Photo of the day

Well, it’s been a lovely winter in North Carolina this year.  Hardly winter at all.  Europe not so much.  It’s been really cold in Europe, which does make for some cool photos (via the Big Picture)

Ducks take off from a pond in Minsk, Belarus on February 1, 2012. (Sergei Grits/Associated Press)

Reduce abortion; give to Planned Parenthood

Yes.  Seriously.  If you want less abortions then you should want more people having easy access to contraception– a major mission of Planned Parenthood.  Slate’s Will Saletan spells it out:

What happens when you provide condoms and contraceptive services? Women who don’t want to get pregnant don’t get pregnant. Which means fewer women are in the market for abortions. The abortion business dries up.

That’s what was happening from 1995 to 2003, according to an analysis published two weeks ago in the Lancet. The article, Induced abortion: incidence and trends worldwide form 1995 to 2008, finds that the global number of abortions fell from 45.6 million in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003. But by 2008, the number had risen to 43.8 million. On a per capita basis, from 1995 to 2003, the number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age fell from 35 to 29. From 2003 to 2008, the rate hardly moved, from 29 to 28.

Why did the decline stop? Look at the trend data published last year by the United Nations in World Contraceptive Use 2010. From 1995 to 2000, contraceptive prevalence increased worldwide at an annual rate of nearly half a percentage point. From 2000 to 2005, the rate of increase dropped in half. From 2005 to 2009, it stopped altogether. The abortion rate stopped falling when the contraception rate stopped rising.

When you break down the data by region, the pattern becomes even clearer. The Lancetarticle reports:

We found that the proportion of women living under liberal abortion laws is inversely associated with the abortion rate in the subregions of the world. Other studies have found that abortion incidence is inversely associated with the level of contraceptive use, especially where fertility rates are holding steady, and there is a positive correlation between unmet need for contraception and abortion levels…

In other words, if you outlaw abortion and limit contraception, you get more abortions, because more women who don’t want to have babies get pregnant. And when women who don’t want to have babies get pregnant, they find ways to get abortions, whether you like it or not. The way to get fewer abortions is to provide contraception—and to teach people to use it diligently, which is a moral project, not just a technical one. That way, fewer women who don’t want to have babies get pregnant. And the abortion rate goes down.

Apparently, the evil morons at Planned Parenthood haven’t figured this out. They’re trying to flood the world with contraceptives. If they succeed, they’re going to shrink global demand for abortions. They’re killing their own abortion business.

Why not help them?

Personally, I’d really like to see fewer abortions.  It just seems to me that the evidence is pretty overwhelming that the way to do this is not an ineffective moral condemnation of abortion and the attempt to make abortion harder to legally obtain for pregnant women, but rather to ensure that there are far fewer women with unwanted pregnancies.    There seem to be some in the pro-life movement who realize this, but not many.

Dumbest column ever?

I generally make a point of not blogging too much about stupid Op-Ed columns.  If I did I wouldn’t have time to write about anything else.  That said, I’m still annoyed by Kathleen Parker’s column from yesterday, so here goes.  Basically, Parker makes just a ridiculous defense of Komen:

The more compelling questions concern a person’s or an institution’s freedom of conscience and the right to act upon one’s moral beliefs without fear of intimidation and/or government coercion.

Both cases — one involving the Catholic Church and the other, Susan G. Komen for the Cure — deal with the ongoing conflict between the pro-life and pro-choice camps. And both are exposing the dangerous extent to which some pro-choice advocates, including the president of the United States, are willing to tread on fundamental freedoms in order to impose and secure ideological purity…

Whatever one believes about the motivation behind its decision, the larger point is that Komen has no binding responsibility to allocate any part of its $93 million in grants to any organization. Komen is a nonprofit, free agent, and the good it has performed for millions of underserved women around the world is staggering.

Nevertheless, given the rabid response from abortion-rights supporters, you’d think that Brinker and her organization were running puppy mills for soup vendors. Even if their real reason for ending funding is because they no longer want to be associated with an organization as politically controversial as Planned Parenthood — or even if because some of their potential donors want the relationship severed — it is inarguably their right to change course.

Don’t like it? Don’t run in Komen’s fundraising races. Don’t buy a pink blender. Give directly to Planned Parenthood. In fact, both organizations have enjoyed a surge in donations since news of the break erupted. Note to fundraisers: Create an enemy, enjoy a bonanza.

I’ve read a lot about this issue and I don’t recall a single person– not even a random facebook commenter– suggesting that Komen didn’t have the right to do this.  Yet, that’s essentially what Parker is saying has happened.  In fact, the vast majority of responses I saw were exactly what Parker said they should be.  Parker has not created a straw man, but a straw abominable snow man.

She may not be quite as extreme on the whole Catholic hospitals being required to offer birth control to employees on their health plan issue, but she has a similar penchant for over statement.  My favorite:

Essentially, the new law forces them either to forfeit their most fundamental beliefs [emphasis mine] or to face prohibitive penalties

Wow.  I’m sure there’s a lot of Catholics who would be surprised to learn that the prohibition against birth control is among the Church’s most fundamental beliefs.  And, of course, if this is among the Catholic Church’s most fundamental beliefs, I’d certainly argue their priorities are in the wrong place (didn’t Jesus say a thing or two about helping the less fortunate).

Anyway.  Horrible column.  Felt good to get that out of my system.

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