Reducing the U.S. abortion rate...
By encouraging pregnant
to choose childbirth over abortion
There are various approaches to reduce the abortion rate. Three of them are:
1. By legislation that makes abortions more difficult to obtain. Much of the pro-life
effort has been concentrated in this area. They have sponsored legislation
or regulations to:
- Prevent women under the age of 18 from having an abortion without
prior parental consent or at least notification.
- Criminalize the transporting of women under the age of 18 across
state lines to have an abortion.
- Requiring abortion providers to supply specific information to a woman
seeking an abortion, sometimes of doubtful accuracy.
- Requiring a woman to view an ultrasound of her embryo or fetus.
- Requiring a waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion.
- Require abortion providers to meet unreasonably strict medical
standards, and/or provide needlessly expensive physical facilities.
The general goal is to make abortion "Safe, Legal and Unavailable,"
to quote the title of a book on this topic by Melody Rose. 1
2. Through education that prevents pregnancies from
happening either by:
- Convincing students to choose abstinence until marriage.
- Providing sexually active or potentially active people with access
to low cost or free contraceptives and information on their proper use.
- Creating a culture in which sexually active couples who are not in a
permanent relationship are expected to prevent pregnancies.
These approaches to reducing abortions are controversial. They often immediately
trigger resistance by the pro-life movement, the pro-choice movement, and/or
religious and social conservatives.
3. To encourage
already-pregnant wpmen to choose childbirth instead of abortion. Many women and couples
would prefer to make this decision if certain roadblocks were removed and if
child raising were more affordable and feasable.
Various levels of governments around the world have encouraged childbirth through:
- Liberal pregnancy leave legislation.
- Reducing income taxes for parents.
- Making free or affordable child care facilities available.
- Providing special classes for pregnant students.
- Providing free pre-natal health care.
- Providing free health insurance for children.
- Removal of sales tax on children's clothing.
- Education and job-training programs.
- Provide income and/or food supplements and/or free medication, etc.
An example of federal legislation to encourage continuing pregnancies:
On 2008-SEP-26, Congress passed a bill to help parents of fetuses and babies
with genetic defects. It is designed to make childbirth a more desirable option by increasing support
to the parents before and after birth. Having access to sufficient emotional and
physical support might persuade some parents to continue their pregnancy rather
than choose abortion.
Prenatal tests nnow make it possible to identify fetuses that have defects in their
genetic structure that will cause mental retardation, deafness, early-onset
Alzheimer's disease, and a range of other diseases.
The New York Times wrote that:
"For many women and their partners, the decision to
terminate a pregnancy after a prenatal diagnosis of a serious genetic defect can
be harrowing, often coming after a painful assessment of their own emotional and
financial resources. ...
About 90 percent of women who learn they are carrying a fetus with the extra
21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome choose an abortion. Studies have shown
that many women also choose to abort for diagnoses of less serious conditions."
In an unusual display of bi-partisanship, one of the most
conservative legislators in Congress -- Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) -- joined with one of
the most liberal, -- Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) -- and with one other
Democrat, one independent, and three other Republicans -- to cosponsor the
Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act. It passed
the senate on 2008-SEP-23 by unanimous consent. It passed the House two days
later by a voice vote, and signed into law by
President George W Bush on OCT-08.
3 It will help provide up-to-date information to families that
receive an adverse prenatal genetic diagnosis. It will link them to support
services and networks that may be able to offer them continuing support. 3
An example of state legislation to encourage more abortions:
Thomas Reese, writing in the Religion News about Ireland's abortion referendum of 2018 said:
"In the early 1990s, Republicans in the New Jersey Legislature voted not to increase benefits for women on welfare if they have additional children. Thus, a mother with two children would have to take care of three with no increase in support. The consequences were quick and predictable: an increase in the number of abortions among women on welfare. ... Pro-life voters must choose between Republican rhetoric and Democratic results."
Melody Rose, "Safe, Legal and Unavailable? Abortion politics in the United
States," CQ Press, (2007). Read
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
Sarahlyunn Lester, "Genetic Testing + Abortion = ???," New York Times,
"Good News: Prenatal-Awareness Bill Heads to
President's Desk," CitizenLink.com, 2008-SEP-26, at:
"S. 1810: Prenatally and Postnatally
Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act," Govtrack.us, at:
Copyright © 2008 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2008-SEP-29
Latest update: 2018-JUN-12
Author: B.A. Robinson