Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mississippi Churning?--what Newsweek doesn't understand about abortion

Newsweek offers its most recent defense of legalized abortion.

March 20, 2006 issue - When "Jane" discovered a few weeks ago that she was pregnant, she nearly collapsed. She already has four kids, ages 6 to 18, to raise on her own, while working full-time as a housekeeper. "I'm struggling trying to take care of them," said the 33-year-old Vicksburg, Miss., native, who gave a fictitious name to protect her privacy. "I'm not financially able" to handle a fifth child.

By leading with this item, Newsweek's reporter is clearly trying to legitimize both abortion and Roe v. Wade. Jane "discovered" that that she was pregnant. Her story is tragic: she is a thirty-three year-old woman who already has four children, and there is no husband (or father!) in sight. Yet she has gotten herself pregnant by some unknown man who can't or won't help look after the child he has fathered; she has allowed herself to conceive a child she can't afford to raise, and is demanding an abortion in an attempt to avoid the consequences of her own self-destructive behaviour. And she demands our sympathy.

Well: yes. God knows she deserves sympathy. Jane is a woman with serious psychological problems. She needs some serious counseling to address what are clearly long-standing problems with her mental health and her moral character. And she's symptomatic of abortion in Mississippi and American abortion in general, and the effect that abortion has on women's lives. Legalized abortion undermines the lives of women, for it functions as an enabler; it enables women to pursue deeply self-destructive lifestyles that require comprehensive counseling.

83% of Mississippi's abortions are for unmarried women. 56% of Mississippi's abortions are done for women who have already given birth at least once. 37% of Mississippi's abortions are for women seeking their second abortion or worse.

The solution to this is not for Mississippi to follow South Dakota by trying to ban all abortions.

That will simply lead to defeat in the US Supreme Court.

What is needed instead is a German-style mandatory counseling law coupled with a ban on abortion after the 12th week.

As I've noted in these posts: such a law has a very good chance of cutting US abortion rates in half or better--that is, reducing them to European levels. And it has a good chance of being upheld by the US Supreme Court as consistent with abortion law since the Casey decision in the early 1990s.

And it would begin to address the problem that Newsweek doesn't see: that legalized abortion does not empower women, it enables them: enables women like Jane to persist in self-destructive lifestyles.

Women deserve better.


At Wednesday, 29 March, 2006, Anonymous Jamie Beu said...

Just wanted to let you know that, although I disagree with your compromises (I believe that it is a life at conception, and therefore should not be killed no matter what), I do appreciate your cutting through the slant of the article. I also appreciate the statistics about % of abortions performed for various reasons.

I, too, blogged on this here, if you are interested in reading it.


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