Friday, August 01, 2008

Scaring women to death

False fears spreading about inaccessible abortion in South Dakota notes the alarmism already brewing, and provides an example -- Last of the Old Guard: Abortion providers retire in the West, leaving their posts empty. This article laments the lack of "access" and paints self-induced abortion (their example being a woman who poisoned herself with whiskey) as the only option for a pregnant woman facing challenges.

At no point does the article mention prolife pregnancy centers, churches, or other organizations or programs to help pregnant and parenting women. It's pure gloom, doom, and despair.

There is also no focus on the fact that states like Wyoming and its neighbors are clearly doing very well with abortion prevention, as shown in the most recent Abortion Surveillance Summary (emphasis mine):

In 2004, the highest number of reported legal induced abortions occurred in Florida (91,710), NYC (91,673), and Texas (74,801); the fewest occurred in Wyoming (12), South Dakota (814), and Idaho (963). The abortion ratios by state or area of occurrence ranged from [a low of] 43 per 1,000 live births in Idaho to 770 per 1,000 in NYC. Among women aged 15--44 years, rates by occurrence ranged from [a low of] three per 1,000 women in Idaho to 30 per 1,000 in New York.

Table 3 shows South Dakota women undergoing a total of 942 legal abortions (including women who traveled out of state), a rate of 6 per 1000 women of childbearing age, and a ratio of 83 abortions for every 1,000 live births. But instead of asking what states like Idaho and South Dakota are doing right, abortion cheerleaders are lamenting "lack of access".

Let's face it, we have a very real-life research project happening naturally. It seems as if people who cry, "Join us in prevention efforts!" are unwilling to look at what these states are doing to achieve low abortion rates and ratios. Instead of asking what more these states could do, asking how low an abortion rate and ratio is actually attainable, abortion enthusiasts instead focus on bringing in more "providers" -- when clearly a low number of abortionists is associated with low abortion ratios and rates. Why screw up a good thing? What's the real agenda?

Why not point out the resources that the women of South Dakota, Idaho, and Wyoming have been using to avoid abortions? Why not look at which women are falling through the cracks, seeking ways to reach them? Why just go on and on about how women will be driven to acts of despair and desperation, unless the goal is to isolate the women as much as possible and magnify their fears until those fears block out all hope?

And it all hearkens back to the sackcloth-and-ashes routine the abortion lobby put on when the Hyde Amendment was coming down the pike. Abortion advocates shouted from the housetops that women would have no options but seedy illegal abortionists or dangerous home abortions. Actual help -- or even private abortion funds and sliding-scale abortions -- were not mentioned as being available. And abortion fanatics got what they wanted -- a corpse to drag through the streets.

The goal here isn't to help pregnant women; it's to literally scare at least one of them to death, to provide another Rosie Jimenez that the abortion lobby can make into a poster child.

There's nothing the prolife movement can do to prevent the abortion cheerleaders from pursuing this goal. But there are things that reasonable citizens on both sides can do to prevent them from achieving it:

1. Highlight -- with pride -- how the vast majority of women of these states are smart, responsible, and resourceful enough to avoid abortions.

2. Tell their stories. Focus on all the ways they avoid abortions, from avoiding ill-timed pregnancies in the first place to coping effectively and successfully with challenging pregnancies when they do occur.

3. Publicize resources available to women who want to emulate their abortion-avoiding sisters.

4. Locate and address areas of concern.

5. Set goals. Each state should be trying to achieve the same abortion rate and ratio that the next most-successful state achieved the last reported year. State the goal, publicize the goal, and challenge citizens to work together toward achieving that goal. And for Idaho, which is already the most successful state, aim toward cutting the abortion ratio and rate in half.

I'd suggest a two-pronged PR campaign, with one prong highlighting success, and the other addressing the opposition -- "Don't let them scare you to death!"

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