And it really is striking, when you dig into the data, how much of the blue-state advantage in preventing teen births is made possible by abortion. Rhode Island’s teen pregnancy rate is identical to West Virginia’s, but West Virginia’s teen birth rate is 33 percent higher. California’s teen pregnancy rate is higher than Alabama’s, but California’s teen birth rate is 20 percent lower. Kentucky and Maryland have the same teen pregnancy rates, but Kentucky has almost 60 percent more teenage births. And so on …
This data isn’t a problem for many abortion supporters of the old school, who would argue that of course abortion is essential to post-sexual revolution family stability — and that’s why they’re for it! It’s more of a problem, though, for the quasi-anti-abortion argument that Slate’s Will Saletan, among others, frequently advances, which posits that liberal funding for contraception and comprehensive sex education, rather than legal sanctions and moral stigma, are the best way to reduce the abortion rate. This “pro-life case for Planned Parenthood,” in Saletan’s vivid phrase, has obvious intuitive appeal if you’re pro-choice but uncomfortable with abortion. But it would be much more persuasive if abortion rates weren’t higher in liberal (and Planned Parenthood-friendly) states than in conservative ones.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Preventing teen births by aborting children
Ross Douthat has more on red-state and blue-state families: