Christian author Tony Jones – an Obama supporter – was asked by Obama’s campaign to be a part of some conference calls with Obama staffers. He shares what went down on one of those calls here.
One of the things Tony throws out there is that abortions declined under Clinton, but rose during Bush’s campaign. Is that true? Are abortions rising under Bush? Apparently not. This May 2005 article shows that there was a small decline in 2000 and 2001 under Bush. (0.8% each year), despite what an earlier published report had said.
In fact, if you go to the Guttmacher Institute’s website, you can get a much clearer picture of what is happening with abortions in this country. Now, I realize that some have called the GI’s numbers into question because they support women’s sexual and reproductive rights, so take that into consideration. (Critics of the GI claim their agenda is to show decreases in abortion in countries where it is legal and to inflate the number of abortion-related deaths (to mothers) in countries where it is illegal. That being said, the GI statistics for abortions in the U.S. are generally considered valid and are the best we have.)
Here are the # of abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44, by year:
It appears that abortion is on the decline, which I believe is a good thing. PERIOD.
Here’s another interesting article I wanted to pass along. Camille Paglia (a self-proclaimed atheist libertarian) recently wrote an article for Salon.com in which she reiterates her pro-choice stance on abortion. What you’ll find interesting is that she does not deny that abortion is murder. Here’s part of the article (with my emphasis added):
Let’s take the issue of abortion rights, of which I am a firm supporter. As an atheist and libertarian, I believe that government must stay completely out of the sphere of personal choice. Every individual has an absolute right to control his or her body. (Hence I favor the legalization of drugs, though I do not take them.) Nevertheless, I have criticized the way that abortion became the obsessive idée fixe of the post-1960s women’s movement — leading to feminists’ McCarthyite tactics in pitting Anita Hill with her flimsy charges against conservative Clarence Thomas (admittedly not the most qualified candidate possible) during his nomination hearings for the Supreme Court. Similarly, Bill Clinton’s support for abortion rights gave him a free pass among leading feminists for his serial exploitation of women — an abusive pattern that would scream misogyny to any neutral observer.
But the pro-life position, whether or not it is based on religious orthodoxy, is more ethically highly evolved than my own tenet of unconstrained access to abortion on demand. My argument (as in my first book, “Sexual Personae,”) has always been that nature has a master plan pushing every species toward procreation and that it is our right and even obligation as rational human beings to defy nature’s fascism. Nature herself is a mass murderer, making casual, cruel experiments and condemning 10,000 to die so that one more fit will live and thrive. Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue. The state in my view has no authority whatever to intervene in the biological processes of any woman’s body, which nature has implanted there before birth and hence before that woman’s entrance into society and citizenship.
On the other hand, I support the death penalty for atrocious crimes (such as rape-murder or the murder of children). I have never understood the standard Democratic combo of support for abortion and yet opposition to the death penalty. Surely it is the guilty rather than the innocent who deserve execution?
Now, I realize that she does not speak for all pro-choice proponents when she admits that she believes abortion is murder, so don’t put more weight on this woman’s claims than they are worth. I only linked to it because it was the first time I had ever read anything like it.
Finally, back to Tony Jones, who in a follow-up post on Obama and abortion said the following (again, my emphasis added):
I don’t expect any of you who are ideological about the issue of abortion to be swayed by my reasoning, or by Barack Obama’s for that matter. You can go ahead and vote for McCain/Palin and assume that they’ll actually change things. You can keep telling yourself, “We just need one…more…justice to overturn Roe v. Wade.” You can keep throwing good money after bad and support candidates who pander to you on ideological grounds. That’s your prerogative.
But for my part, I’m more interested in convincing moderate and progressive evangelicals to vote for BO. So, to those of you on the fence, let me say a few things: progressive Christians don’t love abortion, they despise it. It’s a terrible blight on our society. But criminalizing an activity does not eliminate it from society, be it crystal meth, rape, or graffiti. So when people say to you, “The point isn’t to reduce abortions, the point is to eliminate them,” you can say to them, “I think you need to go feed your unicorn and see if the leprechaun is still guarding your pot of gold.”
So, in summary
…the best data we have at this point suggests that abortions have declined ever-so-slightly under President Bush – let’s keep that going no matter who is President
…there’s at least one pro-choice liberal out there who sees abortion as murder and is ok with it – but a caution to any pro-lifers who would now want to quote this woman in their arguments, her views on abortion as murder might align with yours, but that might be the only one that does. save for this one notion, you’d probably call her a “looney liberal” and dismiss her as a whacko.
…in Tony Jones’ opinion, criminalizing abortion won’t solve the problem. Abortions will still happen frequently (and will likely be more dangerous to the mothers).
I won’t pose any questions to y’all…but if you have thoughts on any of this, feel free to weigh in.