The news of the day on the abortion front was prominent. Among the figures used in the various reports is one that says that fifty million abortions have been performed in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade. While that number can be approached from a variety of different vantage points, my reflection leads me to conclude that keeping Roe viable is of the highest order of importance.
The number of abortions in the United States fell to 1.2 million in 2005, down 25 percent from the all-time high of 1.6 million in 1990 and dropping the abortion rate to its lowest level since 1974, according to report issued Thursday.
The institute’s president, Sharon Camp, noted that despite the drop, more than one in five pregnancies ended in abortion in 2005.
According to the Guttmacher data, the number of abortions declined by 8 percent between 2000 and 2005, from 1.31 million to 1.21 million – the lowest total since the 1.18 million abortions tallied in 1976.
The 2005 abortion rate of 19.4 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 was the lowest since 1974, when it was 19.3.
One in five pregnancies were terminated in 2005, and this percentage is in the context of an abortion rate that is declining. I, for one, am simply unwilling to believe that women are experiencing more unwanted pregnancies in our era of readily available birth control than was the case previously.
My conclusion is that pregnancy happens naturally with an ease and frequency that can very easily be problematical in individual instances. Moreover, the widespread resort to pregnancy termination can only mean that women’s fundamental behavior has either changed, or that women are now only better able to control a process that is natural and that has been ongoing. Again, it seems most reasonable to me to conclude that the biology of the human creature has not made some dramatic shift in recent times.
What do I know. I’m a man and really am only a spectator in all of this. But how do I not give 51% of the human race the benefit of the doubt? How do I not conclude that something that twenty per cent of all pregnant women every year find to be important really is important? Either the same sizeable group of women are getting all of the abortions, or the ability to terminate unwanted pregnancies is of fundamental importance throughout the entire spectrum of society.
Nor am I able to think that women through the ages were radically different from the ones I know. Their bodies presented an unwelcome choice to huge portions of the female population for as long as we humans have existed. Some carried to term and raised the resulting child. Some carried term and failed in the challenge of raising the resulting child. Some carried to term and made the only choice they felt available to them at that time (a choice which has been labeled “live birth abortion”). And some, probably a large number if we are honest with ourselves, used whatever means they knew of to try to not carry to term. All too many of those paid the ultimate price for trying to handle the challenges that life presented them with, and were forced to try to inhabit a world that I would simply not choose to live in.
Simplistic sorts can see these matters in a simplistic way. For me, I don’t know how to second guess biology, reproductive science, and the fact that I’m having such a hard time making my own fundamental life choices that I really don’t know how to tell others the right way to make decisions in areas where they know almost everything, and I know almost nothing.