Anti-Choice Advocates Oppose Measures That Actually Decrease the Abortion Rate?
Frustrated by the failure to overturn Roe v. Wade, a growing number of antiabortion pastors, conservative academics and activists are setting aside efforts to outlaw abortion and instead are focusing on building social programs and developing other assistance for pregnant women to reduce the number of abortions.
Some of the activists are actually working with abortion rights advocates to push for legislation in Congress that would provide pregnant women with health care, child care and money for education — services that could encourage them to continue their pregnancies.
That makes sense. According to National Right to Life, 23 percent of women terminate pregnancies primarily because they can’t afford a baby. An addition 19 percent terminate because they have other children/family responsibilities. In a Guttmacher study (pdf), 73 percent of women listed “can’t afford a baby right now” as one of their reasons for having an abortion (the wide difference between the numbers comes because the Guttmacher study allowed women select multiple reasons for why they were terminating; the study quoted on the National Right to Life site had women pick one reason). The highest abortion rates occur in countries where birth control access is highly limited; worldwide, socioeconomic reasons are a leading factor in women choosing abortion. Low rates of abortion strongly correlate with universal health care, widely available contraception, and gender egalitarianism. There is little correlation between the legal status of abortion and the incidence of abortion — that is, there’s no evidence that countries where abortion is illegal have lower abortion rates than countries where it is legal. Case in point: