McCormick’s Musings: Both sides catalyze decline in abortions
Pro-choice and pro-life – there aren’t two other “pro” words in the English language that can lead to harsher judgments of character or lifestyle.
Who would’ve thought two positive-prefixed words could bring on so much condemnation and negative stereotyping? From the pro-choice corner, someone who is pro-life is a sexist, closed-minded, Bible-thumping Christian. Likewise, for pro-lifers, someone who is pro-choice is a promiscuous, sex-loving baby killer with a one way ticket to hell.
Obviously, these stereotypes may represent the thoughts of a minority of supporters of each side, but the loudest voices resonate the most in the public eye regardless of their numbers.
I think we can all agree that no one lights up with unfettered joy when discussing abortion procedures. And with the ever-present cat fighting and finger pointing between pro-choice and pro-lifers in terms of morality and freedom, both sides are quick to take credit for the continuing decrease in abortions across the country.
In this situation, people on both sides of the fence need to realize they are both contributing factors in the decline.
According to an April 9 article by The Associated Press, Wisconsin’s abortion rate has hit its lowest point since 1974, when the government began tracking the number of abortions per year in the state. The abortion rate fell from 9,817 in 2005 to 9,580 in 2006 in Wisconsin, despite the unchanging rate of abortions in women between the ages of 15 and 44 at 8 per 1,000. However, it is still half of the national average of 15 per 1,000 women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sue Armacost, the legislative director for Wisconsin’s Right to Life, claims the group’s efforts educationally and legally to reduce abortions and the number of younger people opposed to abortion are primary factors in the decrease, according to the article.
Lisa Boyce, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, also said in the article that access
to birth control and family
planning education were the
stemming causes of the decline
So who has the strongest case?
Pro-life activists were strong proponents of a 1996 law that required a woman considering an abortion to wait 24 hours and educate herself on the ramifications before having the procedure, which is a good thing considering having an abortion shouldn’t be treated as if it’s a routine check up at the doctor’s office.
Likewise, the increase in contraceptive education in schools, particularly those in low-income neighborhoods, and stressing the importance of safe sex has also contributed greatly to the declining numbers.
Both of these factors, coupled with the increased availability of birth control and changing personal beliefs on the matter, have all helped to decrease the prevalence of abortion. Ironically, pro-life and pro-choice activists have worked against each other, yet have found a way to translate their efforts into success.
But I still see a few problems with the way people conduct themselves around this sensitive issue.
When it comes down to it, pro-life advocates should stay consistent with that belief structure by supporting social programs designed to help the baby succeed outside of the womb. Life may begin at conception, but it certainly does not end at birth, and that is a concept too many people fail to grasp.
People are going to have sex. Period. So we do all we can to make sure they don’t have to put themselves in the difficult situation of contemplating abortion.
Perhaps the strongest similarity pro-choice and pro-life advocates have is their willingness to cast their vote for a political candidate solely because of his or her stance on abortion. Many other issues, including the war, taxes and health care, affect people’s every day lives in more significant ways than abortion.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to be a pro-choice Republican and pro-life Democrat, but alone it should not control your voting record.
As I see it, abortions can be likened to downloading music in that no matter how much someone does to prevent it, it’s going to happen. The only thing we, as a society, can do is make sure people know the risks of the procedure and the ways they can prevent pregnancy in the first place with various methods of birth control.
With Wisconsin’s always-strong education system on all levels and overall great quality of life economically and socially, there is no reason to believe abortion numbers won’t continue to drop.
As Bill Clinton said, “abortions should be safe, legal, and unnecessary,” and both sides need to realize abortion is more than a black and white issue to the people that are directly affected by it.
McCormick is a sophomore print journalism major and editorial editor of The Spectator. McCormick’s Musings appears every Thursday.