Republicans like to call Obama and Democrats “baby killers”, and yet the total number and rate of reported abortions fell by 5% between 2008 and 2009.
That might not sound like a big change, but it is. In a newly released study, the CDC says, “The change from 2008 to 2009 represented the largest single year decrease in the total number and rate of reported abortions for the entire period from 2000 to 2009.” (2009 is the latest year for which there is data.)
It’s ironic that this occurred under President Obama, when the Republican Party has made abortion their banner issue.
Additionally, to that utterly incorrect smear of the right, “(F)rom 2000 to 2009 the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 6%, 7%, and 8%, respectively, to the lowest levels for this entire period.” And, “91.7% of abortions were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation.”
In defiance of reality, Newt Gingrich accused President Obama of being a baby-killer when asked about his plan to have employers’ insurance plans cover contraception. Not true. (We note that as usual, Newt’s response was unrelated to the question, but these sorts of answers conveniently serve to reverse logic, in order to meld baby-killing with contraception with Obama in the public’s mind.)
There are many factors impacting abortion rates, but the single largest is unintended pregnancy. Unintended pregnancy is the major contributor to abortion. The study concludes that what we must do is identify women at risk of unintended pregnancy and get them access to prevention, also known as birth control:
Because unintended pregnancies are rare among women who use the most effective methods of reversible contraception, increasing access to and use of these methods can help further reduce the number of abortions performed in the United States. The data in this report can help program planners and policy makers identify groups of women at greatest risk for unintended pregnancy and help guide and evaluate prevention efforts.
Yes, we could do that, if our policy makers actually wanted to deal with reality, but Republicans won’t let us. Republicans have already reduced access to birth control under the guise of “religious freedom”. Sadly, Republicans are using their alleged religious beliefs to generate more abortions by increasing the one sure thing that leads to an abortion – an unintended pregnancy.
Here’s a statistic that will most likely change given Republican-imposed restrictions to abortion, “(N)o women died as a result of a known illegal abortion.”
Given that unintended pregnancy precedes nearly all abortions, the researchers conclude that providing no-cost contraception can reduce abortion rates. “Research has shown that providing no-cost contraception increases use of the most effective methods and can reduce abortion rates (88,89). Removing cost as one barrier to the use of the most effective contraceptive methods might therefore be an important way to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and consequently the number of abortions that are performed in the United States.”
But while Republicans want to legislate medical care, they also want to restrict access to birth control. In fact, the same mostly white men who claim to be upset over abortion being legal are also adamantly opposed to contraception being covered under Obamacare. They claim they have religious reasons to oppose contraception, and yet they are also opposed to abortion. Their position does not make sense.
Republicans are posturing that they care about abortion by trying to make it illegal and defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides the very access to low cost contraception that drives down abortion rates.
Someone should explain these facts to Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), who is angry at Obama for wanting to fund Planned Parenthood, which he accused of being created for “the sole purpose of killing children…” Actually, Planned Parenthood reduces abortion rates, particularly among poor women, so Huelskamp wants to defund the organization that represents the real culture of life.
If anyone’s policies are deserving of the label “baby-killer”, it is the Republicans, right next to “women-killer” given the Republican National Party’s platform which seeks to pass a constitutional amendment that would extend legal rights to the unborn (essentially banning abortion in all cases). This is the same platform Republicans had in 2004 and 2008, and yet “year-to-year variation from 2006 to 2008 resulted in no net change during this later period.”
Republicans lost national security to President Obama and fiscal conservatism to both Clinton and Obama. Now they stand to lose their only remaining banner issue; abortion.
The largest single-year decrease since 2000 happened under President Obama in 2009. But even without these numbers, the data from the CDC supports Obama’s and the Democratic party’s policies as policies that reduce the number of abortions. Their policies seek to reduce abortions by providing low or no cost access to contraception. Obama’s policies are proven by research to actually work to reduce abortion. Obama’a policies also seek to protect women’s lives, thereby creating a real culture of life from either perspective.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.