I am currently involved in an online discourse on abortion with a fellow blogger named GS. In one of my posts I characterized abortion as routine. He challenged my assertion, and wrote a post on his blog laying out his argument.
My first response was to challenge his statistics, using the example of partial-birth abortion. It is now established fact that abortion providers, and the pro-choice movement have lied about the number of partial-birth abortions performed each year. One of the doctors who was responsible has in fact admitted on television that he lied.
I decided however to accept his numbers for the sake of argument, and respond to his assertions. I have posted the following on the comments section of GS's blog, but I felt the points were valuable enough to reprint here.
Now on to some substance if we accept your numbers for the sake of argument.
1) You cite the number of abortions as approximately 1.37 million a year, (not quite the millions I postulated, but close) and the number of live births as somewhere between 3.8 and 4 millions a year. So even if we use your numbers, nearly a third of US pregnancies result in the purposeful killing of the baby. I think it is fair to say that something that happens between 1/4 and 1/3 of the time can be said to be routine.
2) If 47% of abortions are done on women who have already had an abortion, that is almost 1/2 of them. Again, something that happens 1/2 the time is fairly routine.
3)I said abortion was used as a form of birth control, not the primary form, so this is a bit of a strawman argument. Still almost half the women did not use any form of contraception during the month they became pregnant, a number I certainly find troubling.
4) "3.3% of women have an abortion due to a risk to fetal health" Please. My baby's health is at risk, so let's kill it. Surely that doesn't make any sense to you?
5) "3.3% of women have an abortion due to a risk to fetal health. 2.8% of women have an abortion due to a risk to maternal health. (Add on to that 6.1% the number of abortions performed due to rape/incest." These numbers come up to 12.2%. So using your numbers 87.8% of abortions are done for convenience, not medical necessity or rape. That sounds pretty routine to me.
Add to this the fact that most abortions are done on an outpatient basis, I stand by my characterization of abortion as routine.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines routine as "1 : of a commonplace or repetitious character"
Update 1/26/06: GS has responded to this post on his blog. He still insists on quibbling about my use of the word routine. But he, like others of his ideology, is missing the forest for the trees. Let's look at his numbers again.
1) 1 out of three pregnancies today results in an abortion. How can anyone read that number and not be absolutely appalled? Even if you don't believe in the humanity of the fetus, surely the number shows an incredible lack of responsibility and a rend in the social fabric? And for those of us who do recognize the humanity of the fetus, this is a holocaust beyond belief. The pro choice crowd likes to crow that they want abortion to be rare...just how rare is it, and what are they doing to make it rarer?
2) The pro choice crowd uses a strawman argument that abortion is needed to protect the health of women. Yet these numbers show that only 2.8% of abortions are done for maternal health reasons. In other words, over 97% of abortions are not done to protect the health of the woman. When you weigh that number against the small but definite chance of dying from having an abortion, the risk of infertility, the possible increased risk (unproven as yet, but ancedotal evidence) of cervical and breast cancer, and the observed dangerous changes in behavior (such as begining to smoke), it is entirely possible that abortion produces as many health risks for women as it prevents.