project Rachel, adoption agencies, etc.) and many child support services in every diocese attest to. And we must support these agencies and increase their influence and resources through charity. But, when one side is killing people, it is our duty to also follow the legislative route, as best we can, and as prudently as we can. And there has been substantial political success, as Martin #32 said.

You probably know that the majority of pro-life movement people are women and middle-class. If Democrats who believe abortion is truly wrong joined our side, then the Republicans would be able to get real reforms enacted. But, every time an opponent of abortion votes for a pro-abortion politician, for whatever reason, they are enabling the evil practice to persist.

The Republican Party was founded in the 1850s by a coalition of 1) abolitionists, 2) whigs (those who were motivated mostly by economic issues but who also opposed slavery and the slave states on economic grounds, and 3) a middle 'accommodationist' group called the free soilers, who wanted to gradually reduce slavery by limiting its spread to new states. The Republicans in their first party platform also opposed the new polygamy as both a form of female servitude and an attack on the family structure.

Democrats today resemble the Democrats in the 1840-1850s. Many in the party agreed that slavery was wrong but they objected to any significant laws restricting its practice, as the slaveholders were key political allies. They hated the abolitionists the most (as they were motivated by religious zeal). The Democrat newspapers in the North and South attacked the Republicans for being moral zealots, trying to impose their morality on the slaveholders and polygamists.

So, 150 years later, the Republicans are composed of a similar coalition, and the Democrats are again attacking the family structure and trying to withhold human rights for a subset of the human race. The abortion advocates want you to focus on the economic issues and waste your prolife vote. Please stop the excuses.


J Cosgrove | 9/9/2012 - 8:44pm
''The GOP policies that dramatically reduce help to the poor or access to health care have a direct correlation to an increase in abortion.  Listne to the good sisters.''


But from what I understand there is no dramatic reduction in help to the poor or health care in the GOP budgets.  From what I understand the level of expenditures for these programs are quite generous compared to that stingy skinflint, Bill Clinton who bragged that the nation couldn't be stronger when he left office when his support for these programs were much lower than what Paul Ryan is proposing.  


If that is the case and I have not seen anyone say otherwise with actual numbers, then what does that say about the ''good sisters'' or Mr. Schneck or Mr. Miller.  People like to spout off and that is ok within reason but not when they make denigrating accusation against individuals with out good justification.  And on this blog it is often implying that the ones they are denigrating are not as good Catholics or good human beings as they are.


What is at stake here has nothing to do with abortions or helping the poor.  If that was the case the discussion would take a completely different directions in all the OP's.  What seems to be at stake here is a political and economic philosophy that must be preserved and the poor be damned. 
Bill Freeman | 9/9/2012 - 7:10pm
@JR - The GOP policies that dramatically reduce help to the poor or access to health care have a direct correlation to an increase in abortion.  Listne to the good sisters.
Winifred Holloway | 9/9/2012 - 5:19pm
I second William Lindsey's intelligent comments.  Screaming bumper sticker theology across the divide does nothing but stoke the fires over this complicated issue of abortion.  What is  this argument about anyway?  Is it really about preserving and supporting a tender and compassionate approach to nascent life or has it become just about winning yet another culture battle in the conservative/liberal war of world views?   How about we as church push the bishops to offer a concrete pro-life action.  What about day care for the babies of parents who don't have the income (or free family help) to acquire decent and responsible care for their children.  That seems a worthy task to take on.  Yes, I know there is some of this already and has been for many years.  But the need is great.  And it is source of anxiety for parents who cannot afford care for their children.  My grandchildren are well taken care of by nannies and excellent day care providers.  But the parents have 6 figure incomes.  What do other parents do?  It's so easy and cheap to natter on about protecting the most vulnerable among us.  We do not put our money where our constantly moving mouths are.  Why not take day care on as a project for parishes and dioceses.  Ask for donations from parishioners, enlist big donors, pretend we're trying to  support our favorite Catholic college's football team.  Make it big.  Talk it up.  Stay with it. Do not accept failure.  Let's take care of the babies and toddlers who are here.  Maybe that example will prevent a potential mother from terminating her pregnancy.  All of this would be hard.  And not nearly, for some folks, as emotionally satisfying as sticking it to the other side.
Tom Maher | 9/9/2012 - 2:01am
Dr. Schneck has several conflicts of interests.  He is at the same time an official of President Obama re-election effort, a Democrtic party political activist and as a academic at Catholic Univesity an advocate of national public policy from a Catholc perspective.    .  These three different roles for three different organizations are in conflict with one another.  Dr. Schneck attempts to do the impossible - serve three different interests at the same time.  How is it possible to advocate the re-election of President Obama whom has had during his enter politcal life a 100% NARAL approval, A Democratic party that as of 2012 has put in its platform the government funding of abortion - abortion on demand and also credibly advocate ideas that he claims will advance the right to life?  He can not serve two or more masters. 

Dr. Schneck in the last feew motnth has attacked personal morals of promient Republicans such as House Speaker Boehner and House Budget director and now vice President nominee Paul ryan for their advocacy of fiscal reform of an out of control federal budget which requires the nation to barrow more than a trillion dollars each year and threatens national bankruptcy.  Government fiscal refroms are extremely valid and urgently needed concerns.  But Dr. Schneck attacks Boehner and Ryan for addressing these concerns.  Which role is Dr. Schneck in when he attacks these people and their reform plans?  Is it Dr. Schneck the promoter4 of Obma re-election among Catholcs, Dr. Schneck the Democratic activist or Dr. Scheneck the advocate of supposedly Catholic public policy.  Is it good for Catholics to bankrupt the nations by spending trillions of dollars it does not have and can not raise?  Dr. Schneck can not reliably  account for what really is Catholic public policy, what is good Democratic public policy and what is good Presidential re-election public policy.  Which interests are Dr. Schneck  serving and when and how well?  Dr. Schneck's pro-life advocacies are not validi and can not be trusted because they are hghhly compromised and political.
Martin Gallagher | 9/8/2012 - 9:42pm
William Lindsey wrote, "The pro-life movement has spectacularly failed..." 

No it hasn't.   It is succeeding.    It was the conventional wisdom in 1973 that the issue of legalized abortion was settled.   However, in 2012, a greater percentage of people (including many more 20s, 30s) self-identified as pro-life.  Pro-life legislation is being passed at the state level and being upheld by the courts. 

You are right, though, that the moral development has to be internalized within the people and cannot be simply imposed through legislation.  However, how can we have a leader who denies it is the responsibility of the government to do its best to protect the lives of the unborn, who funds the largest abortion provider in the US, and who does not think that we should even save the life of a baby who survived abortion and was born alive?

 
J Cosgrove | 9/8/2012 - 3:17pm
Will someone please explain to me what policies favored by the Republican party leads to more abortions.  I know of none.
William Lindsey | 9/8/2012 - 2:07pm
Tim, I fear you're still missing my point when I say we can't legislate morality.  I am certainly not denying that law has a moral force in prevening or forbidding certain actions.

What I'm saying is that law, in and of itself, doesn't inculcate morality.  The inculcation of moral viewpoints requires something far beyond coercion of any kind at all.  It requires something far beyond shouting simplistic slogans at one another across battle lines, and identifying the other side as evil (and my side and myself as holy and good).

I grew up in the American South during the Civil Rights struggle.  I welcomed the imposition of federal laws that finally forced the Southern states to relinquish legal segregation.  

At the same time, I have never been under the deluded impression that those laws in and of themselves inculcated the moral insights among many of us in the South that lead to actions to eradicate racial injustice.  The process of moral tutelage is something altogether different than imposing laws that forbid this behavior or that.  Getting people to see and respect moral points of view requires moral reasoning (and, I'd argue, dialogue that dispenses with the attempt to coerce, bash, and identify the other side as evil).

Everything you can say to bash the Democrats, I can say back to you to bash the Republicans.  To me, it seems supremely self-evident that if we want to diminish abortions (and I do definitely want that), we need to work for social and economic justice.  It also seems supremely obvious to me that the policies of the Republican party for lo these many years now doesn't move in that direction.

So I'm baffled that any pro-life Catholic would vote for a party whose social and economic policies are designed to produce conditions that will undoubetedly make abortions proliferate-or, at the very least, make the choice of many women experiencing economic stress to have an abortion appear more attractive.

You see how far the sloganizing and shouting across lines drawn in the sand gets us?  Democrats bad, Republicans good.  God blesses Republicans, God curses Democrats.

Real Catholics vote Republican, bad Catholics vote Democratic.

Doesn't get us very far at all, in my view.  Because nothing about this sloganizing and shouting and attemp to bash and coerce has much at all to do with moral reasoning.

The pro-life movement has spectacularly failed and will continue to fail insofar as it makes its primary objective the attempt to eradicate abortion by changing laws.  It has spectacularly failed and will continue to fail insofar as it ignores the nexus of social and economic issues that have everything in the world to do with an ethic of life and with abortion.  It has failed and will continue to fail insofar as it deifies one party and demonizes the other.

In pursuing these agendas, it gives me and many other Catholics and Americans of good will who want to see life respected in all its manifestations the impression that it's never been about the protection or defense of life in the least.  It's about identifying some fellow human beings as human and using laws to bash them. 

That's not what building a moral society is about. 
William Lindsey | 9/8/2012 - 12:04pm
@Martin Gallagher: "We don't debate laws against murder because they might not reduce the incidence of homicide."

And conversely, it was argued for a long, long time (including by "pro-life" folks in religious communities) that laws permitting capital punishment protected life by deterirng crime.

Until we realized that these laws don't deter crime at all.  And that killing people to illustrate that killing people is wrong doesn't make much sense.

This seems to me to be the problem of the simplistic "moral" thinking of many folks who assume that they've done some moral thinking and made good moral choices simply because they have bought into a rather mindless slogan about which they don't think, though they shout the slog slogan loudly-protecting life is good.

While they keep empowering political leaders whose every effect on the quality of life and on abortion rates is precisely the opposite of what these "moral" thinkers claim to be promoting.

For my part, I wonder when Catholics who think that by supporting the Republican party they're voting pro-life will stop enabling the evil.
 
Martin Gallagher | 9/8/2012 - 11:10am
There's a larger philosophical issue here besides the speculation concerning how crimilization of abortion will affect abortion statistics.  A primary purpose of government is to protect the lives of its citizens.  We don't debate laws against murder because they might not reduce the incidence of homicide.  Any politician who does not realize that it is his/her responsibility to use the power of governemnt to protect the lives of all the citiziens - including the unborn - is simply not qualified to be in office. 
J Cosgrove | 9/8/2012 - 11:05am
''Simplistic moral thinking which refuses to listen carefully to any view other than our own, which tries coercively to stop the conversation when views other than ours are expressed, which equates our views (and ourselves) with God's will.  ''


Boy, it that does not sum up the the liberal Catholics amongst the authors and commenters here, I do not know what does.  They are a group that refuses to listen, labels those who don't agree with them as somehow morally inferior and lots of other things. Liberal Catholics have within their hands to end the abortion debate and make a sensible program part of the national discussion but instead they chase a false god.  A god that actually harms the ones they say they are trying to help.  Their pursuit of re-distributional economic policies have hurt the poor big time and when their policies fail they have the audacity to blame it on their opponents.


There are plenty of conservatives who would want to restrict abortion or end it but the issue is demagogued by the left and any attempt to do so would end up leaving their voting block too small to accomplish what they see as necessary for the well being of the country, namely a sound economic policy.  There are fiscal conservatives who very much want a different abortion discussion but know if they push for it they will lose those who want abortion but also want a sensible economic policy.  Someone said during the 2008 election cycle that libertarians control the election.  A large percentage of them are fiscally conservative and socially liberal especial on abortion.  To keep them in fiscally conservative voting block the other fiscal conservatives cannot make the abortion issue too big a deal.


The voting block against redistribution politics changed with Roe/Wade as a  re-distributional voting block joined the fiscal conservatives in the fight against abortion.  Namely, Southern evangelicals.  So at last there was enough votes to get sound economic policies to overcome the nonsense left over from the New Deal.  Along the way many of these evangelicals began to see that fiscal conservatism is the morally superior position so the Republicans are now made up of a much larger group that are both fiscally and culturally conservative.  But not enough to take on the abortion issue.  They need the libertarians who disdain the Southern evangelicals.  An interesting coalition.


Liberal Catholics if they saw the folly of their support of re-distributional economic policies and joined the conservatives could create a coalition that could push abortion reform, introduce sound economic policy and have intelligent discussions on just about every issue.  Instead they support policies that have actually harmed the ones they say they want to help.  It seems to me that do not want to help the poor but only frustrate those they do not agree with.  Such behavior is so obvious on this blot amongst the authors and commenters.   But I do not see it changing because the liberal Catholics are so self righteous that they cannot afford to even have a discussion but instead want to score rhetorical points or provide verbal put downs instead. 
Tim O'Leary | 9/8/2012 - 10:49am
Here is a very good 30-min interview of Dr. Schneck trying to defend his support of the re-election of Obama as a pro-life Catholic (http://www.ewtn.com/tv/live/worldover.asp). He deserves credit for coming on EWTN and seems a nice guy (even if he is too old to meet Amy’s definition of a cool sexy person) but just listen at his argument.

He is a Board member of Democrats for Life (which has no Democratic office holders at all, only ex-office holders!).

He concedes that the only abortion-policy reason that swings his endorsement to Obama is that he saw an analysis that the Ryan budget projects a 40% slower growth in Medicaid spending compared to Obama (which he always refers to as cuts - min 17). And he thinks that will increase abortion. But, this is his “prudential” judgment of the hypothetical indirect effect of a possible future budget (since the final details of a Romney budget will not necessarily be the full Ryan plan). He later on (min 23) concedes that budget details are not his strength. Weigh this against what he opposes about the Democratic Party.

He completely rejects (min 16 - “absolutely loathe” & “utterly opposes”) the DNC platform that “strongly and unequivocally” demands access to abortion for all women regardless of their ability to pay (so, taxpayers will have to pay for abortions for those who cannot afford it!)

He completely rejects what Obama did re the Mexico City Policy (min 20), he opposes the HHS mandate, he is completely against the Obama policy of giving $363M to Planned Parenthood and strongly regrets their prominent role in the Democratic Party (c. min 21).

A former member of “Catholics for Sibelius”, he now calls for her to resign from head of the HHS (min 32) because of her willful mishandling of the HHS mandate, which he calls a ‘stupid blunder” (min 33).

He also thinks “it was absolutely stupid for God not to be mentioned in the (DNC) platform” (min 13). He concedes the Nay vote was greater than the Yay vote, meaning the Convention committed a violation of their own rules as well as a gaffe. So, I guess it is not only god-less but undemocratic.

I wonder if those still in the Democratic Party who say they are pro-life are really honest with themselves? If you are, please stop enabling evil.
C Walter Mattingly | 9/8/2012 - 10:22am
Anne (#17), 
Thank you for the thoughtful response.
You are at the right report, but the wrong table, I think. One table gives the mulitiple responses women provided as any reasons that came into play for their abortion decision  Not surprisingly, here are several hundred responses, with dramatic change of lifestyle the most commonly chosen reason, can't afford a baby now closely behind, and not married the third most commoly chosen response. Table 3 provides the primary reason for an abortion, with 21 and 23% selecting can't afford the baby now in '87 and '04 respectively, and 27 and 25% selecting lifestyle change as the primary reason. Here's the reference, which you may already have:
 http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.html

I
 certainly did not want to imply that finances aren't a major factor here. I think any parent with a child is concerned about that, especially a poor single mother. But the point was if this primary factor were eliminated, 77-79% had abortions primarily for other reasons, and those reasons would remain along with the abortions.
Education covers a lot of that territory, including female gendercide (if that's a word). It's hard to make a living if you are denied an education, and the family knows that in advance. In the US inner cities, a major factor is whether or not your child has access to a school from which he is likely to graduate. Despite enormous increases in monies spent per student on education, the problem remains essentially stalled where it has been. Except that vouchers are proven to increase those chances in our inner city population. Given that the evidence that vouchers provide that improved chance, it is difficult to understand how one can ethically deny that choice to the inner city needy children and their parents. Graduating is proven to drastically reduce poverty and would likely also reduce abortions.

In the US, it seems we have little problem with women and education. The majority of those in college are female; I understand that some Ivy League schools are trying to figure out ethical and legal ways to increase the percentage of males attending.
How things change.

I have a different overview on the best way to address possibilities of change generally in the Church than you and some others likely have. It involves building a tradition, takes time, and would hopefully avoid the really troubling declines in membership the liberal protestant churches who have ushered in change rapidly are currently experiencing. Without getting too detailed, building a tradition would involve a gradual buildup from the ground up. Altar girls, women chancellors (begun here in the 1970's, I think), married priests, a female deaconate. We have gospels and tradition to draw from in the case of married priests. In the case of women and ordination, the foundation must come first.
William Lindsey | 9/8/2012 - 8:49am
Mr. O'Leary, I fear you missed my point.  You respond to what I wrote about prohibition by saying, "One must be prudent when legislating morality (like anti-discrimination, anti-fraud, abortion restrictions, gun control, access to pornography, etc.). There are negative effects with laws as well. But, we would certainly save hundreds of thousands of lives each year by introducing some serious restrictions on abortion."

But I ended my statement about prohibition by saying, "Trying to mandate morality by brute force or legal enforcement seems to me a losing enterprise, when it's folks' minds, hearts, and souls we're talking about as we talk about inculcating moral values."

My point is that legislating morality doesn't inculcate morality at all.  Inculcating morality requires something altogether different-something that reaches people's minds and hearts.

I find the coercive approach to diminishing abortions-coercive, as in seeking to criminalize abortion by legal means-falling far short of the goal of shifting moral awareness about this issue and other issues of life.  In fact, it could be argued that the reliance on coercion actually bespeaks a lack of serious moral reasoning about abortion on the part of those who stress coercion. 

As Mr. Miller says, the analysis of Stephen Shneck shifts the discussion of abortion to a "much more difficult calculus" than the one with which we end up when we simply tag abortion as evil and deify one political party as the party of God.  Not much moral thinking at all required to make those calculations.

And not much moral change inculcated in society at large when we imagine we and our cause represent the cause of God, and that morality is something so simple as cramming our views down our neighbors' throats by legislative action. As you yourself admit vis-a-vis prohibition, one ought to be prudent as one tries to "legislate" morality-and prohibition was a failed expermient in social engineering which clearly demonstrates this.

Ultimately, what I hear Shneck proposing is a kind of self-reflection that moves us far beyond the planes of simplisitc moral thinking that have been all too common among Catholics when we face the issue of abortion.  Simplistic moral thinking which refuses to listen carefully to any view other than our own, which tries coercively to stop the conversation when views other than ours are expressed, which equates our views (and ourselves) with God's will.  

We seem not to have accomplished a great deal with these methods, when it comes to inculcating respect for life in our culture.  Perhaps the approach of respectful dialogue which would involve self-reflection on our part, and the attempt to develop a more nuanced and less simplistic (and self-righteous) moral calculus would bear better fruit.
Amy Ho-Ohn | 9/8/2012 - 7:13am
Criminalization results in a drop in crime statistics, that's obvious; the question is whether it results in a decrease in the activity criminalized.

Prohibition resulted in fewer cases of cirrhosis because more alcoholics died of alcohol poisoning (and murder) before they could get liver disease. Anybody who thinks Americans smoke less pot than the Dutch is smoking something, or perhaps living in a very isolated bubble; Americans are just more reluctant to report using it.

Anti-discrimination laws have made public services fully accessible to minority people who can afford them. That is the sort of thing laws do effectively; govern easily-verifiable, public behavior. Whether they have reduced racism is questionable. They have done a good job of reducing the rate at which people are willing to express racist opinions to pollsters. They have done considerably less to change the tenor of jokes in locker rooms and at dinner parties.

If abortion is criminalized, officially recorded abortion rates will certainly go down. Rich women will go to Canada or California to have their abortions. Poor women will go to unlicensed facilities or buy dubiously-authentic Cytotec online. The rich women will come home and preach smugly at the parish donut hour about those depraved Californians with their sky-high abortion rates. Poor women will show up hemorraging in hospitals or dead in morgues and go into the statistics as "miscarriages" or "overdoses." No doubt, on EWTN, this will be accounted a great moral victory.

The social conservatives, in their desperate need to bully Romney into pretending to respect them, have almost certainly botched this election. Obama is going to win women by a huge margin and he'll win the Catholic vote too. Even the most pro-life Catholics, black and Hispanic Catholics, don't support the "pro-life" movement. For some reason, they just kind of suspect that if abortion is outlawed, a majority of the people locked up for having one will turn out to be black and Hispanic.
J Cosgrove | 9/8/2012 - 12:24am
There is a basic flaw in Mr. Miller's argument.  Let's assume he is correct and that abortion is mainly caused by poverty.  One that is doubtful but let's entertain it.  Then voting for Romney and Ryan is a vote against increased abortions, not for them.  Mr. Miller relies mainly on the Big Lie that seems to be the staple of many liberal websites including here at America, namely that the Ryan budget intends to decrease aid to the poor.


but what if the Romney and Ryan approach to the economy increases GDP, job growth and starts the country on the path to full employment, a situation that was mainly true in most years from the mid 1980's to 2006.  With increased GDP and job growth, poverty will decrease and there should according to Mr. Miller be less abortions and he can then thank Mr. Romney and Mr Ryan.  That is what Romney and Ryan are trying to do.  It may not happen as the future is always uncertain but the debate should be what is the best plan to grow the economy and not to use such specious arguments that the Republican budgets will lead to more abortions.  That is a fatuous statement.


If one wants to follow Mr. Miller's argument then as Clint Eastwood said, it is time to let Obama go because he didn't do the job.  Poverty increased significantly under Obama's presidency and following Mr. Miller's argument Obama has caused a lot more abortions.  Mr. Obama has no coherent plan to grow the economy which is the main thing that will create new jobs and reduce poverty.  So a vote for Obama in 2008 was a vote for more abortions and a vote for Obama in 2012 will be a vote for more aboritons, again using Mr. Miller's logic.


So I assume that Mr. Miller after careful reflection will come out and endorse the Romney/Ryan (R&R) ticket as a means to reduce abortions.  And it has the very nice side benefit of reducing the number of poor.  And by the way what is the budget for welfare that R&R are proposing compared to when there was full employment just a few years ago.  Is it actually much higher (I believe it is?)  So I assume Mr Miller would double down on his endorsement of R&R as a way to decrease the number of the poor, provide more than adequate help to the people remaining poor and cut abortions.  It is actually a tri-fecta.  So maybe he should triple down.
Tim O'Leary | 9/7/2012 - 10:30pm
One must be prudent when legislating morality (like anti-discrimination, anti-fraud, abortion restrictions, gun control, access to pornography, etc.). There are negative effects with laws as well. But, we would certainly save hundreds of thousands of lives each year by introducing some serious restrictions on abortion.

Regarding prohibition, while it did have many negative effects and I'm glad it was repealed, I learned in medical school that it did result in a substantial drop in alcohol use and in subsequent cirrhosis rates. Constitutional prohibition reduced cirrhosis by about 10-20 percent. Here's a reference I could find on the web. http://www.nber.org/papers/w9681

In most cases, there is a clear correlation between a legal prohibition and a reduction in the prohibited activity. So, it is not surprising that pot smoking is more common in the Netherlands than in other European countries where it is legally restricted or banned. Similarly, the abortion rates jumped up in the US after Roe v. Wade. Anti-discrimination laws may not end racism, but they do reduce it. A zero-tolerance legal policy on pedophilia has definitely reduced it. Laws also have a teaching effect. They tell people what it means to be civilized. That is why the anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany grew incrementally, to lull the populace into thinking part of the human family were not human - just as the pro-abortion 'choice'' fanatics are doing it today.

However, the Democrats are moving in the opposite direction. They want to subsidize it. They are more fanatical than the NRA on guns in blocking any even minor restriction. One thing that is certain is that subsidizing something increases its frequency.

Ed Gleason recently pointed out that anyone who excuses evil is an enabler of evil. So, a vote for an openly pro-abortion politician would be a good example of enabling evil. So, stop making excuses!
Crystal Watson | 9/7/2012 - 9:59pm
I agree with Amy and Anne.

I would cite  the WHO study that shows that countries that outlaw abortion actually have a higher rate of abortion than countries that do not, that access to contraception lowers the rate of abortion, and that outlawing abortion causes more women to die  ...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16618156

... but it seems almost pointless.  I'm coming to believe that pro-life people don't actually care about the facts surrounding abortion.  Perhaps what really outrages them is women daring to make their own decisions about their bodies.
Anne Chapman | 9/7/2012 - 7:39pm
#13. Some of the figures cited in previous posts aren't totally accurate (including in mine). According to the Centers for Disease Control, abortion is actually much lower than 1.2 million, with a total of 808,000 in 2008. That is the good news. Abortions are still going down. Unfortunately the govt stats probably won't be published for another year or two, and the recent studies that have been done are less reliable than Census or CDC reports. In general, poverty and abortion rates are correlated. But - although the overall abortion rate declined over the last 20 years, it rose at times among poor women.  Right now, there are no reliable figures to document the impact of the recession that started in 2008.

''..among white women, decreases in abortion rates were greater during 1999-2003 than during 2004-2008. Among black women, decreases during 1999-2003 did not continue during 2004-2008, and from 2007 to 2008, abortion rates increased. Abortion ratios decreased during 1999-2008 among women of all races, and these decreases occurred both during 1999-2003 and during 2004-2008. However, this trend reversed among black women from 2007 to 2008 when their abortion ratio increased.''  Source: CDC Abortion Surveillance System

Without the time right now to research the figures, I would guess that the 21% figure Walter quoted for economic factors being behind the decision to abort among the general universe of women is higher than 21% among those living below the poverty line. However, the 21% figure does not seem to be reliable.

Walter, it would be helpful if you would give a link for the Guttmacher study you quoted. The most recent study I found on their website was a 2005 study (pre-recession) that did not list single reasons such as 21% said unaffordability was why they chose to abort a pregnancy - according to the study on their website, the most common reasons cited (apparently more than one could be selected by responders) for an abortion were: ''....having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, workor ability to care for dependents (74%); that she could not afford a baby now (73%)''. Source: Guttmacher Institute.  

There is no quick or easy solution to problems that have impacted poor women in general, and especially poor black women in inner cities. I would be interested in hearing what those who oppose programs that try to help the poor suggest be done until these problems are solved - if they ever are.  There is a need for programs to give them the tools to move up to a more secure financial footing (which everyone is in favor of I assume), but they also need support right now and for many years to come. These problems are stubborn and efforts to solve them have been going on for decades without a lot to show for them.  It doesn't do much good to note that there the terrible conditions in the inner cities for black women and then just sit back and watch and hope that ''private'' charity can somehow overcome these dysfunctional systems. Denying that poverty is a significant factor in the abortion rates of poorer women is to be an ostrich.

I hope, Walter, that you will also reflect a bit on gender-selection globally. In many cases,maybe even most, poverty may play a role. Boys are more valued in many countries, and girls are seen as expensive luxuries that poor people can't afford. You might also reflect on the Catholic church's example - this church has officially defined teachings that women are inferior to men, and that women must be denied a sacrament because of their female DNA.  When the culture sees the Catholic church justifying discrimination against females (even though it does not support aborting females) why should others not do the same?  It's the same principle - the extremity of the applications of this principle are simply a matter of degree.
William Lindsey | 9/7/2012 - 6:12pm
Mr. Brooks, you write, "When something is illegal and thus less visible and harder to access, we're more inclined to avoid it."

I seem to recall that government-mandated prohibition laws were such a grand failure that they were eventually rescinded PRECISELY because they didn't in the least make people "more inclined to avoid" alcohol consumption.

As Herbert Asbury reports in his book "The Great Illusion: An Informal History of Prohibition," within a week after prohibition became law, portable stills went on sale all over the country.  Speakeasys abounded.  Bathtub gin was everywhere.  Smuggling of liquor across the Canadian border became a virtual business in border states.  California grape growers increased their production some 700% within five years of prohibition.

As my grandfather, who stoutly opposed prohibition, constantly argued, If people want to drink, they'll find a way to drink.  Prohibition only made buying and consuming liquor more dangerous for quite a few people.  It no more stopped the production, sale, and consumption of liquor than the dry-county laws in many Southern states have ever stopped people who live in those counties from obtaining liquor and drinking.  

In fact, in my home state of Arkansas, there's quite a bit of evidence that the consumption of alcohol is actually higher in dry counties than in wet ones-and that meth production and use have been astronomical in those same counties, as compared to wet counties. 

Trying to mandate morality by brute force or legal enforcement seems to me a losing enterprise, when it's folks' minds, hearts, and souls we're talking about as we talk about inculcating moral values. 
C Walter Mattingly | 9/7/2012 - 6:03pm
I also think that were it to be revisited by the court, there would ba an excellent chance of reversing Roe/Wade. The SC side-stepped the issue of the right to life of the child by observing that expert medical opinion was divided on the question of the life of the fetus, and that the court was in no position to make a determination on the life, and therefore the right to life, of the unborn.
A lot has happened since 1973, when scientists were warning us of the new Ice Age that would be upon us by the year 2000. Bioethicists who would argue the fetus is not a living human being are scarcer than climate scientists who would argue against man's role in global warming. And the general public is moving with this trend, as a recent poll said 41& polled self-identified as pro-choice, 50% as pro-life. Even Peter Singer, the world-renowed bioethical philosopher at Princeton, who not only favors elective abortion but also elective infanticide, said those who argue against the fetus as a living human being are resorting to "a convenient fiction." And Singer also believes the Roe/Wade decision was flawed and unjustified.
If somehow the SC would reexamining Roe/Wade, hundreds of thousands of lives yearly might be saved.
 
Mike Brooks | 9/7/2012 - 5:42pm
RE: Amy's anology of illegal abortion and illegal drugs and prostitution, consider the fact that the suicide rate in Oregon rose to 35% higher than the national average since assisted suicide was legalized there.

When something is illegal and thus less visible and harder to access, we're more inclined to avoid it. 
C Walter Mattingly | 9/7/2012 - 5:37pm
Anne (9),
Your point that abortions are far higher among black women, and especially poor black inner city women, is well taken. The discrpancy is so great that it is not far-fetched to say that there is a genocidal element to abortions in the US, just as there has existed a gendercidal element weighted against females in some Asian countries in their elective abortions. 
Yet there are some statistics which suggest that an increase in the poverty rate does not correlate well with an increase in abortions in the US. Specifically, the Obama administration has presided over a stunning increase in the poverty rate, from 12.5% in 2008 to over 15% in 2011, an increase of over 20% as a percentage of the population. Yet the number of abortions, which was 1.21 million in 2008, is now estimated to be that or slightly less in the most recently completed year. Since the population has grown over these years, we can conclude that while the poverty rate has skyrocketed since 2008, over the same period the abortion rate has declined slightly.
According to Guttmacher, women who list poverty (or unaffordability generally) as a primary reason for aborting their child represent 21% of all abortions in the US. Timing or spacing of children, not wishing to make the lifestyle sacrifice raising a child demands, and various other reasons make up the rest. About 3% list health of the mother, rape, or incest. 
So while poverty is a significant issue in abortion, almost 4/5ths of US abortions are motivated by other factors.Were not only poverty but financial difficulties eliminated as a cause, almost a million abortions a year would remain unaddressed. 
Yet poverty and abortion rates remain multiples higher among our inner city black population. And there is a proven correlation between poverty there and many of the social ills that afflict this demographic group. Importantly there is no better predictor of poverty among inner city African Americans than failure to graduate from high school. The poverty rate for those failing to graduate projects out to over 60%; for those who do graduate, 29%, less than half as many. And as vouchers offer this particular group a far higher chance of graduation, from a 40% lower failure to graduate rate to over 60%, broad availability of such vouchers would address both the poverty and the abortion problem simultaneously.