The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Abortion laws may not reduce abortion rates

with 6 comments

If the pro-life community succeeded in re-instating Roe v. Wade, would it get what it’s after? I’ve wondered about this for some time: Is outlawing abortion effective?

It may not be; in fact, it may be true that those who work to address the reasons abortions occur have contributed more to abortion’s decline than those who have cheered for a return to Roe. Would it not be ironic if we discovered Democrats have done more to reduce abortion rates than Republicans have?

clipped from
ROME, Oct. 11 — A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it.
The data also suggested that the best way to reduce abortion rates was not to make abortion illegal but to make contraception more widely available, said Sharon Camp, chief executive of the Guttmacher Institute.
In Eastern Europe, where contraceptive choices have broadened since the fall of Communism, the study found that abortion rates have decreased by 50 percent, although they are still relatively high compared with those in Western Europe. “In the past we didn’t have this kind of data to draw on,” Ms. Camp said. “Contraception is often the missing element” where abortion rates are high, she said.

  blog it

Perhaps there’s a principle at work here we do well to heed: force doesn’t work very well. It may sound righteous. It may make me feel like I’ve “taken a stand.” It may soothe my sense of helplessness (sounds like blogging!)

But people slowly caring for people is probably what makes lasting change. Whether I am pro-life or pro-choice, I have a great deal in common with others on the subject. We could work together.

On the other hand, caring for is a whole lot more demanding than rallying against.

Ask Jesus.

Tags: , , , , , , Monte Asbury

Written by Monte

October 22, 2007 at 2:35 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Monte, you wrote: “. . .many people simply don’t trust CPCs to give unbiased information.”

    But they trust Planned Parenthood and others who profit from abortions to do so? Wow!
    I am not sure which laws I said I opposed or what behaviors I would have proscribed that you are taking issue with here. Let me say absolutely that I am for saving anyone’s life that’s in jeopardy and have helped to do so on several occasions, directly and indirectly. What “limits on freedom to save poor people” did I ever oppose?

    “Limits on freedom” is a loaded phrase, anyway. It sounds so evil, but look at it another way. We all oppose limits on freedom, such as prohibitions of theft, rape, and murder, to name some obvious ones. Nobody has, or should have, freedom to do absolutely anything he or she wants. Agreed?

    I believe that abortion is the intentional taking of an innocent life when it is at its most vulnerable stage of all. That just feels wrong to me, even if I didn’t think that God’s Word implies it, too.


    November 1, 2007 at 2:06 am

  2. If both sides want fewer abortions, then why does one side oppose informed consent, parental notification, a waiting period, and better regulation of abortion clinics? Why don’t they support Crisis Pregnancy Centers that give women information about all options and provide her them with the support that they need?

    I don’t think that we have to choose between caring about the woman and working to ban abortion. I know lots of people who do both.

    For me, a legal ban on abortion is not about punishing anyone or even about stopping abortions. It’s about our view as a society that life is sacred and inviolable.

    Monte says: “If both sides want fewer abortions, then why does one side oppose informed consent, parental notification, a waiting period, and better regulation of abortion clinics?” I’m under the impression that some states have laws that do some of those things. It seems unlikely to me that those calling themselves “pro-life” were a majority in their legislatures. Probably, some pro-choice people and some pro-life people have worked together and listened to each other, and found common ground.

    “Why don’t they support Crisis Pregnancy Centers that give women information about all options and provide her them with the support that they need?”
    Easy – many good people simply don’t trust CPCs to give unbiased information.

    Most importantly, when we were talking about the poor dying, rather than pre-born babies, I believe you opposed laws that required certain behaviors in order to save lives. Now you argue in favor of laws that require behavior that prevents loss of life. Why oppose limits on freedom to save poor people, then favor them to save unborn babies?

    We agree about this: it’s about societal views. In the values of this world – and evangelicalism has been utterly worldly in this regard – the lives of the poor aren’t sacred.


    October 29, 2007 at 10:34 pm

  3. It seems to me that both “sides” – if we are honest – want the same thing… fewer abortions. Why can’t we work together to accomplish that? Frankly, it’s beyond me.

    Monte Says: I agree. Somehow the whole thing gets stalled by name-calling and demonizing extreme views, which very few hold. And in Conservative Christian circles, “taking our stand” has somehow become more holy than cooperation to do good. Perhaps this is dying modernism, part of which seems to be the idea that in order for me to be right, everybody else must be wrong, and the enemy. Maybe we need a little more humility!


    October 24, 2007 at 2:37 am

  4. One of the most frustrating things about growing up in a right-wing Christian home is being told that democrats enjoy abortions. What a way to demonize someone.

    I’m not totally on board with Hillary Clinton, but I do think that she has some good views on abortion. And I think that the one thing that most republicans and democrats can agree on concerning abortion is that it needs to be rare.

    For the most part, Republicans simply want to outlaw abortions, while democrats simply want to address the issues behind abortions-but I don’t think it’s one or the other.

    Monte Says: Another good comment, DB. If Christians can be persuaded that outlawing abortion is the main issue, we can excuse ourselves from developing relationships with people who disagree; they are merely enemies to be overpowered. Then we become Pharisees, looking down our noses at people of other views. How contrary to the way of Jesus!

    I quit using pro-life materials some years back when a video suggested that abortion providers simply pitched an “easy way out,” and were callous murderers. That utterly ignores the fact that thousands of people in women’s healthcare are there out of compassion, and genuinely view abortion as a very difficult matter, reluctantly chosen, that may (in their eyes) offer the greatest mercy for mother and baby. I may disagree with their view, but giving one’s life in compassionate service to others has more in common with Jesus than does the condemnation and distortion so often pitched in pro-life propaganda.

    I also had a much-respected godly friend who worked for Planned Parenthood, who had nothing to do with abortions, who provided priceless healthcare and a listening ear to women, some of whom had little hope of encountering a supportive person elsewhere in their lives. It was a wonderful ministry of mercy. I learned much, saw Jesus in her and her work, and wanted to endure with her the ill will she sometimes received from Christians over it.


    October 24, 2007 at 12:10 am

  5. As a new and young nurse, 40 years ago, I remember caring for women choosing abortion. Out of conflicting dictates: 1. care for people-my job 2. judge people-my church, I decided caring was easier, more familiar and at times there were even (gasp!) smiles and gratitude. I felt vaguely guilty, at the time, for not judging better. All these years later I find I chose well. Those girls were my age, I had not thought of them in years. Thanks for the post Monte. It appears I’ve been agreeing with you for years.
    PS, it is always a bit eerie when I find I’ve been ‘Jesus’ again.

    Monte Says: Ah, Sharmie, you always learn from Jesus. I think you agreed with him before I did on this one. There’s so much that is more complex than it’s been represented; caring for people, on the other hand, is pretty hard to go wrong with.


    October 22, 2007 at 7:34 pm

  6. I very much agree with your perspective. Many who might call themselves Christians are often more willing to criminalize the woman considering an abortion than they are willing to hold her hand, walk beside her and show her the love and mercy Christ has shown to all who come to him.

    Monte Says: Thanks! I am not sure if laws criminalize the woman who has an abortion or the person who gives it, but in either case I believe Jesus would walk beside with love and mercy. His wrath, in the gospels, seemed reserved for the ultra-religious, who would follow the rules but care little for others. No doubt there is self-righteousness on both sides of this debate (if it really can be said to have two sides at all); I’m just more familiar with the conservative version.


    October 22, 2007 at 3:08 pm

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