Friday, April 17, 2009

Cristina Page is not the person to look for advice on how to reduce abortions

In a recent piece at the RH Reality Check blog, Cristina Page shares part of conversation she had with Jill Stanek after Jill asked Cristina why she felt it was important to reduce the need for abortion. Page basically avoids the question (focusing on unplanned pregnancy instead of abortion - if that's your true goal then why not focus solely on that?) and then expects Jill to answer a number of her questions.

Page then goes on to make a number of ridiculous claims like giving President Clinton the sole praise for reducing the number of abortion during his terms (because state prolife legislation apparently played no role in that reduction, it was just Clinton waving his magical wand) and blaming President Bush for slowing down this trend without providing any evidence showing any type of causation.

In various op-eds, Page continually supposes that her policy preferences will reduce abortions but never provides any evidence for how they will. She always points to European countries with lower abortion rates than the U.S. but never mentions abortion is more restricted there than here. Nor does she recognize that many states with extremely low abortion rates also happen to be states with a number of abortion restrictions. She also never puts her big girl pants on and discusses what happens in the U.S. when her policy preferences are put in place.

For years, Page worked for NARAL's New York branch where the legislators and pro-choice governors gave them nearly everything they wanted. They get an A- from NARAL on abortion laws and they were ranked 5th overall by the Alan Guttmacher Institute for state efforts to help women prevent unintended pregnancy. So by pro-choice standards, they're doing great.

Yet New York has one of the highest abortion rates and ratios for residents of any state in the country. In 2007 there was nearly 1 abortion for every 2 births. That's a disaster.

The statistics are even worse for black women. The abortion ratio for black women in New York State is nearly one abortion for every one birth. In New York City, there are more abortions performed on black women than there are births to black women. How sobering is that?

The CDC average for 2005 (which doesn't include a few states) was approximately 1 abortion for every 4 births. In some states like the Dakotas, Utah and West Virginia, the abortion ratio (abortions to births) was approximately 1 abortion for every ten births.

Clearly, the state of New York is not leading the way in reducing abortions. They are not some beacon of light which other states should follow if they want a lower number of abortions. If anything, New York's policies which Cristina Page prefers, (no restrictions on abortion, tax-payer funding of abortion, etc.) provide a great example of what not to do if you're looking to reduce abortion.

Taking advice on how to lower the number of abortions from Cristina Page is like taking advice on how to get a mortgage from somebody who got an adjustable rate mortgage, was foreclosed on and yet still thinks adjustable rate mortgages are the way to go.

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