Sunday, February 11, 2007

Interesting piece by Mark Crutcher

4 Politics
[W]hether it is caused by a shortage of providers or an increased cost for the procedure, the abortion rate falls like a blind roofer when access to abortion is reduced. That reality explains something many in the abortion industry have long lamented: the cost of an abortion has not significantly changed since Roe vs. Wade.

At a September 1997, National Abortion Federation Seminar, Colorado abortionist Warren Hern pointed out that he can only charge $15 more for an abortion today than fellow abortionist Milan Vuitch was charging in 1972. At another National Abortion Federation meeting held earlier in 1997, Hern was quoted as saying, "... if you raise your [abortion] fees $25 to meet the cost for having an ultrasound machine ... the patient load plummets."

CPCs are adding ultrasound machines all over the country and they're not charging women $25 a pop for ultrasounds. And an ultrasound machine is an elective tool for a CPC; it's not a medical necessity like it is for an abortion facility, where the doctor needs to verify the gestational age, the configuration of the woman's uterus (When you're seeing that many women, you'll encounter women with abnormalities of the reproductive tract; and these unusual configurations can cause complications if they're not adjusted for.), and, in later procedures, the orientation of the fetus.
This pricing phenomenon can't be attributed to normal competitive pressures. After all, the abortion industry openly admits that there is a critical shortage of abortionists, and as anyone with a basic understanding of economics knows, when the supply of something is short, the cost is supposed to go up.

The exception is when there is some outside influence that is powerful enough to neutralize price increases that would have otherwise occurred due to short supply. Where it exists, the marginality of the decision to buy can be such an outside influence, having the ability to easily trump a shortage-driven increase in cost.

And that's the key here. [T]he cost of an abortion has remained flat for the last 25 years only because the women who have them won't pay more.

In some abortion-industry conferences, speakers have tried to attribute abortion price stagnation to competition between clinics. However, the fact that prices don't rise when the number of clinics decrease exposes that argument as a lie. Even in areas where there is only one abortion clinic, prices don't increase appreciably.

That leads to an obvious conclusion: contrary to what the abortion industry has always claimed, the decision to abort is profoundly marginal. The data suggests that abortion decisions are more often driven by access issues (price and location) than desperation.

Does anybody have any good links on this phenomenon? I know that Nancy Howell Lee's "The Search for an Abortionist" found that, among women seeking illegal abortion, there was virtually no ambivalence. The women Howell spoke to had firmly, irrevocably, unquestioningly wanted abortions.

Whereas after legalization, Frederica Mathewes-Green held focus groups with women who had undergone abortions, and found a profound ambivalence.

Here's where Crutcher starts to get to the meat of the matter:

And not only has the abortion industry always known that access controls the abortion rate, they have also figured out that the abortion rate controls the legal status of abortion.

First, Crutcher addresses financial issues, noting at the outset that American politics are largely money-driven. The special interest that can pour the most money into an effort is more likely to be successful.

Crutcher points out that abortion advocacy efforts are largely judicial, rather than legislative. Grassroots efforts will get laws passed, a prochoice group will then challenge the laws and get them enjoined by the courts.
I suspect that if an independent analysis were done, it would reveal that political contributions from advocates for the two sides are roughly equal. If either side has an edge, it would more likely be the pro-life side - not necessarily because there are more of us, but because we appear more likely to be single-issue voters. In recent national elections, polls have shown that among people who say that the abortion issue alone drives their voting decisions, twice as many vote pro-life as vote pro-choice. It would not be unreasonable to assume that contributions mirror voting-at least to some degree.

That still doesn't answer the question of where the abortion industry gets the money to consistently outspend us in the political arena.

The answer is that they get it from the women who have abortions. Let's say that a fifteen-year-old girl goes into an abortion clinic and gives the abortionist $350 .... Most of that money goes to pay salaries, taxes, overhead, profit, etc. However, every abortionist knows that if his political defenders are not successful, the pro-lifers will put him out of business. Therefore, he is going to pour some of that girl's money into the political machine that's trying to keep abortion legal. That way, the next girl can come in and give him money ..., and so on, and so on. In effect, pro-abortion political activists function as a trade organization for the abortion industry.

Operation Rescue West recently had a long hard look at how George Tiller put money into the political arena, and the benefits he's reaped therefrom.

Crutcher turns next to philosophy.
When someone participates in an activity that they feel is morally justifiable, they are generally comfortable defending it to others who may believe it is wrong. However, when someone does something in spite of a belief that it is wrong, they are often extremely defensive about it. .... And the greater the sense that one has violated his own moral belief system, the more strongly this sensitivity is felt. ....

This same dynamic also impacts the political arena. When a candidate for office takes a pro-life position, voters with abortion experiences hear the candidate calling them murderers. So does that make them more likely or less likely to vote for that candidate?

Crutcher postulates that people who have been involved in an abortion are therefore likely to almost reflexively reject a candidate that rejects abortion. I'd have to disagree with him to some extent on this: I think that if the person is still defensive about the abortion, he or she will likely reject a pro-life politician. But post-abortion women are among the most vehement and adamant of prolifers, and they'll likely reject any abortion-supporting politician and reject a politician who supports abortion.

Crutcher goes on to his "political conclusion":
It’s time for the pro-life movement to accept certain realities. First, neither the church nor the Republican party is going to help us. More often than not, they are part of the problem, not the solution.

I think trying to get the church involved politically is a mistake. The job of the church is to address sin, not to organize political movements. The job of the church is to encourage virtue and discourage sin (which will lower the rate of unwed or adulterous pregnancy, which contribute immensely to the abortion rate), to encourage trust in God (which will reduce the frequency with which people commit the sin of abortion out of panic), offer practical help and moral support (known to ease women's fears and help them to reject abortion), and pray, pray, pray.

As for the Republican Party, it exists, like any other political party, to perpetuate itself. As long as a prolife politician gets an edge at the polls, there will be no real motivation to end abortion. Why end a problem that gains you an edge at the polls?
Second, this is a war and .... the first rule of war is that the goal is not to kill your opponents, but to destroy their ability to continue the fight.

[O]ur opponents’ ability to continue fighting comes from a high abortion rate. That is what fuels their political machine. As long as they have $64,000 an hour to draw on, and the potential for at least 4,000 new pro-abortion voters every day, the legal status of abortion will never change. That is simply too much inertia for us to overcome.

Compound that with their absolute stranglehold on the American media, and the idea that we can return legal protection to the unborn without first lowering the abortion rate is seen for what it really is ... utterly laughable.

I'm not going to go into any lengthy analysis. I'm just bringing this up for discussion.

I will, however, say that I'd love to see abortion recriminalized, but I am not fool enough to think that this alone can reduce abortion to the bare minimum human effort can reduce it to. (As long as there are human beings, some of them will persist in committing atrocities, including abortion.) And the ultimate goal needs to be reducing abortion to the bare minimum that human efforts can reduce it to.

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