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The Pragmatic Case for Legal Abortion (Part Two)

Aug 31, 2016 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Responses to Readers

In the first installment of this article, I introduced a list of pragmatic assertions that were made in defense of legal abortion. They came to us through a series of Instagram comments and can be summarized as follows:

  1. Mississippi’s state-level abortion restrictions provide a window into what an abortionless America would look like.
  2. Legally restricting abortion increases poverty and crime but does not diminish abortion.
  3. Federally outlawing abortion would not decrease its frequency but would cause an increase in crime, poverty, and unwanted births.

Having already argued that the intrinsic evil of abortion makes the pragmatic “gains” entirely inconsequential, I now want to focus on the assertions themselves. Is it really true that restrictive abortion laws have no impact on the abortion rate? Does decreasing the abortion rate actually increase crime and poverty? Before we get there, you may have already noticed that the listed assertions are self-refuting. Look at them again if you missed it.

There are two basic premises. First, fewer abortions lead to more crime and poverty. Second, legally restricting abortion does not decrease the total number of abortions. If

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The Pragmatic Case for Legal Abortion (Part One)

Aug 26, 2016 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Responses to Readers

If abortion is outlawed in the future, how will we care for the “extra” kids? Abort73 has a page dedicated to answering that question, and last week I posted the link to our Instagram profile. Not surprisingly, the reaction was mixed. Of all the comments made in defense of legal abortion, only one commenter stuck to the topic at hand—that is, the potential social impact of outlawing abortion. His basic assertions were as follows:

  1. Mississippi’s state-level abortion restrictions provide a window into what an abortionless America would look like.
  2. Legally restricting abortion increases poverty and crime but does not diminish abortion.
  3. Federally outlawing abortion would not decrease its frequency but would cause an increase in crime, poverty, and unwanted births.

I call this the pragmatic case for legal abortion. Notice that it entirely avoids any discussion of right and wrong. In fact, the inferred assumption is that abortion is a necessary expedient. The author goes so far as to say:

I believe having a child is a beautiful thing… If we had no abortions in the US, I would be the happiest individual in the world. But restricting abortion isn’t going to accomplish that.

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Saving Babies or Feeding Children?

Feb 11, 2016 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Abortion Arguments

I recently came across a meme in my Facebook feed that depicted a sad, small, dirty child with a plastic spoon in his mouth. The tag read, “Imagine a world where ‘pro-life’ efforts included feeding hungry children.” The implication of course is that those who oppose abortion don’t care about feeding hungry children. This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered such sentiment, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but it always manages to grieve me afresh—for two reasons. First, I can imagine the sort of smug moral satisfaction it provides to those trying to justify (or ignore) the violence of abortion. Second, it reminds me of our sad propensity to speak right past each other, on this issue and so many others.

A wordier version of the same general opinion came to Abort73 a couple months back, via our online submission form. The author, a 20-something woman from Georgia, writes:

Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t want to know about you. They don’t want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re pre-born, you’re

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The State of Abortion

Jan 22, 2016 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Abortion News

Earlier this month, President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address. He never mentioned abortion, but he did have a lot to say about the future—“the kind of future our kids and our grandkids deserve.” I found much of it to be fairly inspiring, with one enormous caveat. Though our commander in chief speaks admiringly of the “movements to expand civil rights,” he has been a stalwart opponent of all efforts to expand civil rights to the most innocent and helpless members of the human community. Think about his unwavering commitment to abortion in the context of the following remarks, all of which came from his address:

How do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?

In today’s world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage.

“We the People.” Our Constitution begins with those three simple words, words we’ve come to recognize mean all the people, not just some; words that insist we rise and fall together, and that’s how we might perfect our Union.

So, my fellow Americans, whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, whether

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MLK’s Confounding Relationship with Planned Parenthood

Jan 18, 2016 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Miscellaneous

Martin Luther King Jr. is one of those rare historic figures who is so broadly revered that almost everyone wants to claim him as their own. For decades, those opposed to abortion have leaned heavily upon his words for support and inspiration—including his own niece Alveda C. King. You can count me among their number. Of course, those on the other side of the abortion debate also believe they are walking in Dr. King’s shadow.

In the “History & Successes” portion of the Planned Parenthood website, they proudly declare that the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was an inaugural recipient of their “highest honor”—the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award, bestowed upon him in 1966. More recent recipients include Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Gloria Feldt. Harry Blackmun and Sarah Weddington, the judge and attorney most responsible for the passage of Roe vs. Wade, have also received the award.

Though it’s tempting to speculate that Dr. King might have received the Margaret Sanger award against his wishes, without having had any personal affinity for Planned Parenthood, such a conclusion would not fit the facts. MLK did not accept the award in person, but he did send his wife in his

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