How many times have I heard the ridiculous rhetoric about Democrats being pro-abortion or having my morality be compared to Vlad the Impaller’s? As a proud progressive, I feel the discussion should center on facts, data, and historical trends, and not arrogantly challenging people’s morality as a partisan tool. Conservative’s play the pro-life card to drive polls, but once in power campaign promises are consistently tossed by the wayside. In defense of Democrat’s pro-choice position, here are some points to consider proving they actually have a greater impact supporting the pro-life agenda.
- The abortion rate has declined faster under Democrat Presidents than Republican Presidents. Currently under the Obama Administration the abortion rate has declined 14% (19.7 to 17 per 1000 women). Under President Clinton’s administration the abortion rate fell almost 20% (25 to 20.5). This is partly due to the abortion rate having a strong tie to the economy. Somewhat unknown and undisclosed, 25-30% of abortions are among married couples. When finances are tight, children become a liability. With the U.S. economy making significant progress under both Clinton and Obama, the abortion rate responded accordingly.
Access to healthcare drives down the abortion rate. When Governor Romney passed the Massachusetts healthcare bill a positive correlation was discovered. Harvard published a study which concluded that greater accessibility to doctors resulted in higher efficacy of birth control. The state-wide abortion rate fell 6% in the years following Romney’s expansive healthcare legislation. With 10 million additional Americans now covered under Obamacare and an additional 10 million by 2016, the impact to the abortion rate should be easy to measure.
Republicans use abortion as a campaign tool, but do not introduce legislation. When Republicans had control of the White House, Senate, House, most Governorships, and the Supreme Court from 2002-2006 the only legislation passed was a late term abortion ban carrying strong bipartisan support. Republicans also tried to pass a federal traditional marriage amendment which couldn't even garner universal support from their own party members. Republicans currently have full control of the House and Senate and the only abortion bill brought to the floor was pulled by Speaker Boehner due to lack of GOP support. Such inaction begs the question how Republicans actually prioritize this issue.
- Roe vs. Wade has not been challenged by Republicans.The argument has been made that resolving abortion rests with the courts. Since the passage of Roe vs Wade, very little judicial activism has transpired even though the Court has sustained a majority of conservative judges. If Republicans can push Obamacare to the High Court twice within two years, why haven’t they pushed abortion challenges through the system?
- The only abortion legislation signed by President Obama RESTRICTED abortion. Known as the Stupak compromise, a Michigan Democrat worked with President Obama to ensure Affordable Care Act funding would not be used for abortions. Upon passage of the law, President Obama followed through by signing an executive order which banned any public funding to be used for abortion. Even Ronald Reagan, Republican’s conservative icon, signed California’s “Therapeutic Abortion Act” making access to abortion possible for millions of women.
- Republicans ignore the consequences of banning abortion. Even with a lawful ban, individuals with means will always be able to find doctors who will perform the procedure. A disproportionate number of lower income mothers and fathers will not have such resources, and responsibility for their children will be abandoned. The burden will then be transferred to the state, which will require resources and funding. Given the recent push of Republicans to cut food stamps, half of which benefit children, it’s not unreasonable to assume the party will punt the consequences. Adoption as a universal solution is also unrealistic given demographics, cost, and demand.
Through their support of expanding healthcare, education, and economic reform Democrats have proven more effective reducing the rate of abortions. Democrats also have a track record of supporting resources to care for unwanted children which will be a significant issue if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned. Waiving the moral flag is good for political theater, but if Conservatives really cared about reducing abortions they might consider voting Democrat.