Thursday, March 23, 2006

Abortion Distortion

I'm hesitant to weigh in on the abortion issue because it's so divisive and overemphasized, but I ran across some statistics that inform my view on how to reduce the number of abortions.

I'd heard anecdotal evidence that the number of abortions had gone down significantly in the 1990s. The CDC measures the "rate" of abortions in terms of number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years (see chart). During Reagan/Bush1, the rate of abortions went from 25 women per 1,000 to 23 women per 1,000. Keep in mind that this is 12 years with a pro-life President in office. Under Clinton, the rate of abortion went from 23 women per 1,000 to 16 women per 1,000. This during an 8-year administration with a pro-choice President at the helm.

What does all this suggest? Well for one, I think it suggests that whether we have a pro-choice President or a pro-life President is rather insignificant. Instead, the economic climate and its effect on poor women and mothers is the critical factor.

I believe the most effective strategy to reducing the number of abortions is to advocate for policies that lift women out of poverty. If a poor woman has the economic wherewithall to support a child, she is MUCH more likely to choose to keep her baby. That's the dynamic behind the CDC numbers. Assuming that Roe v. Wade will never be overturned, this is a strategy that can unite rather than divide.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Punditry Hypocrisy

Back when Clinton was going through the Lewinsky thang, William J. Bennett wrote a book titled "The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals". In it, Bennett expressed sadness and concern that the country wasn't more "outraged" at Clinton's behaviour. His basic conclusion..."American Values" are in decline, and the nation is going to hell in a handbasket, morally-speaking.

Last time I checked, there were some pretty good american values at the local WalMart, but that's another can of worms to be addressed in a future n2justice post.

I still vividly recall Bennett being a fixture on the political punditry circuit. He was everywhere...CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, ASAP, PDQ, LMNOP. He was also busy writing books with titles like "The Book of Virtues", "The Book of Virtues for Young People", "The Children's Treasury of Virtues" and "Children's Book of Virtues". You get the point...the man knows a thing or two about virtues. Nowadays, you'd have to work awful hard to catch some virtuous, outrage-filled morsels from Mr. Bennett. I guess American values are no longer in decline.

By the way, what's the difference between a "book" and a "treasury"?

OK, fair enough. If you want to be a moral watchdog, then so be it. But to have credibility, don't you have to be CONSISTENT in your watchdoggyness? Where is Bennett's outrage at Abu Ghraib? Where is Bennett's outrage regarding abuse at Guantanamo? Where is Bennett's outrage when it comes to corporate malfeasence? Where is Bennett's outrage at the growing gap between rich and poor?

I could go on, but I'm getting tired of typing "Where is Bennett's outrage".

I actually appreciate people who take the time to investigate current events and issues and take an interest in the political scene. But the minute you lose your OBJECTIVITY, you lose your credibility. You no longer speak the truth to power.

You've become a political hack.