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Systemic Racism and Abortion

Jan 15, 2018 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Miscellaneous

The relationship between abortion and race is a difficult and contentious one—for those on both sides of the abortion divide. The more I study it, the more complicated it becomes. Here’s what we do know: black women in the United States are significantly more likely to have an abortion than white women—somewhere between three and four times more likely. I was faced with this disparity again while examining the recently-released 2014 abortion numbers from the Centers for Disease Control. In every single state in America, abortion kills a much higher percentage of black babies than white. 

While examining the overall percentage of black abortions on a state-by-state basis, I began making note of each state’s racial composition. As you might imagine, the comparisons were disturbing. For instance, though the state of Alabama is only 27% black, 60% of its abortions are performed on black babies. To draw attention to this fact, I turned the following statement into an Instagram graphic: “In…

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Does Poverty Lead to Abortion, or Does Abortion Lead to Poverty?

Dec 28, 2017 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Abortion Arguments

Among its apologists, abortion has long been heralded for its purported social benefits—just as birth control was before it. By preventing "unwanted" children from being birthed, abortion is supposed to reduce strain on the system and create better outcomes for those already born. To that end, California taxpayers foot the bill for more than half the state’s abortions. In 2014, that amounted to almost 90,000 abortions—all in the name of fiscal responsibility. If this rather macabre investment strategy really does produce better outcomes for the state, you wouldn’t know it. On the fiscal scale, California ranks 8th from the bottom, which is the exact inverse of where it ranks with regard to abortion. Only seven states and districts abort a higher percentage of their children than California. 

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Penetrating the Abortion-Safety Smokescreen

Dec 05, 2017 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Abortion in the News

Earlier this fall, The Lancet published a new study on the safety of abortion around the globe. According to their report, approximately 25 million unsafe abortions occur each year, which represents 45% of the estimated worldwide total. Dr. Bela Ganatra, a World Health Organization (WHO) scientist in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research, is the study's lead author. Her bio on the WHO website says that she is "working on preventing unsafe abortion." With the exception of one word, her job description is identical to my own. Dr. Ganatra is working to prevent unsafe abortion; I am working to prevent abortion. Of course, the insertion of that one word—unsafe—places us on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. For all its talk of prevention, the World Health Organization is dedicated to nothing less than the complete and unequivocal mainstreaming of abortion, as inferred by the conclusion to which the study comes:

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The Apostasy of Silence: Lessons from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Oct 14, 2017 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Miscellaneous

After finishing Eric Metaxas' biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, it occurred to me that though I'd long admired the German pastor and martyr, I'd never actually read any of his published works. To remedy that, I began with Life Together—on the recommendation of Charles Marsh—and followed it up with Ethics. The Cost of Discipleship is still on my "to read" list, but the first two books have given me plenty to think about in the meantime. 

Even…

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The Most Dangerous Place in the World

Sep 30, 2017 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Miscellaneous

Statistically, Caracas, Venezuela is the most dangerous city in the world. The homicide rate in Caracas is 120 homicides per 100,000 people. That means that everything else being equal, residents of Caracas have approximately a .12% chance of being murdered in any given year. However, if we were to plot that percentage on a pie chart, it would barely show up. One tenth of one percent amounts to little more than a straight line. That's not to diminish the very real danger of living in Caracas, but to point out that even in the most dangerous city in the world, residents have a 99.88% of not being murdered this year.

In the United States, St. Louis holds the dubious distinction of being America's most dangerous city. Its homicide rate is 60 per 100,000 people, exactly half of that in Caracas. Everything else being equal (which I know it isn't), people in St. Louis have a 99.94% chance of not being murdered this year. On the one hand, that doesn't sound too bad. On the other hand, imagine that homicide rate on the average high school campus. In a school of 2,000 students, two would be murdered each year. How many parents would feel comfortable sending…

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