A few months back, while updating Abort73's state abortion statistics, I came across a surprising news release on the Guttmacher website. I say surprising because the Guttmacher Institute is unequivocally committed to abortion rights, and the referenced study turns a long-held pro-choice mantra on its head. The mantra goes like this: The best way to eliminate abortion is to increase the use of birth control. Turns out, such thinking is backwards—as evidenced by the title of the news release: "Women in States With Restrictive Abortion Policies More Likely Than Others to Use Highly Effective Contraceptive Methods."
Said differently, the best way to increase vigilant contraceptive use is to eliminate abortion. Though that suggestion is anathema to everything the Guttmacher Institute holds dear, it hits much closer to the truth than the reverse. Increasing the use of birth control will never—can never—eliminate abortion.…
Not to be confused with the horror flicks of the same name, Hush is a 2016 documentary about the health risks of abortion—primarily the disputed connection between abortion and breast cancer. The filmmaker, Punam Kumar Gill, is a Canadian woman of Indian descent whose own story infiltrates the narrative in some unexpected ways. Though she describes herself as a "pro-choice" feminist, Hush is unlikely to find many fans within that particular subset—which is too bad. I've watched it twice now and find it extremely compelling.
Despite billing itself as unbiased, Hush has been roundly criticized for its perceived partisanship. Leading the charge is David A. Grimes, the prominent North Carolina abortionist who did a lengthy on-camera interview for the film. After seeing the finished product, he penned an op-ed for The Huffington Post,…
David Livingstone Smith is a philosophy professor who has written the book on dehumanization. It's called, Less Than Human, and is billed as the "first book to illuminate precisely how and why we sometimes think of others as subhuman creatures."
"To talk meaningfully about dehumanization," Smith says, "we need to pin it down." To that end, he defines dehumanization as "conceiving of people as subhuman creatures rather than as human beings." This "psychological lubricant," as he describes it, "dissolv[es] our inhibitions and inflam[es] our destructive passions ... empower[ing] us to perform acts that would, under other circumstances, be unthinkable."
Simply put, dehumanization "paves the way for atrocity." Though Smith focuses primarily on the dehumanization of Jews, sub-Saharan Africans, and Native Americans, he also looks at more subtle examples of dehumanization in popular culture and the press. In his view,…
My first exposure to last month's Women's March came via Facebook of course. The Rockford Art Deli, a custom T-shirt shop in the town I formerly called home, had produced a special shirt to commemorate the event. According to the caption, "anyone into supporting women's rights with respect, honesty & positive vibes (is) welcome." I am into supporting women's rights with respect and honesty (and positive vibes), but I am also anti-abortion. That complicates things, since "women's rights" is so often used as a mere euphemism for "abortion rights." Would the Women's March be different? That remained to be seen.
Looking at the event page for the march in Rockford, I found the following statements:
- Join your local women and supporters of women on Saturday, January 21st to promote women's rights, equality, and empowerment.
- Anyone is welcome, this event is not just for women!
- We are non-partisan, and will NOT use the Women's March to criticize politicians or political parties.
Tomorrow is the 44-year anniversary of Roe vs Wade. That's the 1973 Supreme Court verdict that struck down all state prohibitions against abortion and made it a constitutionally protected act. In 1973—that tragic year from which Abort73 takes its name—there were 615,831 abortions performed in the United States. By 1979, the annual abortion total had more than doubled, peaking in 1990 at somewhere around 1.5 million. For the next decade, the annual abortion total fell by around 2% each year. The annual decrease slowed to roughly 1% for the next eight years. Then in 2009, the annual abortion total started falling by an average of more than 4% per year—at least through 2014.
In what has become an annual exercise for me each January, I have been gathering state-by-state abortion numbers so as to project a nationwide total for 2015. I do this for two reasons. First, most states release their abortion data far in advance of the federal government. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) didn't publish their 2013 abortion numbers until the end of last November. By that time, most…