Jun 9, 2011

Bush's economics and abortion

A recent study* in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the official publication of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, found that abortions increased among poor women during the George W. Bush administration.

Overall rates declined, as they have been doing since the 70s. Among the poor, though, abortions increased by 18 percent between 2000 and 2008, reaching rates of 52.2 abortions per 1,000 poor women. By 2008, poor women accounted for 42 percent of abortions.

The sociologist writing the report suggests the economic policies of the pro-life president contributed to this increase in abortions**. Cuts to publicly funded family planning services making contraceptives less available to poor women, the decreasing availability of financial assistance for the poor, and the impact of the economic crisis are all connected to the 514,040 abortions that happened the last year of Bush's term.

Considering that pro-life advocates consistently support candidates who propose dismantling the welfare state, backing economic policies that correlate with an increase of abortions among those who may feel like it's their only option, financially, it's only fair to ask, I think, if the pro-life movement really opposes abortions per se, or just wants them to be against the law.

*Pro-life organizations routinely denounce the group that supported the sociologist's study as biased in favor of abortions. The facts are, however, facts.
**Pro-life advocates have drawn different conclusions. The Family Research Council thinks the problem is unmarried people living together, assiduously avoiding the obvious economic issue. They themselves have noted that marriage is negatively correlated with poverty, though they mistake correlation for causation, thinking marriage increases wealth. Less tortured conclusions: poor people can't afford to get married, or that the social conditions producing poverty are the same as those causing people to avoid marriage.