The pragmatically pro-life party
Letters to the Editor | Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Instead of spewing propaganda and mean-spirited attacks, let’s have a concrete discussion on how to make abortion really stop. That is, I implore fanatical pro-lifers to stop calling pro-choicers murderers or perpetrators of a modern holocaust. At the same time, fanatical pro-choicers should stop calling pro-lifers misogynistic or doctrinaire.
Instead, we can all coalesce around a goal of trying to prevent people from ever wanting or thinking they need an abortion. This is not difficult, but does not begin with a simple law. Before explaining this, let’s begin with why a simple law will not work. Suppose John McCain wins in November, various Supreme Court justices retire, staunch pro-lifers take their places and Roe v. Wade is overturned so that all forms of abortion are now illegal. All is good right? Well, we must also take into account that during his first 4 years in office McCain has also kept us in Iraq and maintained a top-down fiscal policy. This in turn has further deteriorated our public school system, and made healthcare less available to children and the poor.
Indeed, McCain was given the lowest rating of any senator by the Children’s Defense Fund before becoming a presidential candidate. So in a grand irony, children are being sharply neglected after birth now instead of before. What’s worse though is that their mothers, who have been denied a good education or any perceivable way to achieve success, are ten times more likely to want an abortion. Is there any evidence to back up this kind of picture?
The 1990’s marked a huge decline in abortion rate by every possible measure (see Center for Disease Control statistics: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5212a1.htm). This was due to a coincident drop in teenage pregnancy. Tracing back further the decline we find at the same time public education was being heavily funded and student loan interest rates were at big time lows. These contributed to less hopelessness among teenage girls who dropped out of school less. On the other side, abortions by non-teens also dropped as people became more hopeful for their and their children’s futures. So it would seem that supporting basic rights like education and healthcare leads to a more holistic solution.
I conclude by pointing out a little parallel. We would all agree that stopping terrorists from crashing airplanes into our buildings would be a good thing. However, trying to go around the world shooting every potential terrorist is not the way to achieve this. Instead we should think about what American policies tend to build up the infrastructure of the world’s poorest countries so that people are not desperate enough to join a radical terrorist group. Republican policies, at least recently, tend to be short-sighted.