Some Interesting Statistics
During the Clinton years (8 years 1993-2001) the abortion rate went from 321 per thousand births to 246 abortions per thousand live births. That’s a 23% decrease in abortions as a percentage of live births under a Democractic president. In actual numbers of abortions it went from 1,330,414 to 853,485. That’s a 35% reduction in actual numbers of abortions.
Contrast this to George W Bush (8 years 2001-2009). The abortion rate per thousand live births went from 246 to 227. That’s a messily 7.7% decrease in abortion percentages. In actual numbers of abortions it went from 853,485 to 789,217. That’s a 7.5% decrease. By the way, the GOP had control of the House for 6 of these years and the Senate for 4. So, for 4 years (2003-2007), the GOP had control of the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme Court (http://bit.ly/2f6TmDY). So, they should have had sufficient control to implement whatever they wanted to.
So, depending on whether you’re looking at ratios or actual head count, abortions decreased 3-5 times as much under a DEMOCRATIC president as under a Republican president.
Now, you’re probably saying that’s because we hit a floor after the Clinton years. Not so fast. The last year reported by the CDC is 2012. This is 4 years into Obama’s time in office. During these 4 years (half as many as Bush’s), the ratio went from 227 to 210 (7.5% decrease), and the number of abortions went from 789,217 to 699,202 (11.4% decrease)
So, Obama was able to obtain the same decrease in percentages and over 1.5 times the decrease in real numbers in 4 years that Bush did in 8 years.
How is it possible?
Now you’re probably wondering what it is that democrats are actually doing that would cause a decrease in abortion. Essentially the number of annual abortions can be expressed in a rather simple formula. U x P = A. U is the number of annual unwanted pregnancies. P is the percentage of unwanted pregnancies terminated. A is the final count of abortions that year. You’ll likely remember from pre-algebra that to decrease A you can either decrease U or P.
U is a factor of birth control, illicit sex, safe living environment, poverty level, etc. All these types of things factor into whether a pregnancy is unwanted.
P has basically three factors (P1, P2, P3):
- What alternatives to abortion are available and how acceptable are they.
- Is abortion safe, legal, and accessible.
- Does the mother have a moral or religious prohibition against abortion.
When you look at this formula and look at where the Christian right has focused, it’s largely in P2. We’ve also tried to influence P3 but have been largely ineffectual (http://bit.ly/1N4kseA). The abortion rates among church goers are quite high. A small group have worked on P1 in the form of crisis pregnancy centers, etc. However, the push each election year by the pro life movement is to elect someone who will impact P2. However, by making this push every year, we alienate the very people we claim to be loving, by saying that we want to punish them.
Now contrast the democrats. Most still think abortion is a very bad thing and should be reduced. However being pro choice means they won’t attempt to change P2 or P3 in a way to reduce abortions. However some (like Hillary) have pushed hard on P1 advocating for adoption. Additionally much of the Democratic agenda is about U. They focus on giving away contraceptives, improving social safety nets, etc. This is why, statistically speaking, democratic presidents have presided over much more significant decreases in abortions than republicans. U is an easier part of the formula to impact. Additionally, if you aren’t pushing hard on P2, a pregnant girl will be more likely to come to you for advice because they don’t feel they will be judged.
This year’s DNC platform has been dubbed the “most liberal ever” and it’s been pointed out that they removed “rare” from the “safe, legal, rare” mantra. However, even this year they still are talking about ways to reduce abortion (http://bit.ly/29YL9Vu):
We will address the discrimination and barriers that inhibit meaningful access to reproductive health care services, including those based on gender, sexuality, race, income, disability, and other factors. We recognize that quality, affordable comprehensive health care, evidence-based sex education and a full range of family planning services help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.
All the statistics on annual abortions counts are available at http://bit.ly/1MOhtBA. You can also pull them straight from the CDC website (there’s a link next to each year).
The abortion debate reminds of Jesus’ parable of two sons found in Matthew 21:28-32:
“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”
When we needed leadership to decrease and/or eliminate abortion, the RNC stepped up and said “we will” and gathered the Christians behind them. However, they have accomplished almost nothing. Christians however, have continued to pledge allegiance to the RNC. Thankfully, some Christians have also worked on the other levers as well.
The DNC however, said “we will not” but proceeded to take actions to reduce the number of abortions, and have been very successful in doing so. So, if you are going to single issue vote on abortion, and your real goal is to decrease the number of annual abortions, vote Democrat. If your only goal is to change the laws of the land (which likely won’t occur under either president), and you don’t actually care how many babies are aborted, then vote Republican.