Archive for the ‘Abortion’ Category

Numbers: Some context for the abortion debate.

July 5, 2022

Birth rates & abortions … how many, where, who and how likely to be restrcted.


U.S. Births

According to the CDC:

> The number of births has declined by an average of 2% per year since 2014.

> In 2020, 3,613,647 births were registered in the United States, down 4% from 2019



Birth Rates

> The general fertility rate (GFR) for the United States in 2020 was 56.0 births per 1,000 females aged 15–44

The general fertility rate in 2020 was  down 4% from 2019 … a record low rate for the nation


> Birth rates continued to increase for females in age groups 35 to 39 and 40 to 44a record high.

> Birth rate among teenagers continued its steep decline: In 2020 the birth rate for females aged 15–19 was 15.4 births per 1,000 …down 8% from 2019 ….and another record low

With those numbers as context, let’s look at the abortion numbers…



According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute:

> The number of reported abortions in the U.S. has declined over 40% since the 1980s


In 2020…

  • 930,160 abortions were performed in the U.S..
  • The abortion rate was 14.4 per 1,000 women (in child-bearing age groups)
  • The ratio of abortions to pregnancies was 20.6% … about 1 in every 5 pregnancies


Abortions impacted by Dobbs

According to CDC data (for 2019):

68% of all abortions were performed in blue states and 32% in red states … call it 2 out of 3 in blue states.

Blue states currently have the most liberal abortion rights which will, at a minimum, be retained … or, most likely, will be expanded.

Note: The vast majority of pro-choice protests seem to be happening blue states or, in some cases, in red states by by out-of-state blue staters

Less than 300,000 abortions per year (297,651 to be precise) are in blue states and, thus,  at  risk of being banned after Dobbs.


Blue state “bans”

The number of full bans on abortion is likely to be far less than 300,000.


Every abortion ban enacted or proposed includes an exception to protect the life or health of the mother.

According to the CDC, 92% of abortions take place in the first trimester … 43% in the first 6 weeks.

Many (most? all?) blue states are likely to permit abortion in the first 6 weeks or the first trimester.

That cuts the number of abortions at risk of being banned down to about 150,000,at most … and, more likely, down to well under 100,000


Other “ban” mitigating actions

According to Guttmacher, 54% of all abortions already are “medication abortions” (i.e. pills) that are FDA approved for use within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.


My hunch: Those pills will likely flow across state lines, e.g. via difficult-to-stop online pharmacy sales.


And finally, many companies have already declared that they will pay travel expenses for employees traveling to abortion-permitting states.

While obviously an added hassle for abortion seekers, it does provide access.


And, for the record

14 weeks is the cut-off for “abortion on request” for practically all Europen0an countries.

Maher noted that the majority of the U.S. still has more abortion freedoms than a lot of countries in Europe, where they set a shorter time-frame on abortion limits


Those are the numbers from the CDC and the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute.

Draw your own conclusions…

Pew: 38% believe that “human life” begins at conception…

May 10, 2022

… and thus, they believe that a fetus is a person with rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Some interesting survey data from Pew

Let’s start with the overall context.

Should abortion be legal in all or most cases?

While there has been a recent upward trend in the percentage of Americans who think that abortion should be legal in all cases, the current percentage is now the same as it was 25 years ago.


Similarly, the current percentage of Americans who think that abortion should be illegal in all cases is now the same as it was 25 years ago.


Does human life begin at conception?

Probably not coincidental to the above findings, the “illegal in all cases” percentage is practically identical to the overall percentage of Americans who believe that “human life begins at conception, so a fetus is a person that has human rights” to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.



The question of when human life begins is central to the abortion debate.

Of the 44% of Republicans who do not think that life begins at conception (100% minus 56%), 86% agree that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Among Democrats, 77% do not think that life begins at conception …. 80% think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.


It’s likely that the 20% of Dems who do not think that abortion should be legal in all cases are those in the 23% who think that life begins at conception.


Note that the percentage of Democrats thinking that abortion should be legal in all cases has trended upward in the past 15 years … the percentage of Republicans thinking that abortion should be legal in all or most cases has stayed constant over the same period.


What about mother’s health and rape cases?

While percentages are higher among Democrats, a majority in both political parties agree that abortion should be legal when a mother’s health is threatened … and in rape cases.


Note: There are varied interpretations of “threatens the woman’s health” … ranging from serious disability or death … to minor depression or lifestyle changes.


What about unhealthy babies?

A slim majority thinks that abortion should be legal in all cases when the baby is likely to be born with severe disabilities or health problems … an additional 25% thinks that “it depends” … only 1 in 5 firmly rule it out.



Bottom line

The question of when life begins is central to where people stand on the abortion issue.

Reminder: Hillary Clinton, in a classic Freudian slip, acknowledged of “unborn persons deserving rights” … and President Biden, has recently referred to “unborn children”.

Draw your own conclusions…

Maher: “Ending Rowe v Wade won’t set the U.S. back 50 years.”

May 9, 2022

And, a few other shots across the narrative’s bow.


On his show last week, Maher — a usually reliable darling of the left — opined:

Pro-choice protestors’ claim that ending Roe V. Wade would send U.S. abortion rights back 50 years is ‘factually inaccurate.’ 

The ruling is not ‘settled law’ and it would not have the drastic impact pro-choice defenders believe it would.

‘Most abortions now, even when you go to a clinic, are done with the pill’. 

The pill. And pills are easy to get in America.’

‘So, you know, for the people who say we’re going back to 1973, we’re not. That’s just factually inaccurate.’

More specifically, Maher confessed:

I learned things this week that are pretty basic things that I did not know about abortion.

Like in Europe, the modern countries of Europe — way more restrictive than we are or what they’re even proposing.

If you are pro-choice, you would like it a lot less in Germany and Italy and France and Spain and Switzerland.


Here are the facts that support Maher’s claim:

14 weeks is the cut-off for “abortion on request” for practically all Europen0an countries.

Maher noted that the majority of the U.S. still has more abortion freedoms than a lot of countries in Europe, where they set a shorter time-frame on abortion limits



P.S. Maher also claimed that most pro-lifers are women.

Gallup’s numbers don’t support that claim:


Gallup: 49% "pro-choice", 47% "pro-life"…

May 6, 2022

… with partisan and regional skews.

Let’s stick with the numbers…

For the past 15 years or so, roughly an equal number of people have self-identified as “pro-choice or pro-life..

In its most recent polling, Gallup pegs the split at 49%  pro-choice, 47% pro-life … within the margin of polling error … and tracking with respondents’ views on “moral acceptability”.



So what to do?

About 1 in 5 (19%) think that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances … that’s about 40% of the pro-lifers.

About 1 in 3 (32%) think that abortion should be legal in all circumstances … that’s about 60% of pro-choicers.

But, a near majority (48%) — made up of some pro-lifers and some pro-choicers — think that abortion should be legal “only under some circumstances (e.g. rape, incest, health of mother).



Spinning the numbers

Both pro-lifers and pro-choicers try to lay claim to the 48% who think abortion should be legal in some cases.

Pro-lifers emphasize that roughly 2 in 3 80% (19% + 48%) favor restrictions on abortion.

Pro-choicers emphasize that 80% (32% + 48%) are in favor of allowing abortions … neglecting the part about some restrictions.


The partisan divide

No surprise, abortion views vary by political identification.

About 3 in 4 Republicans (76%%) think that abortion is morally acceptable.

But, about 2 in 3 Democrats think that abortion is no harm, no foul.

And. of course, Independents are split down the middle with 51% thinking that abortion is morally acceptable.



State to state

Gallup acknowledges that abortion views on morally acceptability and restrictions varies state-to-date … but doesn’t provide polling numbers.

Seems reasonable to expect that the bluest  West Coast and coastal Northeast states are pro-choice and favor fewer restrictions (if any).

And, it seems reasonable to expect that the redest Heartland and Bible Belt states lean pro-life … and favor restrictions (some total).

So, the question boils down to: Is either group entitled to force its views and laws onto the other group.

Good luck forging a consensus on that question…

Irony: Abortion debate heats up right before Mother’s Day…

May 4, 2022

That’s among many head-scratchers…

Listening to pundits on both sides of the abortion issue following the the leaked Supreme Court document, I’ve been struck by a couple of head-scratchers.

Let’s start with…

> “Happy Mother’s Day” … surely, the timing was motivated by politics but, coincidentally, it hit in the week running up to Mother’s Day.


BTW: To be politically correct, should we be saying “Birthing People’s Day”?


> Women’s Rights … We’re in a new age of gender ambiguity and fluidity … with a SCOTUS appointee saying that one need be a biologist to to define “woman”.

If we can’t pin down “woman”, how there be “women’s rights?”.

Shouldn’t it “people’s rights”?


> “My body, my choice” …. that is, unless you’re talking about vaccine mandates.

Strikes me that many in the pro-choice contingent were among the most ardent supporters of vax mandates.



> “An unborn child” … In his extemporaneous reaction to the leaked document, President Biden remarked about decisions “to abort a child”.


The media is just playing the comment to be another case of Biden’s sloppy tongue (and thinking).

Apparently, they forget that in 2016, addressing the abortion issue, Hillary Clinton declared that “the unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights” — like the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of justice. Source: NYT

Did she say “person’?

I see a pattern here…


> “Rule of Law” … When protesters breached the Congressional Halls on January 6, it was broadly and understandably condemned by most people as violating the Constitution and “rule of law”

But, when a leaker violates the SCOTUS process — trying to “motivate the base” and intimidate  Justices before a final vote — it’s a case of ends justifying means.

Situational ethics?


> Misinformation… For the past week, the chatter has been about the need for a Federal “Misinformation Panel”.


The leaked SCOTUS opinion draft clearly states that the proposed ruling does not “make abortion illegal”. It simply relegates abortion decisions to the states.

And, it makes clear that abortion is fundamentally unique issue in that  “abortion destroys . . . potential life”.

So what?

Other issues — such as the right to interracial marriage, the right to obtain contraceptives, the right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts, and the right to same-sex marriage — do not “involve the critical moral question posed by abortion.”

Therefore, the draft abortion ruling would not apply to or set precedent for the other flashpoint issues.  Source

Of course, that hasn’t stopped Pelosi, Schumer, et. al., from hitting the air waves bellowing that the proposed ruling would jeopardize those other issues.



I could go on, but this is making me dizzy…

Is Virginia going to jump the abortion shark?

February 1, 2019

OK, New York  passed legislation legalizing abortions right up to the point of delivery.

Pro-lifers grimaced; pro-choicers rejoiced.

Not to be outdone, Virginia started the ball rolling to reduce restrictions on late-term abortions.


Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, explained the implications in a radio interview on WTOP.


Advice to the Rowe v. Wade hyperventilators: chill out.

September 12, 2018

Judge Kavanaugh’s hearings were loaded with predictable content:

Dem senators used their air time to warn (again) that Rowe v. Wade would be repealed and abortions would be outlawed.


First, I doubt that a sweeping case will ever reach the SCOTUS. 

Pro-choicers — about half the country — are zealous to their cause.

The other half — pro-lifers — have largely accepted the world as it is … just nibbling at the margins against late-term and partial-birth abortions and tax-payer funding … not angling for “outlawing”.

Second, even in the very unlikely case that RvW were overturned, it wouldn’t eliminate access to abortions.



Here’s why…


Is Rowe vs. Wade a winning hand for Dems?

September 11, 2018

Resisting Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment to the SCOTUS, Dems are warning that Rowe vs, Wade will be repealed and abortions will become illegal.

Putting personal views aside, the strategy is a bit of a head-scratcher for me.

While the issue riles the base (I guess) and motivates protest marches by passionate pro-choice advocates, it’s not apparent to me that it’s a winning political issue.

It’s true — based on Pew data — that when given a binary choice between  overturning RvW or keeping it as is, about 2/3’s of respondents are against overturning.

That says it’s a winning issue, right?



But, the political case isn’t nearly so clear when drilling down on the numbers …


Correct awareness?

2 in 3 respondents identify RvW as something to do with abortion (chart above) … but of those who do, the vast majority believe (or are led to believe) that that repeal would, by definition outlaw all abortions.

Not the case, it would simply push abortion rights back down to the state-level. (More on that in a subsequent post).

According to Pew, less than half of respondents under 30 even associate RvW as relating to abortion.


And, that’s despite a similar lathering-up operation when Justice Gorsuch was under consideration.


Critical Issue?

Pew also finds that only 18% of the total population consider abortion rights to be a critical issue.

53% say that abortion is “not that important” of an issue.


And, of those who think that abortion rights are a critical issue, by a margin of 4 to 1, the preference is to overturn RvW.

In other words, most of the support for not over-tuning is among folks for whom the issue is not important.

So, politically speaking,  it’s not obvious to me, why the Dems would choose to showcase the issue …

Maybe it’s only important when it’s important … when folks are led to believe that the law will change and abortion will be outlawed.

More on that tomorrow.


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