Wednesday, January 22, 2003

COUPLE OF ABORTION ARTICLES WORTH READING: That talk about kind of what I was trying to talk about below. Here's John J. Miller on NRO:

60 percent of Americans believe abortion should be "legal in only a few circumstances" or "illegal in all circumstances," versus 38 percent who would have it legal in "any" or "most" circumstances, according to a CNN/USA Today poll released last week. But support for a constitutional amendment is weak: 59 percent oppose one that grants a life-of-the-mother exception. Any realistic pro-lifer must admit that passing such an amendment is a far-off goal, and that there's a very good chance it won't ever happen — at least not before the Red Sox win a World Series.

Amid this disappointment, however, there's heartening news: Both the rate and ratio of abortions are dropping, which means that more pregnant women are choosing life over "choice." There are still far too many abortions — more than a million a year, and more than 40 million since Roe — but there are also a large number of people alive today because attitudes have changed.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which keeps tabs on abortion numbers, the abortion rate has dropped to 21.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 — the lowest rate since 1974. Perhaps even more important and impressive is the abortion ratio: 24.5 percent of all viable pregnancies end in abortion, another low since 1974.

These numbers are sobering, of course: They still represent a lot of abortions, and some of the decline is probably due to the increased use of so-called emergency contraceptives, and is therefore overstated. But the numbers do show a measurable improvement over the recent past, and this can't be forgotten. As National Right to Life pointed out in a press release last week, "The numbers indicate a significant decrease in abortion that translates into about 300,000 fewer children dying from abortion in 2000 as compared to [AGI's] figures for 1990."

See--an attidude change, though a smallish one, driving the number of abortions down. Here's Kathleen Parker saying something similiar:

While researchers try to figure out why abortion rates are dropping and pundits try to spin why Americans favor protecting the unborn, I'd like to take a stab at the answer: education and technology.

Not moral preaching or punitive measures; not fetus lapel pins or gory roadside posters. But self-direction among people of conscience informed by technology and empowered by education.

Because of technology--the ability to photograph, observe, engage and operate on in utero fetuses at various stages of development--people are not as likely to see a developing human as a "cluster of cells" or a "blob."

That's precisely why pro-life activists want to incorporate 3-D ultrasounds into their arsenal, and why pro-choice advocates want to block them. Thomas Glassner, president and founder of the National Institute of Family Health and Life Advocacy, is unapologetic about his intents and purposes:

"We are going to see a decreasing number of abortions nationwide because of the efforts of pregnancy health centers providing medical services, including ultrasound, to empower women who are considering abortion to choose life."

But pro-choice advocates say offering such services constitutes "intimidation." Now why would that be? Why is it intimidation to say, "Before you have an abortion, we want you to have all available information so you can make an informed decision"?

If a woman sees a 10-week-old fetus inside her, which is to say an identifiable developing human, and elects to carry the baby to term, how is that a bad thing? This is where the so-called pro-choicers lose me and, I think, their credibility.

Shouldn't choice be informed? Isn't feminism all about empowerment? And isn't knowledge the ultimate source of power?

Indeed, 90 percent of abortion-bound women change their minds after seeing their own ultrasound image, according to NIFLA research. These women no doubt realize vividly that what they have inside them is not a cluster of cells, but a live, developing human being with hands, feet, fingers, toes, a double-lobed brain, identifiable sex organs and a very beating heart.

If knowledge prevents ending such life, then maybe we have our answer to the abortion dilemma. Why is it so repugnant to accept that we may have been wrong in our initial embrace of abortion?

Both article via the Christianity Today weblog.

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