Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Soon I Will Stop Blogging About Abortion

...but that day is not yet, because Alas, a Blog has some fascinating statistics. (Link is to the non-Catholic version - if you're a religious Catholic, you might prefer to read this version of the same post.)
Pro-life laws may prevent a few abortions; but they don't prevent enough to be measured statistically, or to have a noticeable effect on birthrates. That may seem counterintuitive, but it actually makes sense. Why? Because most women don't have abortions lightly. They have abortions because they are feeling very determined, or perhaps very desperate, and the anti-abortion laws don't seem just to them. When something is desperately wanted by consumers - and when that something is fairly easy to supply - outlawing it won't make it actually unavailable. [...]

Here's another statistic to consider: Which countries have the least abortion? Belgium has an abortion rate of 6.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44. The Netherlands, 6.5. Germany, 7.8. Compare that to the USA's rate of 22. Even better, compare it to countries where abortion is illegal: Egypt, 23; Brazil, 40; Chile, 50; Peru, 56.
I cannot even begin to express my joy that someone is bringing concrete figures into a debate which - on both sides - usually depends on rhetoric. The data is followed by an eminently reasonable argument for a demand-side, rather than a supply-side, approach to reducing abortions. Hear, hear.