Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Decriminalizing Abortion: A Data Point

I have heard or read pro-choicers saying that legal restrictions on abortion do not reduce its incidence. Some of the evidence I have seen presented supports that contention.

Here's a data point on the other side of the fence. Spain decriminalized abortion for rape, malformation of the fetus, and pregnancies that represent a threat to the physical or mental health of the woman in 1985. Since 1995, the abortion rate has spiked by 72%. (The article doesn't say what happened between 1985 and 1995.)


nerdchik said...

I'd be curious to know if this is an actual increase, or if Spanish women are now just getting abortions at home rather than traveling to France or reporting is better.

CMR said...

Robert, Robert, Robert!
You need to read the Catholic Encyclopedia online, particularly its Abortion section. It states that when Europe was Christian, abortion was treated as capital murder, with the abortionist and both parents found guilty of the crime of abortion being executed for it. Needless to say, the article continues that abortion was unheard of in Christian Europe

mythago said...

The article doesn't say what happened between 1985 and 1995

So we have a "spike" ten years after decriminalization, nothing at all in the ten years immediately following, and we're supposed to determine causation?

The article (which is pretty thin) also tells us the rate is of abortions "carried out in Spain". That's not the same as the number of abortions obtained by Spanish women (especially given that prior to 1985, the procedure was apparently illegal).

I don't think anyone seriously argues that legal restrictions on abortion have NO effect on the number of abortions--that's plainly false. The argument is that restricting abortion does not eliminate it and that restrictions can simply cause women to seek abortions in less-restrictive jurisdictions.

Robert said...

Nerdchik, that's certainly a reasonable question. It is difficult to know what the causal factors are, particularly from such a thin piece. Which is why I titled the post "a data point" rather than "definitive proof". ;)

Mythago, Ampersand regularly argues that restrictions on abortion don't reduce the number of abortions. Perhaps I've misread him, but that's my recollection. ("That's my vague impression, and I'm stickin' to it!")

mythago said...

Ampersand's a single "pro-choicer", not plural, and my vague recollection doesn't match yours, I'm afraid.

CMR said...

By the way, the Catholic Encyclopedia also said that it used to be in Spain, mothers who aborted their children were buried alive. A cruel punishment, you say? Easier than being torn limb from limb.

Jeepers said...

In this country, there is a direct correlation to a decrease in abortions with an increase in federal money to social programs that benefit the poor. Basically, if you have more options and more support, you apparently don't see abortion as the only way out.

Sadly, lefties want more rights and "choice" along with money to fund the programs that actually allow people to choose not to, while righties cut funding for welfare programs that help poor mothers choose to raise their babies instead of abort them.

Maia said...

In New Zealand the number of abortions performed on New Zealand women went up (as best as anyone can calculate) when the abortions laws were changed to restrict abortion in 1977. But the number of abortions performed in New Zealand went down.