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Illegal Abortion Leads to More Abortions

January 21, 2012 by and tagged , , , ,

See? (Not that anyone who is interested in reality and data would be surprised by this):

The policy implications should be obvious to anyone, including people who do not like abortions. But we all know this is not about abortion per se, it is about patriarchal control and denial of women autonomy. Therefore, women in poorer countries will continues to have more numerous and unsafe abortions while the antichoice crowds will continue to make access to safe abortion less and less likely in the US. None of this will reduce the number of abortions but that is never the goal.

Posted in Gender, Health, Health Care, Patriarchy, Public Policy | 5 Comments »



5 Responses to “Illegal Abortion Leads to More Abortions”

  1.   Owen Says:

    This is a simple correlation, from which various types of inferences can be drawn. There is another potential explanation for the data based upon the following three hypotheses:

    1) There is an inverse [causal] correlation between economic well-being and abortion rates.

    Generally, women tend to be emotionally bonded with the unborn child (I choose that term specifically because in these circumstances, the woman does see the fetus as a person). As such, the decision to abort is frequently due to realization that they can not rear their child in the present conditions. Women living in destitute poverty are more prone to make such decisions. Hence, in the past the African-American community has seen abortion as holding back their culture: their lower income per capita leads them to be more prone towards abortion, reducing the pool of African-Americans. There is a tension between the survival of the individual and survival of the group.

    [I would add that this is the natural, biological inclination, but cultures can change the rationale from the more basic reason]

    2) There is a [causal] correlation between economic well-being and the number of rights afforded to individuals.

    In nations where there is greater economic poverty, individuals can not choose to be autonomous from the rest of their group. There isn’t the financial resources available for the inefficiency of a group of people that have widely different goals and values. Such inefficiency risks to waste resources. Each unit is vitally important and can not be wasted or lost. As such, countries with lower economic well-being will tend to have rules that value the group over the individual. Conversely, if there is greater economic well-being, the inefficiency of a group of people with varied goals can be more absorbed. When there is much to go around, there is much to ‘waste.’ As a result, individual rights become more prominent.

    3) Given that abortion laws (at least in America; I can not speak on other countries as much) are validated under the concept of rights, and its cousins, power and oppression, a wealthy nation is more likely to have abortion laws rather than less wealthy nations.

    The logic of this would say that we should legalize abortions in poorer countries and make them highly regulate in richer countries. The poorer countries have more of a reason to do so, because of economic poverty. Wealthier nations have less reason to do so. Of course, this is not an appeal to the deontological ethics of individualistic rights, but a utilitarian concern about group survival.

    So the appeal to patriarchy and the rhetoric of rights is premature at best, oversimplification at worst. The claim presumes that a concern about abortion is not also generated by a sincere belief in the life of a child and a sincere need to preserve their life. This sincerity can be rooted in a deonotological ethic that believes in the ‘sacredness’ of life (particularly in Western cultures, which has a tendency to be more deontological in their ethicizing) or a utilitarian concern for the survival of the group (a view more popular in less economically developed groups). While stances against abortion may affect women, this need not mean that it is about patriarchy (this is a fallacy, which name I can not remember, where an effect of a policy is seen as representing the intention of the people who put the policy in place).

    To attribute a simplistic psychological case to sociological data is a bias of massive proportions, failing to recognize that there are multiple explanations and causes for anything (including psychological causes). Sociology can not do group psychology, particularly in a world with many various forms of believes and reasoning systems and post-modern Western world with a diverse set of interests and beliefs (but many times can justify other goals, values, and beliefs that are the same as other peoples). Just because some who support restrictions on abortions may overtly be misogynists in their intentions doesn’t mean all are (even covertly).

    Reply

    •   SocProf Says:

      To attribute a simplistic psychological case to sociological data

      I did no such thing, so, I don’t know what this refers to.

      Sociology can not do group psychology…

      it most certainly can and does. There is extensive research and literature on groups. please do no treat your own blind spot into a general point about the discipline as a whole.

      Your whole point, behind the verbiage is just to evacuate social contexts and, yes, gender and patriarchal systems which are central to reproductive issues behind gross generalities (Is there even such a things as ‘Western cultures”, geez, talk about a giant leap to conclusion).

      The unavoidable point is that the high abortion rates are found in women have no choice on marriage, sexuality, pregnancy, family planning, contraception and abortion. That is not an oversimplification, it is a matter of fact. This lack of choice is based on ideological systems that are anchored in misogyny and patriarchy (sometimes on religion, sometimes not). The whole social structure and its correlating institutions sustain such patriarchal arrangements (such as education, property and inheritance rights, etc.). To turn this into a nice little decontextualized version of the prisoner’s dilemma changes nothing.

      And, of course, the reference to “natural, biological inclination” pretty much shows your own bias and discredits any attempt a objectivity poorly hidden by the big words.

      Reply

  2.   Owen Says:

    I made a one error in my above post that I missed:

    I meant to say “Of course, this is not an appeal to the deontological ethics of individualistic rights, but an empathic/pragmatic concern about individual suffering.” and not “utilitarian concern about group survival.”

    Reply

  3.   Elsa Earland Says:

    I think you failed to follow through the economic and social aspects of abortions. For example fiscally conservative nations are also likely to be conservative in other views such as abortion. Whereas fiscally liberal nations are more likely to be liberal in other aspects of policy as well. So a woman who is destitute but can garner financial stability through social welfare programs is more likely to have a child than a woman who does not have a welfare system to support her.

    I think that there is a correlation of financial obligations in supporting a child that leads women to either have an abortion or have a child. Also taking into account the postpartum rearing of the child. Wealthier nations are more likely to have adequate adoption and orphanages for unwanted children whereas poorer nations may not have a “better life than the birth mother can give the child.”

    I would have to say that financial reasons and potential care for the unborn child is more attributed to whether or not a woman decides to keep the child, give it up for adoption or terminate the pregnancy. Other reasons for high amounts of abortions can also be attributed to crimes against women. Statistics for assaults are not very accurate in most countries where women fear reprisal or repercussions for reporting abuse. Instead of having a child from an assault they are more likely to choose to have an abortion.

    Reply

    •   SocProf Says:

      Yes, and all of these aspects point to the same thing: societies that have legal abortions are societies that treat women better and are less ruled in strictly patriarchal terms. At the same time, legal abortions decreased the number of children available for adoption (hence the increase in foreign adoptions).

      All these economic aspects are embedded and underlying abortion laws.

      Reply

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