Guest Op/Ed: Does passing laws stop abortion?
Special guest-commentary today by user “Tom J.” I met Tom during an OFA Viewing Party of President Obama’s big convention speech last August, where he posed some interesting questions about life in countries with strict anti-abortion laws vs those that keep abortion legal & freely available. Impressed, I asked him to share those thoughts with you today.
Several years ago I invited a public school colleague that I worked with to join the teachers’ union. Very unexpectedly he went off into a passionate discourse about “dead babies.” I didn’t get the connection at first until I later figured out that he associates the Union with Democrats and Democrats with abortion. His reaction was so emotional that I decided to investigate this issue. I have never lived abroad. I did read Jimmy Carter’s book “Our Endangered Values” which prompted the conclusions below, I have also included links to the World Health Organization website with the statistics cited.
Conservatives claim that life begins at the moment of conception and should not be taken once a woman is pregnant. OK, but what is their solution to stop it? All they have ever offered is to make it illegal. Will doing that stop abortions from happening? There is no correlation at all between illegality and abortion rates (PDF).
Let’s look at some other countries where this is being tried. In most South American countries abortion is completely and totally illegal and yet women still seek them out and obtain them illegally at the rate of 32 per thousand child-bearing aged women. The baby is still dead whether abortion is legal or not.
Now stop and examine countries like Belgium and the Netherlands. There abortion is legal under many circumstances and yet women seek out and obtain them only at the rate of just 7 per thousand even though it is legal. Quite a difference. What is happening? Well in those two countries and others like them they have universal health care and comprehensive sex education for young people. Turns out this is what stops abortion, not passing laws.
So, to those people who claim that the sanctity of human life is all important, I say this: If you really care about those unborn babies like you say you do, and this is not really about controlling women, then you have no choice but to support the political party that is promoting universal health care and comprehensive sex education for young people because that and only that is what has been proven to drastically curb abortion. Passing Laws doesn’t stop it!
Source: Our Endangered Values by Jimmy Carter (page 74 hard cover edition).