Friday, July 09, 2010

Is Abortion a Class Issue?

Recently, I’ve been reading a number of articles by anti-abortion advocates discussing the “racial genocide” of legalized abortion. I think the argument is that, because abortion rates are higher in the black community, advocates of legal abortion are promoting the genocide of that community. It’s a problematic argument, for both pro-lifers and pro-choicers, for reasons that would seem obvious, but apparently aren’t.

I don’t know if it’s ‘epistemic closure’, but I suspect you have to be a conservative for the argument to resonate; or, more accurately, be anti-liberal, since the underlying message seems to be that liberals are glaringly hypocritical: they’re allegedly concerned about the black community, while accepting higher abortion rates in that community.

But I’m not entirely sure why pro-lifers are making this case, when the data they’ve highlighted suggests instead that both sides of the ‘debate’ are looking at the wrong issue by focusing on the laws. A few points stand out: 1. the black community has a fairly high level of Christian evangelical religiosity; 2. it has a higher poverty rate than the general population; and 3. it has a higher abortion rate than the general population. So it seems a logical inference that abortion is a social issue; that a woman who has very little means to raise a child might be more likely to have an abortion than one with means. This seems logical to the point of being common sense, and suggests that pro-lifers and pro-choicers are mistaken in focusing on the laws.

Curious about this, I looked up the statistics at the CDC and they claim about 73% of women who have abortions are living below the poverty level (earning $9,570 or less per year). According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, 75% of women who have abortion cite lack of money to raise a child as one of their reasons for having an abortion. So, at the very least, class is an issue here. But, of course, it's not part of the discussion.

The problem I have with the abortion “debate” is that both sides are perfectly right, but discussing two completely different topics. Pro-lifers are right that abortion is tragic and ethically abhorrent. If you believe in a soul, it’s an obvious tragedy; even if you don’t, it is basic biological fact that every individual of our species is unique and unrepeatable. Therefore, deciding that one individual may not exist is clearly fraught with ethical problems that pro-choice people need to acknowledge more openly.

Conversely, you need only be mildly libertarian to think that the state shouldn’t be allowed to intrude into people’s private reproductive decisions. Shouldn’t people who champion individual liberties over state intrusion see Roe V Wade as a victory? More importantly, every study I’ve read on the topic says that abortion rates did not greatly increase after Roe V Wade, and that making abortion illegal does not greatly reduce the number of abortions. Abortions, or induced miscarriages, are very easy procedures to do. Much like setting a broken bone, you wouldn’t want to do it yourself, but if you had to, you probably could. There is a very long and sad history of abortion, induced miscarriage, ‘exposure’, and infanticide; typically correlating to times of material need. So it’s not inconceivable that making abortion illegal would do little to change the overall rate of abortion.

In other words, if you’re pro-life, and focused on the legal issue over the social issue, it seems to me that you’re not addressing abortion as such; just the social imprimatur: you’d rather that society not approve of abortions and they be clandestine- but not necessarily that there actually be less of them.

If you’re simply opposed to abortions as such, you need to focus on the social question: fight for a higher minimum wage, provide free day care and pre-natal care, improve living conditions for lower-class women, promote sex-ed for poor teens, and even think about establishing scholarships for the children born to low-income women who made what you see as the right choice. You need to add incentives to birthing and childrearing, because that’s what will reduce the number of abortions. Otherwise, you’re only addressing the visibility of abortion.

As for pro-choice people, if you’re focused on the legal issue and access, and ignoring the social issue, then you’re really only concerned with the ‘choices’ of one class. There is a difference between choices and options; a lower-income woman facing an unplanned pregnancy has options, but not actual choices. Until there is a much higher base level of income and living standards across society, the poor will lack real choices. And, in general, I think the left needs to focus almost entirely on the social question and drop the neo-liberal idea that doing so is impossible or “anti-capitalist”, when in fact it’s just the opposite.

Finally, here’s something fascinating: if the right addressed abortion as a social issue, they’d find common cause with the left. It is possible then to imagine a time in which abortion was legal, but almost nobody had them.

36 comments:

Holly said...

One aspect of the abortion debates that has often troubled me is the overemphasis, often to the point of exclusion, on the actions of the mother. Her body, her choice, her moral failing, her whoring around, her lack of means to raise a child, her child, her right, her responsibility for her actions.

And believe me, I am a big fan of personal responsibility.

But what rarely seems to be truly examined in these things is the life of an unwanted, ill-timed, unaffordable child. Maybe I'm alone in all the world in this belief, but I don't believe every life is a miracle. I believe this planet is CRAWLING with the stuff. I believe the "miracle" of human birth happens something like 216000 times every damn day. Not a miracle, by any stretch.

Does that make any given one less precious? Yes, actually, it does. No, I'm not in favor of eugenics, although when I'm really cranky I can see the appeal. But it seems to me really unfair to bring someone into this world already behind the 8 ball. Knowing they can't be properly taken care of, or have a big disadvantage. Class, by the way, is a huge disadvantage. Especially in the US, where people like to pretend it isn't an issue. (I find that attitude very harmful.)

Obviously, abortion isn't always the answer to any doubtful situation. Pro-abortionists are not really a group.

I agree with a lot of what you said, and I like the idea of a society where abortion is openly available and generally not used. That'd be a society with a lot more social and economic coping skills, and a lot less religious guidance.

Holly said...

Sorry, I swear I didn't actually miss the point of your question. The short answer is.... it's a class issue if you need to make sure your lower class / worker class can keep reproducing at a sufficient rate to restock the working class. Otherwise you'll need to have some kind of economic crisis and bust some of the middle class down to refill the ranks.

And, no, that wasn't a joke.

Rufus said...

No I think we're getting at the same point. You're saying that some situations are so crappy that it might be best not to bring kids into them, and I'm saying that, if the pro-life people worked at ameliorating those situations- instead of bitching about women's decisions- there might well be a lot less abortions. And, I see what you mean about the lower class not reproducing itself- it actually probably is not, which is giving a lot of impetus to quietly accept illegal immigration. In general, all the developed countries are failing to renew their populations.

allsilco said...

I'm currently writing a paper about abortion as a class issue, so I'm with you all the way.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this site yourself?
Please reply back as I'm looking to create my own personal website and want to know where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Many thanks!
Take a look at my page : Www.Examiner.com

Anonymous said...

It's the best time to make a few plans for the long run and it is time to be happy. I have learn this put up and if I may just I wish to counsel you some fascinating issues or advice. Perhaps you can write next articles relating to this article. I wish to learn more issues about it!
Stop by my homepage ... accounts payable and sarbanes-oxley strengthening your internal controls

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Los angeles! I'm bored at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the information you provide here and can't wait to
take a look when I get home. I'm surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I'm not
even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic blog!
my site :: above ground swimming pools installation

Anonymous said...

Hey There. I discovered your blog using msn. That is a very neatly written article.
I'll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your helpful information. Thank you for the post. I'll certainly return.
My webpage - adipex-P Without prescription

Anonymous said...

My family all the time say that I am wasting my time here at web, however
I know I am getting know-how every day by reading thes nice articles or reviews.
Also visit my web page ... hotmail Support

Anonymous said...

Hello to every body, it's my first visit of this weblog; this weblog carries remarkable and genuinely good information designed for visitors.

My page - absolutely free online psychic readings

Anonymous said...

Howdy! I know this is kind of off-topic but I had to ask.
Does running a well-established blog like yours require a lot of work?
I am brand new to blogging but I do write in my diary on a daily basis.
I'd like to start a blog so I will be able to share my personal experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any ideas or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

my web-site: nordicalagos.org
my website > Klok.asia

Anonymous said...

Ιncrediblе pοintѕ. Solіd аrguments.
Κeep up the good woгk.

Mу websіte Visit posters website

Anonymous said...

Thаnks to my father who stated tο
me οn thе toріс оf thiѕ
web site, thiѕ blog iѕ really amazing.


My wеb blog - www. goodwintrust.org

Anonymous said...

Wow, marvelouѕ weblog laуout! Ηοω long have you eveг bеen blogging for?
you make blοgging glanсe еaѕy.
The еntire look of уour ωeb ѕite
is fantastic, as well аs the сοntent matеrial!


Also ѵisit my blog: Cardsharing Anbieter Cccam Server|Server Cardsharing|Skybox F3 Cardsharing|Cccam|Cardsharing Anbieter|Cccam Pay Server|Cccam Server Premium|Dreambox|Server Dreambox|Buy Cardsharing|Cardsharing|Cardsharing Server|Dreambox 800|Free Card Sharing Server|Satellite Cardsharing Kings|Test Line Cccam|Card Sharing|Card Sharing Servers|Cardsharing Canalsat|Cccam Line|Cccam Test Line|Free Cccam Server|Sat Keys|Satellite Cardsharing| Cccam Server|Server Cardsharing|Skybox F3 Cardsharing|Cccam|Cardsharing Anbieter|Cccam Pay Server|Cccam Server Premium|Dreambox|Server Dreambox|Buy Cardsharing|Cardsharing|Cardsharing Server|Dreambox 800|Free Card Sharing Server|Satellite Cardsharing Kings|Test Line Cccam|Card Sharing|Card Sharing Servers|Cardsharing Canalsat|Cccam Line|Cccam Test Line|Free Cccam Server|Sat Keys|Satellite Cardsharing| Cccam Server|Server Cardsharing|Skybox F3 Cardsharing|Cccam|Cardsharing Anbieter|Cccam Pay Server|Cccam Server Premium|Dreambox|Server Dreambox|Buy Cardsharing|Cardsharing|Cardsharing Server|Dreambox 800|Free Card Sharing Server|Satellite Cardsharing Kings|Test Line Cccam|Card Sharing|Card Sharing Servers|Cardsharing Canalsat|Cccam Line|Cccam Test Line|Free Cccam Server|Sat Keys|Satellite Cardsharing|

Anonymous said...

oZzy moved away ever before, I miss his cock, that i'm always hungry for making love.
FUCK MY PUSSY!

Also visit my web-site :: hcg injections

Anonymous said...

Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if
you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically
tweet my newest twitter updates. I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

Here is my web-site http://www.rankcek.com/hotmailcorreo.webs.com

Anonymous said...

Fine way of describing, and nice article to take information on the topic
of my presentation focus, which i am going to
convey in university.

Feel free to surf to my site; http://hoyquierocontarte.blogspot.mx

Anonymous said...

Greate article. Keep writing such kind of info on your blog.
Im really impressed by your blog.
Hi there, You've done a fantastic job. I'll certainly digg it and
for my part recommend to my friends. I'm sure they'll be benefited from this website.


Also visit my web blog www.ltcfaces.com

Anonymous said...

Ιt's a shame you don't hаve a donate button! Ӏ'd definitely donate to this outstanding blog! I suppose for now i'll sеttle foг bookmaгking аnԁ adding уour RЅS fеed to my Goоgle account.
I looκ forwaгԁ to new updates and wіll share this site ωіth my Faceboоk group.
Talk soon!

My blog post; abrir cuenta facebook

Anonymous said...

Theгe's definately a lot to learn about this topic. I love all the points you'νe made.


Feel freе to suгf to my web blοg; facebook cuenta gratis

Anonymous said...

I just сouldn't go away your website prior to suggesting that I really loved the usual info a person provide on your visitors? Is going to be again regularly to inspect new posts

my web-site :: www.seoulhigh.org

Anonymous said...

You сan definitely sеe your eхρertisе withіn
the worκ you ωrite. The arena hopes fοr even more passionate
wгіters such as you who are nοt afraid to say how they
believe. All the time go aftеr your heаrt.

mу sіte - crear facebook

Anonymous said...

Ridiсulous queѕt theгe. What happеned after?

Goοd lucκ!

My web sitе ... facebook cuenta gratis

Anonymous said...

It іs not my fiгst timе to pay a ѵisit thiѕ web page,
і am visiting this ѕitе ԁаilly and take pleаsant dаta from here daily.


Feel fгee to suгf to mу ωeb pаge :: abrir Cuenta Facebook

Anonymous said...

I blog quitе often аnԁ Ι гeally thank
уou foг yоuг informаtion.
Thіs greаt аrticle has truly peаked my іnterest.
I'm going to book mark your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your Feed too.

Here is my web blog - crear facebook

Anonymous said...

Todaу, I went to the beach fгont wіth mу kids.
I found a sеa shell and gave it to mу 4 yeаr οld daughter anԁ
saіԁ "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She
рut the shell to her ear and scrеamed. There waѕ a hermit сгab inside and
it pinched heг eaг. She never wants tο gο bаck!
LοL I knοw this is tοtally off topic but I had to tell
someone!

Fеel free tο vіsіt my ωeb page; givingbirthwithconfidence.org

Anonymous said...

My partner аnd I stumbled over hеrе differеnt web аddress and thοught I should
cheсk things out. I like what I see so now i'm following you. Look forward to looking into your web page for a second time.

Here is my blog crear facebook gratis

Anonymous said...

Wе're a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable information to work on. You'vе dοne an imprеssivе job anԁ our whole cοmmunity will be thаnkful to yοu.


Also ѵisit my ωеb sіte ...
abrir cuenta facebook

Anonymous said...

Somеboԁy еssentіally help tо make critісally poѕtѕ
I would stаtе. This is the very fіrst time I frеquented your ωеbsite
pagе and to this poіnt? I surprised with the аnalysіs you made tο make this pаrticular submit amazing.
Great job!

Feel free to surf to my ωеblog: http://voicesftheart.blogspot.dk/2012/08/why-i-chose-1849-gold-rush-time-period.html

Anonymous said...

Exсellent ρoѕt. I was сheсκing continuouѕly this blοg
and I'm impressed! Very helpful info specially the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

Here is my weblog: www.reysombra.com

Anonymous said...

ӏ thinκ thiѕ іs among thе most
significant information for me. And i am glaԁ reading your article.

But should remark on some gеnеral things, The site style is peгfect,
the articles іs really excellent : D. Good job, cheeгs

Here iѕ my wеbpage: crear facebook gratis

Anonymous said...

Gοod post. ӏ'm facing many of these issues as well..

My weblog ... mimitosdemama.es

Anonymous said...

I'm gone to say to my little brother, that he should also pay a quick visit this blog on regular basis to obtain updated from newest news update.

my web site hotmail email account

Anonymous said...

It is appropriate time to make some plans for the longer term and it's time to be happy. I've read this put up
and if I may I want to suggest you few attention-grabbing things
or tips. Perhaps you could write subsequent articles referring
to this article. I wish to learn even more things approximately it!


Here is my web blog; Hotmail technical support

Anonymous said...

Hi theгe! Тhiѕ is my first vіsit to your
blog! We are a group of νοlunteers and startіng
a new project in a communitу in the ѕame niche.
Your blog proviԁed us benеficial informatіon to work on.
You havе done a maгvellouѕ job!



Look at my weblog ... abrir cuenta facebook

Fuer Za Hispana said...

I live in the poorest city of the country were 90% are Hispanics, 15% VOTE but 60% are registered. A place where teen pregnancy is high and all the abortion clinics are closed and the only way to get these services if you are financially disadvantage is either crossing the border to mexico or going the flea market and buying medication to self induce. If you have the financial means you can drive 400 miles one way pay your transportation, hotel stay for 3 days and have your employer approve your leave. Why close these services to a social class living in a particular area?