Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why Gosnell's abortion clinic convinces me we need to to protect abortion rights.

For anyone unfamiliar here is a link to the story.

First, let me say that what Gosnell has done is immoral and criminal. It's why he is on trial after all. He not only killed infants after they were born, he preformed illegal procedures, used dirty or faulty equipment and used underage poorly trained staff that resulted in women dying from botched abortions. No pro-choice advocate is in favor of protecting or excusing what Gosnell has been accused of. 

It is interesting then that there are so many conservative, pro-life groups claiming that the liberal pro-choice groups are trying to cover up the news story to as to protect the reputation of abortion. When I goggled the topic I found many articles on it, even excluding the articles written about how many other people weren't writing articles about it. One wonders about the irony of people writing about how no one writes articles about a subject while those same people fail to write any articles about the subject they are complaining no one writes about. 

I'm not convinced there is any attempt to avoid the subject, but I'm more interested in how pro-life proponents always take stories like this one as evidence we need to make all abortions illegal. It should be immediately apparent why this is absurd because what Gosnell was doing was already illegal. He should not have gotten away with it as long as he did, and there is evidence there were serious failures in the system that should have worked to shut him down, but you can't use Gosnell's actions as an argument against legal abortions anymore than you can use people who attempt to incite violence through speech as an argument against all free speech of any kind.

The problem is that I think most pro-lifers have a basic misconception about the pro-choice movement. That is to say they believe that pro-choice advocates like abortion. We don't like abortions; this is why, for instance, pro-choice advocates fight so hard for easy contraception access especially for the poor.  I have never personally met anyone who is pro-choice who would be bothered by the number of abortions being zero if all of the reasons people got abortions went with them. If you want a world without abortion then give us a world without birth defects, pregnancy related health issues, rape and incest, birth control failures, and the failures of sex education which often cause people to have unprotected sex when they do not want children.  Give us that world and abortion will disappear because no one will want one.

Is such a world hard to provide, Impossible perhaps? Then we will never have a world with zero abortions and because of this we must therefore focus on how to make the number as low as possible. Which brings us back around to Gosnell. Pro-life advocates act like it is legal abortion that allows people like Gosnell to exist, but this is completely and totally wrong. In fact is the the pro-life movement that allows people like Gosnell to exist.  Don't believe me? Check out these facts.

There are two important facts here. One, the areas of the world who generally outlaw or restrict abortions have the highest abortion rates, often 29-32 out of 1,000 or higher. While areas with the most permissive abortion laws like Europe have the lowest, 12 out of 1,000. On top of that, the areas that outlaw abortion have the highest rates of unsafe abortions. I.E. they have the highest rates of people like Gosnell. 

Now, I'm not claiming that the abortion restrictions themselves raise the rate of abortions though they almost definitely raise the rates of unsafe abortions. Many of these countries that outlaw abortion do so based upon religious sanctions they have on sexual behavior and with those laws often go restrictions on access to birth control safe sex education. They also have little if any social services to help women who have a pregnancy they cannot afford. What we can take from this is that making abortion illegal has little to no affect on how many people seek abortions, the only thing that affects that number is making sure unwanted pregnancies don't happen in the first place as well as providing adequate health care to women who are pregnant or think they might become so. 

Yet on these fronts we see pro-life advocates standing in they way almost every time. Arizona is an abstinence only state who refuses to fund Planed Parenthood because of pro-life advocates. People in Africa are told not to use condoms by pro-life advocates. Every time I turn around pro-life groups claim they want to end abortion but then they do things are are guaranteed to increase it. It turns out that we pro-choicers are better at being pro-life than the pro-life movement is, and it's about time we started letting people know that.

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