Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008.


Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road

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Bush Administration, disasters, natural and unnatural, economy

Emptywheel:

Hidden in an article reporting that Cheney’s going to go hunt up some support for the $700,000,000,000 bailout is this admission that the Bush Administration has been sitting on it for some time:

    Fratto insisted that the plan was not slapped together and had been drawn up as a contingency over previous months and weeks by administration officials. He acknowledged lawmakers were getting only days to peruse it, but he said this should be enough. [my emphasis]

So, for months the Administration has been telling everyone they’ve got the financial situation under control, then all of a sudden Congress has to pass a $700 billion giveaway to the financial sector right now don’t think about it just do it now now now. And Congress is warned that if it doesn’t act now now now and pass this bill as the Administration wrote it with no changes there will be terrible consequences and they would be Congress’s fault. And Congress can’t take any time to read the bill, even though it’s been sitting around in Cheney’s desk drawer for months.

Uh huh.

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Let’s Target “Stupid”

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abortion, blogging

Captain Ed says the rate of abortion in the U.S. has dropped again, according to the Los Angeles Times, citing an Alan Guttmacher report. However, the decline has been most dramatic among white women. The rate of abortion among African American women is 5 times that of whites, and among Latinas is 3 times that of whites.

Why? Some experts point to poverty and life stresses in general. Nah, says Captain Ed. These minorities are targeted for abortion services. By way of documentation, he quotes another guy who claims minorities are being targeted for abortion services. Well, that proves it then.

However, everyone’s a bit vague on exactly how minorities are being “targeted.” Are abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods handing out free toasters?

For perspective, see this Alan Guttmacher report of October 2007: “Abortion Declines Worldwide, Falls Most Where Abortion Is Broadly Legal.

I’d like to repeat that last part — abortion rates fell most where abortion is broadly legal.

For every 1,000 women of childbearing age (15–44) worldwide, 29 were estimated to have had an induced abortion in 2003, compared with 35 in 1995. The decline was most substantial in Europe, where the rate fell from 48 to 28 abortions per 1,000 women, largely because of dramatic declines in Eastern Europe. On the whole, the abortion rate decreased more in developed countries, where abortion is generally safe and legal on broad grounds (from 39 to 26), than in developing countries, where the procedure is largely illegal and unsafe (from 34 to 29). Significantly, the abortion rate for 2003 was roughly equal in developed and developing regions—26 and 29, respectively—despite abortion being largely illegal in developing regions. Health consequences, however, vary greatly between the two regions, since abortion is generally safe where it is broadly legal and mostly unsafe where restricted. …

The lowest abortion rate in the world in 2003 was for Western Europe (12 per 1,000 women aged 15–44), where contraceptive services and use are widespread and safe abortion is easily accessible and legal under broad grounds. The rate was 17 for Northern Europe and 21 for the Northern America region (Canada and the United States). Africa, Asia and Latin America had the highest regional abortion rates, even though abortion is generally legally restricted and often unsafe in those regions. Abortion rates in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean have declined since 1995, but the estimated number of abortions has increased in Africa because of the increasing number of women of reproductive age and a possible underestimate of abortions in 1995. Because the world’s population is concentrated in Asia, most abortions occurred there—about 26 million yearly; China alone accounted for nine million procedures.

To drive the point home, The uber-liberal, anything-goes Netherlands in 2007 had an abortion rate among residents of 8.6. The most recent data says the abortion rate for the U.S. is 20. It’s higher than that in most nations where abortion is illegal.

I remember reading a report that said abortion rates tend to be higher in cultures that are conservative and authoritarian and lower in cultures that are liberal and egalitarian. I can’t put my hands on that report now, but the stats do tend to bear that out. See also “Abortion in the Netherlands and the United States: Worlds Apart.”

Let’s go back to Captain Ed:

The most interesting aspect of this will be the effect it has on politicians who pay lip service to seeing fewer abortions while blocking any and all attempts to limit them. Will they cheer this drop in abortions, or will they claim that it proves that more intervention is needed to ensure “access”?

We can’t tell from the numbers if the fall in abortion rates in the U.S. is from anything the so-called “Right to Life” movement is doing or if it’s just part of the worldwide trend of falling abortion rates. However, what we see over and over again is that “blocking access” to abortion doesn’t stop abortion. If Captain Ed is serious about lowering abortion rates even further, he should help promote a more liberal culture that openly promotes contraceptive use and makes contraceptives easily obtainable by anyone who is sexually active.

On the other hand, if he wants to increase abortion rates, the way to go is to criminalize abortion to drive it underground, support “abstinence-only” sex ed in public schools, discourage contraceptive use and, even better, make contraceptives difficult for teenagers to obtain without parental permission or a court order. That should do it.

Finally, remember that the report says African American and Latina women have higher abortion rates than whites? I give you this Hot Air commenter: “Crime rate will greatly increase in about 15 yrs.”

In some quarters the stupid rate is already through the roof.

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