So I'd just like to cite a few statistics I think would be of interest. In Jimmy Carter's new book (as quoted by Chainz of Restless Mania), he writes that
Canadian and European young people are about equally active sexually, but, deprived of proper sex education, American girls are five times as likely to have a baby as French girls, seven times as likely to have an abortion, and seventy times as likely to have gonorrhea as girls in the Netherlands. Also, the incidence of HIV/ AIDS among American teenagers is five times that of the same age group in Germany.... It has long been known that there are fewer abortions in nations where prospective mothers have access to contraceptives, the assurance that they and their babies will have good health care, and at least enough income to meet their basic needs.
This leads Chainz to comment a feeling I've had for a long time, that the pro-life movement, as an institution, doesn't seem to really care about the lives of the innocent. I think Feministe once said they weren't "pro-life", they were "pro-birth". They just want the child to be born. Once that happens, they promptly lose interest in his or her future (if they don't become actively hostile to it).
I also wrote two articles in our progressive political journal (The Carleton Progressive) about Roe, one laying out the reasons for pro-choice liberals to let it die, and the second explaining why I didn't actually believe the analysis I gave in the first (links if they become available). A pro-life friend of mine read the articles and wanted to discuss abortion with me. Mostly, I just made an elongated argument of what I said above--I don't like abortion, but I don't think law is a good solution to the problem, and instead we need to deal with underlying effects while keeping it "safe, legal, and rare." But he cited me statistics that said 90% of women who get abortions use them for "birth-control" purposes. I said I was skeptical of the study (or at least how its findings got labeled). He sent me a link, and I think my skepticism was justified.
The study asked what the "main reason" women had an abortion across several categories:
Wants to postpone childbearing--25.5%
Wants no (more) children--7.9%
Cannot afford a baby--21.3%
Having a child will disrupt education or job--10.8%
Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy--14.1%
Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy--12.2%
Risk to maternal health--2.8%
Risk to fetal health--3.3%
I'd imagine that whoever said this totaled up to 90% was only counting the last three categories as not "birth-control". But I'd only put the first two categories as "birth-control," the rest seem like perfectly reasonable decisions by a pregnant mother reflecting on her future and social/economic situation. The leads to less than 30% of women using abortion as "birth-control," and upwards of 70% using it as a response to some form of external economic, social, or medical pressure.
So there's your obligatory Roe post. I hope you're happy. Comments appreciated, but again, this isn't an issue that really concerns me that much. I understand people who take it very seriously--I understand why this can be your be-all-end-all. But even still, I'd be much happier if this issue was reduced in importance in American political debates and we let other issues rise to the fore.