Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
The EditorsJanuary 31, 2019
Demonstrators who support legal abortion gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court during the 46th annual March for Life Jan. 18 in Washington. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) 

The stark reality of abortion entered public consciousness this week to a degree not seen in years. Americans were just beginning to understand how radical New York’s Reproductive Health Act, passed on Jan. 22, really was. At the same time, a Virginia state delegate acknowledged, during a legislative hearing, that the bill she had proposed to loosen regulation of late-term abortions would in fact allow abortion up until the moment of delivery. The governor of Virginia, himself a pediatric neurosurgeon, addressed the same issue on a radio show. He explained that it was more likely that such a case, involving a baby with severe deformities or who was expected to be nonviable, would result in a delivery but that the child would only be resuscitated if the mother and family desired. His clinical discussion of choosing to allow an infant to die shocked many. And while it did not attract as much attention, the governor of Rhode Island vowed to sign a similar bill in her state.

As we pointed out earlier this month, with Roe v. Wade under potential threat at the Supreme Court, pro-choice activists are pushing to have its effects codified into state law—and sometimes trying to expand access to abortion at the same time. This challenge calls for careful discernment from the pro-life movement. The fact that some consciences are being woken to recognize the tragedy of abortion is an opportunity for pro-lifers to broaden the circle of those who are willing to support pregnant women and be concerned for unborn children.

Here are three ways to engage this challenge constructively:

First, take great care to be clear, accurate and fair in describing the bad effects of these laws. They are shocking enough without any exaggeration. Also, veterans of pro-life work are not surprised that the controversies over these laws are already being described in terms of “attacks” on the politicians arguing for them. While there is no easy way to achieve fair media coverage of the moral concerns about abortion, it is still important to do what is possible to avoid the most predictable media bias. Some commentators immediately equated the Virginia governor’s remarks to “infanticide,” which the governor described as a bad-faith interpretation—and that allowed the news cycle to turn to parsing the criticism of the governor rather than keeping the focus on the moral question.

Second, be proactive about acknowledging and engaging the best possible motives behind even these very bad laws and resist the temptation to demonize those who support them. Many pro-choice advocates point out—accurately—that the late-term abortions to which these laws expand access are rare and usually connected to tragic diagnoses of fetal abnormality, maternal risk or the expectation that a child will die shortly after birth. Instead of relying solely on blunt, accurate descriptions of the violence of late-term abortions, pro-lifers should give even more emphasis to compassionate care for both mother and child in these terrible circumstances. Options such as perinatal hospice, which provides support and care for the mother, infant and family in situations where a child is expected to die before or shortly after birth, should be much better known. Efforts need to be made to guarantee that they are presented as part of the standard of care and resourced well enough to be available wherever needed. Too often, silence about these possibilities leads to the false choice between late-term abortion and “forcing” a mother to give birth.

Third, legislative efforts to defeat and reverse these laws should be paired with opportunities to reach across the aisle and work for reforms that will help expectant parents and make it easier for them to choose to bring their children into the world. This is not a retreat from the effort to protect unborn children in law—it is a recognition that pro-lifers should be willing to use every practical means to support and defend the dignity of life. If legal limits on abortion are connected to increases in support for parental leave and protections against pregnancy discrimination, they can potentially attract a much wider base of support. Such an approach is not only a chance for real policy improvements, but also a potential opening to win minds and hearts to recognize the value of every human life at all stages of development.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Crystal Watson
3 years 9 months ago

This is happening because pro-life Republican legislators made every effort to both overturn Roe and to chip away at existing rights to the point where the decision in Roe was defeated in some states for some people. Combine this with Republican policies that hurt the poor and women. Republicans and pro-life people have been trying to force a minority religious policy on a country that mostly doesn't share that perspective - now Democrats have to try to reverse that trend.

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

Exactly, Pro-lifer groups wanted to attack Roe v wade and make the right a matter for states to decide and they are seeing what that result is so stop complaining.

karen oconnell
3 years 9 months ago

the 'goal ' of so called 'pro-lifer' was never that of '''leaving the issue up to the states. they wanted the ammendment in place and mandatory for all states. if the abortion piece is ever amended, it will probably go to the states. forget about the amendment. it is the law of the land. use $$$ and influence to help singles and families who feel that abortion ''is their only solution.'' (that won't be as much 'fun.!!!'' no marches etc. just lots and lots of love and charity to those facing a tough time.

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

I agree with you Karen,

If we spent half the funds on helping women and couples with problematic unexpected pregnancies instead of trying to criminalize abortion, there would have been so many less abortions. However, you are correct, it is much easier to hold a sign with the Knights of Columbus all male review marching behind you and funding your cause with insurance money persecuting women and condemning them. This while making sure you do nothing to support actually helping women with what matters. God forbid these pro-lifers spend a dime of taxes to actually help parents raise the unborn children they claim to love so much! Most of these trigger laws leave no help for women other than they will help the women find families for their unaffordable children they obviously can't afford to raise after being forced to give birth to them. These laws are what is an abomination, in my opinion but no one seems to be criticizing them in "America Magazine"or within our church hierarchy.

Lisa M
3 years 9 months ago

Nora-let's be honest about it. More men favour abortion than women, and I think we all know why. There are plenty of us, plenty who believe in respect for all life, womb to tomb; we believe the solution is to change hearts, by doing the right thing and helping our neighbour, by providing greater aid to ALL people in distress, whether that be a refugee, a migrant or a pregnant woman. We don't vote republican, or support Trump, but as I'm sure you can imagine, the democrats are no longer a party we can supporter either. I just don't think that fits the narrative though, so the divisions continue. God help us.

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

Unfortunately, independent candidates do not win elections. I don't love everything the Dems do but they do stand for justice and the middle class and poor. The Republicans pretend to care about Jesus and conservative values but all they ever really back is misogyny, racism, ethnic hatred and pure greed. The last one being their most important priority. I vote Democrat because they are always the lesser of two evils in what has always been a two party country.

To make a real difference we need to get rid of the electoral college. Perhaps then people will start believing more that every vote matters and maybe then independent candidates would have chance.

Lisa M
3 years 9 months ago

Nora- to make a real difference we need to DO. Grouping people into republican, racist, misogynist and greedy is a cop out. Saying you choose the party who cares for the middle class and poor is simply not backed by statistics, particularly when you look at cities that have had democrats in power for decades. This isn't the Kennedy era, and they shouldn't be given a free pass for what they were.

While I do not think picketing is the most effective way to bring change, I most certainly would never judge those who are dedicating their time and effort to try to save a life, and many have. Just think if we all were so committed. It is shameful that we attack those who at least try. It's so easy to say what should be done, while staying on the sidelines.

True feminism respects women and everything about us, including the beautiful gift of bearing children. WE should demand an end to the pressure that is put on women where they feel they have no choice. That is NOT a choice, and it is not in women's best interest. Please give the misogynist, racist labels a rest. I'm pretty sure those types slither their way throughout society, some just hide it a bit better.

Crystal Watson
3 years 9 months ago

We can't help but make a distinction between Republicans and Democrats - it is the Democratic party that stands for women's rights, while the Republicans support a president who cheats on his wife and grabs women by the pu**y. And "true" feminism isn't about glorifying women and their ability to have children, it's about treating men and women as equals.

Valerie Finnigan
3 years 9 months ago

Ahem. Democrats also supported a guy who had multiple complaints of sexual harassment, assault, and even rape against him. The Dems seem to only support women's rights as long as it's politically expedient.

Valerie Finnigan
3 years 9 months ago

Ahem. Democrats also supported a guy who had multiple complaints of sexual harassment, assault, and even rape against him. The Dems seem to only support women's rights as long as it's politically expedient.

Crystal Watson
3 years 9 months ago

The difference is that voters knew about Trump's misogyny before the election and voted for him anyway. We didn't know about Clinton until he was already in office.

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

Correct!

Lisa M
3 years 9 months ago

Crystal-equality is about treating men and women as equals, true feminism is about embracing and celebrating our differences, challenging our talents and not kowtowing to anyone. Hilary Clinton may have been your representative for feminism, but certainly not mine.

Crystal Watson
3 years 9 months ago

Well, you're not talking about actual feminism. You are describing JPII's idea, "conplementarianism". It's pushed by conservative Catholics as the "new" feminism, but it's the opposite of feminism.

Lisa M
3 years 9 months ago

It has always puzzled me that some women decide they speak for all women, and define feminism from their perspective only. The sad reality is, the feminism you seem to speak of and support, has been pushed by women who grew up in dysfunction, often had an absent or alcoholic or domineering father and /or a passive or mentally unstable mother as their example, and thus became determined not to have to rely on anyone. Ironically, many have done just that, seemingly unable to live without a man. Their goals are genuine but they have no clue what is ideal. Fortunately for some of us, we grew up with parents who loved and respected each other, complimented each other, and were one in union with the other. A husband and father who was mentally strong and supportive and a wife and mother who was the same, just doing different things. Unfortunately for Simone Beauvoir, Margaret Sanger, Gloria Steinem and Germain Greer and many others, no such examples of equality were witnessed. Sorry, but their views on equality and feminism are certainly not mine.

Crystal Watson
3 years 9 months ago

This makes no sense.

Lisa M
3 years 9 months ago

Crystal Watson- How so? Have you read their biographies?

Crystal Watson
3 years 9 months ago

!) feminism is not dependent on the work of those few women you mention. It's a huge and complex movement, championed not just by women but men too.
2) are you a psychologist/psychiatrist? The idea that bad childhoods turn women into feminists is just silly.

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

That is false, completely presumptive and disrespectful to all genuine feminists. You are clearly not a feminist as such people fight for same treatment for both sexes. You don't get to change definitions because you don't like what they mean. No one said feminists spoke for all peoples beliefs or all womens. You simply are not a feminist. Plenty of feminists come from happily married parents and are themselves happily married parents.

If your parents are equals why do they have to different works rather than same works? God never told Adam he had different responsibilities than Eve in their marriage. If you think otherwise then find me that list in Genesis. Sexism is as destructive as racism. It limits and strips liberty from half the people for no rational reason or for any reason Christ would ever support.

Lisa M
3 years 9 months ago

Nora-Please quote me where I said any such thing! Whose arguing sexism is not destructive? I'm not a feminist, why, because I dared to challenge some of the positions some of our leading feminists have taken, by acknowledging they did not have the best male/female roll models to emulate? That somehow translates to I'm not a feminist and apparently can't be an equal to my spouse if our work is different? I'm pretty sure you'd be shocked at my occupation, as well as the sports and hobbies I've engaged in over the years. Suffice is to say when I obtained my degree in my field, nearly 80% of my classmates were male, I was a single unmarried parent, and began my own business. I don't think I was a 'traditional' woman, and I most certainly always have , and continue to advocate for equality. I grew up with no gender expectations, and believed I could be whatever I wanted to be. I came from a family that for generations, it seems, believed in an lived their lives as equals. I'm a feminist, I just strongly part ways when we ignore the uniqueness of our gender, and accept the taking of a life as part of our identity.

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

No feminism is about treating men and women exactly the same. Including in religion like demanding same sacraments be offered to all baptized, like priesthood to start. You don't get to change the definition of feminism Lisa. Just like the many priests I talk with who try to convince women that our church's patriarchy is not sexist or a form of hatred. Bull! It is both. The definition of sexism is merely treating one sex differently than the other. This difference usually ends up with women being treated less like in our church.

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

Well I am calling it like it is, and I don't agree with making abortion illegal anywhere because all evidence indicates it only increases abortion, and because no such law could ever be just or fair since we do not have any laws requiring men be forced to use their organs and bodies to save the lives others, like forced kidney or bone marrow transplants or even forced blood donation. We do not even demand anyone be forced to donate their organs after they are dead, even if it is to save a child's life. We only tell women, when they don't want to give up legal control over their own organ's use, murderers when someone or a fetus dies as a result.

God does not care more about the unborn than he does about the born.

Dems have protected constantly workers rights and wages and have fought for all civil rights protections for both women and minorities against constant attacks from Republicans and the stats and research does evidence that and that research is enormous in quantity and easy to find.

If Republicans don't want to be called misogynistic or racist they need to stop attacking voter access to minorities and stop attacking womens rights.

Everywhere in the world where abortion is hard to access or illegal, the maternal death rates are also much higher. That's the facts. There is nothing more harmful to womens health than death.

Scott Cooper
3 years 9 months ago

So patently wrong

Scott Cooper
3 years 9 months ago

Amen

John Rysavy
3 years 9 months ago

Getting rid of electoral college is off the table. I question the hatred you have for Republicans with your vitriol. There is always a middle ground for policy disagreements-but not abortion.

John Rysavy
3 years 9 months ago

Many Catholic pro-choice politicians equivocate and stand on moral relativism.

Mike Fitzpatrick
3 years 9 months ago

Nora, the Catholic Church and other pro-life groups and pro-life individuals pay out their own money to help women who are pregnant and after their child is born. There are also government, city, state and federal programs that help these women.
What we are seeing now with the Democrat Party is the end of the slippery slope that began when Roe v Wade was upheld.

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

Michael some pro lifers and pro choicers give to women to help with clothes, diapers, housing help for a very short time. However since most pro lifers are Republicans they fight and have hurt women, enormously by doing so, any real governmental aid to women. Republicans have fought and are still fighting against all wellfare, publicly funded daycare, universal healthcare which would help everyone but especially women who are pregnant or single moms. The Republicans have fought laws extending and demanding longer paid maternity and paternity leaves. They have also attacked the healthcare savings accounts designed to ease taxes on families who spent money on healthcare.

Plainly put, babies take 18 years to mature to adulthood so pro lifers spending barely enough to cover decent housing, food, healthcare, daycare, and clothing cost for the first few months, if that, is like giving a box of crackers to someone who has nothing and expecting it to feed them for a couple of years. Every social program in place anywhere in the U.S. for these women has been attacked with quite a bit of success by the Republican party which is backed by pro lifers. So women cannot count on any of the programs they used to count on because they have already been cut in many states. Not to mention most Republicans don't want to spend money to educate and train women for jobs with which they could better support their children. No one wants to feel forced to live a life on welfare even when it is there because that is a pretty destitute lifestyle so we either start really spending to help these women and that means paying tons more tax dollars to social programs or we should shut the f ... Up because we are just hypocrites.

Terry Kane
3 years 9 months ago

Karen -
What amendment are you referencing?

Tim Donovan
3 years 9 months ago

I agree that the original goal of the pro-life movement was to amend the Constitution to restore the right to life from fertilization to natural death. I do syupport an exception in the very rare cases to prevent the death of the pregnant woman. Ideally, I still support such an amendment (more on that later). Undoubtedly, I'll be called a misogynist for my views. However, I believe that I do understand (as do many if not most pro-life advocates) the difficulties faced by women who have unplanned or difficult pregnancies. In 1982, my best friend, Jerry, who was 19 and in college told me that his 17 year old high school senior girlfriend Rose was pregnant. Despite several difficulties (especially for his girlfriend who hadn't completed high school, and the still common at that time stigma of being pregnant out-of-wedlock) Rose gave birth to their baby boy just one,month after she turned 18 (and graduated from high school). My friends got married nine months later (yes, I know the timing was ironic). I was happy as both a friend and pro-life advocate to frequently babysit their son, buy him clothes and toys, and for several years drive Rose to and from work. (We both worked at a program for disabled adults). In time, my friend Jerry became a mechanical engineer, and Rose became a pharmacist. They eventually had three more children, and I was happy to help care for them as well. My friend Rose had an older sister who several years,before she (Rose) gave birth had had an abortion. Although I firmly disagreed with her decision, I didn't have feelings of "hatred" towards her. In fact, we got along well and both enjoyed helping to care for her sister's and boyfriend's (eventual husband's) baby, and other three children. Some years later, Rose's sister, a nurse had a baby when unmarried. For over 25 years, I worked with disabled children and adults in different capacities (for six years I was a Special Education teacher who instructed children with brain damage, some of whom had behavior disorders and/or physical disabilities). Also, my friend Rose had another sister, Eileen, who had a disabled child whom I babysat from time to time. Her child was mentally challenged, was autistic, and for awhile was primarily fed through a feeding tube. (I understood how to use a feeding tube; one of my students had such a tube, as,did one of the disabled men whom I worked with in a,group home. Ihad a feeding tube myself for severeal years sometime in the past because of difficulty swallowing which led to weight loss. Despite the frequent challenges of working with brain damaged or disabled children or adults, I generally enjoyed my experiences, and never thought one of my disabled students/clients/friends would have been better off killed by tye violence of legal abortion. Two quick asides. I still keep in touch with the mother of one of my disabled students, and each year send him a birthday and Christmas cards. When I worked in a group home with disabled men, I usually had to work on major holidays. I didn't really mind, as I frequently took one of my "clients", Paul, home for dinner with my family, even though he couldn't eat orally (but through a,tube). I cried when Paul died, and was permitted to take some photos of him from the group home and other simple toys which he used to entertain himself. I made a "memory book" which included various photos of Paul and descriptions of his,life. Life can be and often is,cha!lenging (one of my aunt's was catatonic for mozt of her life, and from age 15_until hsr death from breast cancer in her mid-sixties Aunt Dorothy lived in a state,mental institution). However, my Grandmom, her mother, frequently visited her by taking several buses from Philadelphia to Delaware State Mental Hospital. When my parents,married, my Dad drove my loving Grandmom and our family to Delaware to visit her. After my Grandmom died, my Mom, Dad and me continued to visit my aunt for several years until her death. Despite tye difficulties of life, I still believe that deliberately killing an unborn human being is a violation of human rights. Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton are radical decisions which permit legal aborrion for any reason up until tye time when the unborn infant (or fetus, which means "young one" in latin) is viable. According to fhe Supreme Court in Doe v. Bolton, states may permit legal abortion after the developing infant is viable for "health" reasons. The court defined health very broadly: it includes not only physical health, but emotional, psychological factors or the woman's age or familial situation. Although I don't believe that the majority of Americans is always right, surveys by the respected Gallup poll have for many years found that the majority of Americans (women as well as men) believe that abortion should be legal under either "a few circumstances" or "no circumstances."
A number of legal scholars including some who support legal abortion have criticized the legal reasoning of Roe. Years ago, I read an excellent book by Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon. It was titled "Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse." Prof. Glendon noted that prominent law Professor Lawrence Tribe who favored legal abortion nevertheless severely criticized Roe as having no basis in our Constitution.
Finally, it's true that for some years the goal of the pro-life movement has been to secure a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the decision to make laws regarding abortion to our elected state representatives. I'd prefer a Constitutional Amendment to protect human beings from fertilization to natural death. However, as this seems very unlikely, I do support the overturning of Roe. I believe that we as a society must protect not only the unborn from the violence of legal abortion, but other vulnerable people as well. These include the elderly who may be threatened by euthanasia, and those who are tempted to commit suicide (many of whom I believe are depressed). I'm a former longtime Democrat of more than 25 years (I'm now 56). I'm now a pro-life moderate Republican, but often still agree with the positions on important matters typically held by Democrats. I oppose capital punishment, and for years have been a pen pal with a man imprisoned for life for a serious crime. My friend is a devout Jehovah's Witness, whom I believe has reformed his life. I occasionally send him small amounts of cash for his personal needs. I support stringent gun control laws. Years ago, I found a handgun in my late Dad's bank safety deposit box. I immediately turned the gun into my local police department. I support reasonable regulations and policies to protect our environment, and occasionally send modest contributions to the Catholic Climate Covenant. Although I'm not a pacifist, I admire the courage of their convictions. I only favor war as a last resort after all diplomatic efforts have been exhausted. Of course, civilians must never be deliberately targeted. I also oppose the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Although I believe our country has the right to secure our borders, I don't support building a wall along our border with Mexico. I do believe that our country should welcome more immigrants. This is consistent in my view with God's word: "Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were once foreigners in Egypt." ( Exodus: 22:21). I do believe that in time peace can be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians. This means in my view that the Palestinians must renounce terrorism and acknowledge the right of Israel to exist within secure borders. Israel must not build new settlements, and must agree to recognize a Palestinian state. This may mean withdrawing from some occupied terrotories, but so be it. I also support reasonable government assistance to the millions of Americans in need. Among others, these include people who are disabled, elderly
(I live in a nursing home), homeless (I occasionally contribute small sums to a Philadelphia homeless shelter as well as Habitat for Humanity), veterans, the hungry (with due modesty, I occasionally contribute to a food bank that serves people in the Philadelphia area), the mentally ill (I have two.friends who are mentally ill, one of whom is scziophrenic), and people addicted to drugs, whether legal or illegal. Years ago, I had a serious drinking problem, and my nephew was in a rehabilitation center for alcohol abuse. When I-m able I contribute small sums to Alcoholics Anonymous. I also support raising the minimum wage. I also support universal health care, as long as it in no way funds abortion or abortive drugs. I am pro-life, so I believe in pursuing various efforts to protect unborn human beings. I support all peaceful protests (such as mass rallies and demonstrations outside abortion centers offering women alternatives to abortion). I also support political action, as well as education regarding the reality of abortion. I believe it should be kept in mind that there are many hundreds of alternative-to-abortion agencies nationwide, many of whom are largely staffed by women and men who are volunteers. I think that the oldest crisis pregnancy centers is Birthright. It was founded in 1968 by Louise Summerhill of Canada. According to their website, there are hundreds of Birthright agencies which offer pregnant women compassionate, practical assistance in the United States, Canada, and Africa. Also, Heartbeat International has some 2600 crisis pregnancy centers worldwide. There are two crisis pregnancy centers that I contribute to when I'm able. One is Mother's Home, in suburban Philadelphia. It is a shelter for pregnant women and their children. The home also provides other services for women and their babies, both for a time both before and after birth. The most comprehensive crisis pregnancy agency that I contribute to is Mom's House. This is a group of about six homes which provide quality day care for low income pregnant women so that they can complete their educations.

James Haraldson
3 years 9 months ago

Only a thoroughly corrupt and sick depraved heart, mind, and soul would characterized crushing the skull of a baby as "a right." Only a pocket of air in a cranium would characterize opposition to a self-evident evil as anything having to do with a "minority religious policy." When I was an atheist I opposed mass murder of the unborn like a lot of atheists. When I converted to Catholicism, I continued to oppose mass murder of the unborn. Only a profound fool would fail to recognize innate truths and innate rights, such as the right to life.

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

Again - where are the facts? hmm America where are they?

If You want to help parents choose to abort less, you need to add to your list of mother care and parental leave extensions the more expensive items that matter the most: universal health care for all, funding for free and easily accessed quality birth control, and tax paid public quality daycare for all. I know you have not put these on the list because we all know Republicans and most so called Pro-Lifers would never vote these things in to save a billion unborn children. This is true even though their fiendish opponents on the Pro-choice side of the fence, many would be willing to be taxed for these things and in order to lessen abortions being sought.

Again - the facts about abortion are that the U.S. (only while we have Roe v. Wade protections intact) and Western and Northern Europe, while they continue with their fairly easy access to abortion and free, easily accessed birth control, have the lowest abortion rates in the world. Meanwhile the countries with the strictest laws against abortion have the highest rates of abortion and maternal death rates in the world and this is not a coincidence. The church hierarchy has been well aware of this for over a decade and still refuses to make a different choice on how to fight abortion, proving our hierarchy does not really care about the lives of the unborn or lives of women but merely desires to control women's lives through laws that have been proven to be globally deadly to both the unborn and the born alike.

Facts about abortion: ( Thank God for Cut and Paste)

From Guttmacher: Abortion and Birth Control Stats.
(Notes from my other research on this topic - bottom)
REGIONAL INCIDENCE AND TRENDS:
• The highest annual rate of abortion in 2010–2014 was in the Caribbean, estimated at 59 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, followed by South America, at 48.
The lowest rates were in Northern America, at 17, and Western and Northern Europe—at 16 and 18, respectively.
• Across regions, Eastern Europe experienced the largest decline in the abortion rate, from 88 in 1990–1994 to 42 in 2010–2014. Despite this decline, there is a persistent gap in rates between Eastern and Western Europe (42 vs. 16) likely reflecting lower use of effective, modern contraceptive methods in Eastern Europe.
• The overall abortion rate in Africa was 34 per 1,000 women in 2010–2014. Subregional rates ranged from 31 in Western Africa to 38 in Northern Africa. There has been little if any change in abortion rates in these subregions since 1990–1994.
• For Latin America, subregional abortion rates range from 33 in Central America to 48 in South America. Rates have increased slightly since 1990–1994, but not by statistically significant amounts.
• Abortion rates in Asia have also fallen since 1990–1994, although not significantly. Asia’s subregions all have rates close to the regional average of 36 per 1,000 women.
• Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. When countries are grouped according to the grounds under which the procedure is legal, the rate is 37 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age where it is prohibited altogether or allowed only to save a woman’s life, compared with 34 per 1,000 where it is available on request, a nonsignificant difference.
• High levels of unmet need for contraception help explain the prevalence of abortion in countries with restrictive abortion laws.

What I have researched from other appropriate sources agrees with Guttmacher but also indicates the below information on this subject:
The World Health Organization Research agrees with the Guttmacher Research. Their results are almost identical.
However, neither the W.H.O. or Guttmacher can give us a solid conclusion, due to lack of evidence, as to what happens when countries offer easy access to quality birth control but make their abortion laws stricter. This is due to the fact that most countries either are lenient on both issues or they are strict on access to both abortion and birth control.
We could make some confident speculation, based on the global evidence that does exist, that in countries, currently, where laws are strict for both abortion and birth control or where both are criminalized, that were these countries to loosen up laws on birth control access alone and not on abortion, the abortion rates would come down more, and likely closer to where the Western and developed nations are at. However, these countries are not necessarily or likely to get quite as low as the western, industrialized, countries since there does exist evidence that the mere difficulty of access to abortion alone lends, especially in certain cases, to higher abortion rates by itself.
Unfortunately, in the countries where the laws for abortion become much stricter than in the past, such as may exist in the U.S. for the future, the amount of abortions could increase quite a bit even if birth control access remains easy and free. One of the reasons this is true is due to the fact that, in these countries, many women who get pregnant in their later years, 40s or older, often now seek to get an amnio to see if their fetus is healthy. They can only get this during the late part of the 3rd month or beginning of the fourth month of their pregnancy. With stricter laws, some of these women may decide they don't want to take the chance the fetus is unhealthy or has downs syndrome, and instead may opt to get an early abortion thru more easily, anonymously obtained, although perhaps illegally obtained, abortion pills. These pills become not an option in later months, and testing would put women in a position to not be able to deny they are pregnant, publicly, if they wait, so this puts the women at risk they could be charged with a crime if abortion becomes illegal. (Please note: I am not suggesting this is right or moral or Christian behavior but only that the reality exist and I personally know quite a few women who would fit this category, today, in the U.S. despite anyone's opinions or beliefs)
A horrible side effect of the above situation is this: 50% of all downs fetuses naturally miscarry in the first trimester, and 40% that make it to the 2nd trimester miscarry then. Fetuses that have other severe health issues often miscarry, naturally, within the first three - four months of pregnancy as well. The amount of downs fetuses that become born infants are very small amounts even for older women. This illness is still quite rare overall. This means many women could end up aborting perfectly healthy fetuses, by the thousands, each year, or more, to avoid the possibility of having an unhealthy baby, and this number increases if women already have other children. One way some western countries avoid this issue is that they keep early abortions legal and allow later abortions into the 4th and 5th month if the fetus has tested unhealthy or the woman's life is in real danger if she remains pregnant. Many married older women think they aren't fertile when they still are and stop taking birth control.
Lastly, there is no existing evidence that easy access to abortions, even throughout pregnancy, equates to more abortions, in any country, that has free and easy access to birth control. In fact, countries with easy access to abortion and also free easy access to birth control have the lowest rates in the world, and these rates lower even more when those countries offer mandated longer paid maternity/paternity leaves, free quality universal health care, and free, quality, public daycare. (The only exception to this seems to be Sweden. Despite Sweden's similarly ease of access to both abortion and birth control and it's offering many of the benefits listed above that other Western European Countries offer, it still has quite a high abortion rate. However, there is no evidence suggesting that tightening Sweden's existing laws would lower its rate for abortion and doing so would likely only raise it even higher.)
The evidence we do have seems to indicate, on a global scale, that despite what seems reasonable in theory, i.e., harsh abortion laws will lower abortion rates, is completely false when put to the test in reality. It just may be that easy access to abortion, and lenient abortion laws, help more to reduce abortion rates than having strict laws against abortion, in any country. Perhaps some morality issues simply cannot be solved by force or threat but must instead be dealt with by respecting the situation of the people involved and helping them out of their place of fear or desperation, with physical and material protections and emotional and spiritual support. We could do much more perhaps by encouraging a choice for good, and for life, without attempting to control women. We could choose to help women in real ways, instead of trying to corner them into doing the Christian thing.

Jose A
3 years 9 months ago

It's not figures that lie, it is liars who figure.

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

Thanks Jose - for the typical, emotional, nonsensical, irrational response I have come to expect as the normal Pro-Life reaction to reality based evidence on the issue of abortion.

Michael Burke
3 years 9 months ago

good God, what is your point?
France has 1/4 our abortions, it requires a tribunal after8 weeks
zero late abortions

second it is most important to save souls, ' corner them' huh?
as lawful abortion can seem acceptable to the young, thus it is
if itself a scandal. it is a law anathema to God, sin is one thing but making sin lawful another.
doing charity is required of course, but correcting the evil is also required
" how can anthing be unlawful, if a mother can kill her child legally" mither teresa
stop aborting , demand help with your pregnancy if u need help
those demands will b answered by a God who loves righteous anger

Jim Lein
3 years 9 months ago

Men stopping contributing to unwanted or problem pregnancies is the best way to reduce, or in theory eliminate, abortions. Men are the cause of such pregnancies and some men also pressure the woman to have an abortion. We need to clean up our act before we can push for a law change.

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

That is not true. You can have an abortion at almost any time in France if a doctor states it is necessary for the womens health.

Jose A
3 years 9 months ago

Let's just throw more figures at the problem that will remove the crime. I think I have seen this before. it has a liberal ring to it.

KATHERIN MARSH
3 years 9 months ago

Nora:
Wanted to read the Research Study backing the data you posted as "cut and paste" from Guttmacher. I cannot find it at Guttmacher. Would you please post the link to the Research behind your data?
I find it compelling for two reasons: You data seems to say that legalized abortion has been successful in reducing abortions. Conversely, the data as you have it here, also seems to say that ProLife has been successful in reducing abortions. It also seems to say that the number of abortions in the US, where abortion is now legal, equals the number os abortions in the US before abortion was legal. I would like more information about the study itself; the facts behind the data.
Thanks

Nora Bolcon
3 years 9 months ago

Hi katherine,

Hopefully I am not too late in responding back to you.
My comment does not state that pro life also helps to reduce abortion numbers any where with its stand on trying to illegalize abortion but only when it teaches and reminds women that pregnancy is about another life when In countries that allow abortion. Currently I am writing thru my phone so looking for links right now is not easy but I will try later. however, you should not have a problem finding this info on Guttmacher site. I merely googled do abortion laws lower abortion rates and the site was offered automatically. Guttmacher site is where I got that info and it is almost identical to the world health orgs site on abortion stats. So you can try that site too

Also you are correct as of last year it is has been written up in several articles that we believe due to the better access to quality birth control in the US due to Obamacare changes in the law we are now down to the abortion rate we believed we were at before abortion was legalized and possibly lower than that since illegal abortions in our history were most likely not always recorded. Unfortunately some states are trying to make access to both free birth control and abortion much harder now and in some of those states we have begun to see an increase in self aborting which could be a pre cursor to those states perhaps seeing arise in abortions in the future.

karen oconnell
3 years 9 months ago

movements such as these should not be considered '''pro-life.'' they are NOT pro-life. they are ANTI-abortion.!!!! to be pro-life is to be more integrated into the complexities...and the tragedies of life. it is an 'insult' to those who are really ''pro-life''....

Dr Robert Dyson
3 years 9 months ago

Abortion may be legal, but it is not compulsory. It is entirely open to an individual to choose not to have a termination on conscientious grounds; it is NOT open to an individual to prescribe for other individuals what they may and may not choose to do. Pro-lifers should perhaps reflect on this.

karen oconnell
3 years 9 months ago

but ..but... we do that all the time!!! our prisons...our laws are filled with citizens who are there because they 'did what we did not want them to do. i do agree with you that abortion is not (yet) compulsory.... no one is (yet) forced to have one due to a collective will.

Bev Ceccanti
3 years 9 months ago

Robert Dyson :A Doctor? Really? So how do you leave the other human being out of the equation? So much for the Hippocratic oath I guess. Infanticide ok too? Good for you Doc!

Mike Macrie
3 years 9 months ago

The last section of the article in providing real support ( Financial and Law Protections) for Mother and Child will definitely increase public support for Pro Life. But don’t expect Republican support for any increase benefits Including welfare that results in tax increases.

Tim O'Leary
3 years 9 months ago

While I agree we should be accurate in the interpretation of the effects of the changes to the law, I cannot see that we will ever be able to change hearts and minds by reacting like this is a debating club and not describing the true horror that is going on and the severe injustice that these legal campaigns are generating. Would the Editors ever take such a stance on immigration, if thousands were being killed on the border every year, and politicians were now proposing stationing machine guns at entry gates and their legal allies were removing them from the definition of personhood? They seem like the Free Soil Party that tried to find a middle ground between the slaverholders and the abolitionists. Their strategy did not work. We needed the strong language of MLK Jr. or Lincoln to move the majority from their usual moral slumber. Wasn't the problem in pre-war Germany that many (including the Church) tried to accommodate and adjust to the increasingly fierce laws being introduced against all but supposed Aryans.

Beyond the sheer moral injustice of it all for the unborn, there are the millions facing a very bad judgment day ("whatever you did for the least.."). I know the Church is well aware of the great evil of abortion. It is in its Catechisms and Canon law and doctrinal statements in severe language. It is spoken out about by Pope and Bishop and priest. But, the Church has grown lax in its implementation of its teaching and by this neglect is putting millions of souls in eternal jeopardy by not excommunicating every politician and practitioner and not teaching forcefully enough. There are millions of Americans going to Judgment Day with an unrepentant murder or two or hundreds in their past. They are facing a terrible eternity.

Colin Jory
3 years 9 months ago

You are ever so right, Tim O'Leary, in your comment, "I cannot see that we will ever be able to change hearts and minds by reacting like this is a debating club". Alas, very many pro-life activists, without realising it, make "benignity" an absolute, and effectiveness against abortion relative to that. That is to say, even if it dawns on them that "being benign" means being ignored as innocuous, and thus being totally ineffective, they will not change. They regard any speech or action which makes women who have aborted their unborn; who want to have the option to do so because of their sexual life-styles; or who are active pro-abortionists, feel uncomfortable as unthinkable. Alas, the editors of America in their above three-point counsel against "pro-life absolutism" seem to show this very mind-set. Their three points amount to nothing more than niceness-posturing, and would certainly be endorsed by Planned Parenthood as excellent guidelines for the pro-Life cause as constituting inducements to pro-Lifers to imprison themselves within their own comfort zones where they can be ever-so-nice, harmless, and utterly ineffectual.

KATHERIN MARSH
3 years 9 months ago

Tim:
Teaching our doctrine this way: "there are millions facing a very bad judgment day" is ineffective.
I do, however, believe this Church does effective catechesis when she tells us "practicing" Catholics that we must provide healthcare, food, nurturing, education, clothing, shelter, for the pregnant woman and her baby; perhaps for the whole of their lives. When WE do not do that then we face the consequences of a very bad judgment day.

Tim O'Leary
3 years 9 months ago

Katherin - Jesus said much harsher things regarding injury to the least among us and implied billions and not millions face a bad Judgment Day when He said ""Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." (Mt 7:13). It is He you should listen to. I fully agree we have an obligation to both mother and child, but not killing either is the beginning of all obligations.

Judith Jordan
3 years 9 months ago

What did Jesus specifically say about abortion?

The latest from america

For Thanksgiving week, “Inside the Vatican” is bringing you a brief update on a few of the top Vatican stories.
Inside the VaticanNovember 24, 2022
Israeli far-right lawmaker and the head of "Jewish Power" party, Itamar Ben-Gvir visits at Hatikva Market in Tel Aviv during his campaign. Israel's outgoing coalition was one of its most diverse, but the country's incoming coalition is hoping to roll back many of the achievements of the former government. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)
Mere “survival should not be the utmost ambition for a people in democratic countries, but rather prosperity and welfare. I believe that Israel is going to be more Jewish and much less democratic, and we’ll all pay the price for that.”
Judith SudilovskyNovember 23, 2022
A Reflection for Saturday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time, by Zac Davis
Zac DavisNovember 23, 2022
A Reflection for Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time, by Colleen Dulle
Colleen DulleNovember 23, 2022