Finder (Mon 10/25/04 8:26:02 AM)

I was editing a Fuller professor’s website today, for this short essay he just did on how Bush and the Republican Party isn’t really Pro-Life, if you look at how abortion has actually raised since he took office. I pasted the article below, it is short so you should check it out, especially if you are one of the one issue voters. If you want the rest of the story the website is posted below and under the Green Book in the middle of the page you will find “Data Sources and information Supporting Abortion’s Rise” but that material is somewhat more daunting to work through.

My Two sense (one motivation for why i am posting the article):
-The point I want to make is that abortion and other pop ethical issues should be more a concern of the church than of the country. The church has grown lax because we supposedly live in a Christian nation with a Christian President – we (the church) don’t have to deal pro-actively with these issues because we think somebody in some office is taking care of it for us. Christendom puts the church out of buisness and makes way for the kind of passive “spiritualized” Christianity we have these days.

THE ARTICLE

Pro-Life?  Look at the Fruits
By Dr. Glen Stassen

I am a Christian ethicist, and trained in statistical analysis.  I am consistently pro-life. My son David is one witness.  For my family, “pro-life??? is personal. My wife caught rubella in the eighth week of her pregnancy. We decided not to terminate, to love and raise our baby. David is legally blind and severely handicapped; he also is a blessing to us and to the world.

I look at the fruits of political policies more than words. I analyzed the data on abortion during the George W. Bush presidency. There is no single source for this information – federal reports go only to 2000, and many states do not report – but I found enough data to identify trends.  My findings are counterintuitive and disturbing.

Abortion was decreasing. When President George W. Bush took office, the nation’s abortion rates were at a 24-year low, after a 17.4% decline during the 1990s. This was an average decrease of 1.7% per year, mostly during the latter part of the decade.  (The data come from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life using the Guttmacher Institute’s studies.)

Enter George W. Bush in 2001.  One would expect the abortion rate to continue its consistent course downward, if not plunge.  Instead, the opposite happened.

I found sixteen states that have posted statistics for 2001 and 2002. The number of abortions in those states increased in that one year by a total of 6,207. The ten states for which I have data for 2000 and 2001 had an increase of 4,067 in 2001, and the five states for which I have data in 2003 had an increase of 5,651 by comparison with 2000. Since these are actual reports and not merely polls of states with about thirty million women, The Z-test of statistical significance shows these increases were significant beyond 99.99% as representative of the U.S. It extrapolates to an increase of about 20,000 per year in the fifty states, instead of the expected decline of 28,000. That means 48,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been expected before this change of direction.

How could this be?  I see three contributing factors:

First, two thirds of women who abort say they cannot afford a child (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life website). In the past three years, unemployment rates increased half again. Not since Hoover had there been a net loss of jobs during a presidency until the current Administration. Average real incomes decreased, and for seven years the minimum wage has not been raised to match inflation. With less income, many prospective mothers fear another mouth to feed. 

Second, half of all women who abort say they do not have a reliable mate (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life). Men who are jobless usually do not marry. Only three of the sixteen states had more marriages in 2002 than in 2001, and in those states abortion rates decreased. In the sixteen states overall, there were 16,392 fewer marriages than the year before, and 6,207 more abortions. As male unemployment increases, marriages fall and abortion rises.

Third, women worry about health care for themselves and their children. Since 5.2 million more people have no health insurance now than before this presidency – with women of childbearing age overrepresented in those 5.2 million – abortion increases.

The U.S. Catholic bishops warned of this likely outcome if support for families with children was cut back. My wife and I know – as does my son David – that doctors, nurses, hospitals, medical insurance, special schooling, and parental employment are crucial for a special child. David attended the Kentucky School for the Blind, as well as several schools for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. He was mainstreamed in public schools as well. We have two other sons, and five grandchildren, and we know that every mother, every father, and every child needs public and family support.

What does this tell us? Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative. Rhetoric is hollow, mere tinkling brass, without healthcare, health insurance, jobs, childcare, and a living wage. Pro-life in deed, not merely in word, means we need a president who will do something about jobs and health insurance and support for prospective mothers.

Glen Stassen is the Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, and the co-author of Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, Christianity Today’s Book of the Year in theology or ethics.

Published by

Wess

...is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.