Monday, September 30, 2013

An Update from Hiatus

Yesterday I was at church picking up my kids from their weekend retreat, and a friend at church came over to me, laughing -- because on a lark he Googled my name and was astounded by some of the things which are said about me on the internet.  However, as I said, he was laughing because he's my friend and therefore has the starch to get the joke implied there rather than to ask me whether or not, for example, I am leading a Jekyll-and-Hyde existence.

He pointed me to a couple of links in particular which he found which were especially toxic (and unsurprisingly: link free; they accused me of things unsubstantiated), and asked me how I can abide such things.  I told him that a clear conscience is it own reward, and thought nothing of it.

But I did look, which was a mistake.  In particular, I looked at some links which implied I had my statistics about abortion wrong.  Well, say what you want about me when there are no facts involved -- you're welcome to your internal dialog.  When there are facts on the line, we should at least make sure they are front-and-center when we start saying someone on the internet is wrong.

Here's a table of data from the CDC regarding birth rates in the United States:

That table reports all live births, all abortions, and the ratio of abortions per 10,000 live births.  The reason for making that comparison is that the rate of abortions is relevant to track whether or not abortion is becoming more prevalent, less prevalent, or staying about level.

This is a sticking point, I am certain, for the hard-core who think I am somehow soft on abortion because look at the table:  there were more abortions in 2008 than there were in 1974.  More babies died in abortion in 2008 than in 1974, so there's no way that's an improvement, right? Well, problematically, there were also more babies born in 2008 than there were in 1974 -- so how can we tell whether women are choosing abortion more often or less often?  How can we tell if, for example, closing 37% of all abortion clinics over the last 30 years has actually impacted the rate of abortion in our country?  Let's be plain about this: the question "out there" on the internet right now, when considering my grasp of these facts, is that I am somehow defective in my understanding because the number of abortions in 2008 is higher than it was when Roe V. Wade opened the flood gates.

Well, objectively, the year with the highest number of abortions in the US was 1990 with 1.608 million abortions, and in 2008 there were 1.212 million abortions.  That's a difference -- a decrease -- of 25% in raw deaths by abortion.  That's a significant dip in raw counts, and those who would say we can't judge whether or not the pro-life movement is making any impact are whistling in the dark.

But it actually gets worse for them when we consider the rate of abortion compared to the number of births.

1981 was the worst year on-record for the ratio of abortions to 10,000 live births equal to 4346 -- an effective rate of 43.5%.  When we compare that to where we were in 2008 (2854 per 10,000 live births, an effective rate of 28.5%), the reduction is 34.3%, which correlates almost directly to the number of abortion clinics closed in the same period of time.

1.2 million murdered babies is still a national tragedy.  This data does not undermine that  indisputable fact that the reason this happens in our nation is that the Law allows it, and most of the political discourse hides the faces of murdered babies behind the faces of women who want to have pre-marital sex without any regard to the lives that it may effect, and buries the deep and unflappable racism of the abortion culture.  But factually: the side of the angels is winning this war by inches, and every life saved is a life saved.  Minimizing the real victories in order to justify vitriolic and anti-Gospel methods because the path of the pro-life movement hasn't stopped all abortions yet is short-sighted at best, and I'll be glad to be the guy who takes flack for calling out people who are, frankly, don't know how to account for the value of one life in this contest, let alone the trend toward saving more.


Michael Coughlin said...

Do twins count as 2 births or 1?

Michael Coughlin said...

Are you on hiatus from answering commenter's questions, too?

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