Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Blaming Abortion for the Number of Illegitimate Children

The Wall Street Journal has a bizarre argument today by John Lott, Jr. He claims that because of the availability of abortion, more people had pre-marital sex, assuming they relied on abortion as a means of rectifying an unplanned pregnancy. Thus more people had sex and took less precaution. And then didn't have the abortion that supposedly led them to this decision in the first place.

I don't know which came first, but I do know that along with the liberalization of sexuality also came a destigmatization of pre-marital sex, raising a child on one's own, and soon beefed up child support laws. I've always felt one of the main reasons for women to give up unplanned children in the days prior to Roe V. Wade was because of stigma and lack of support--not being able to get married to the right kind of guy, pressure from family, and the daunting task of doing it all alone after her parents kicked her out of the house or just having her parents decide the whole thing regardless of her feelings because they didn't want her or themselves saddled with the reminder of their daughter's shame. For women who received welfare from the government, children were not as large of a burden as they would have been for others--the welfare increased with the number of children. I would think the amount it increased would hardly be enough to really act as an incentive, but it certainly was no disincentive. For other women, the financial impact became much less as well with generous child support laws and complete certainty of support or jail time for the father.

The point of the article is to lay out another argument for reversing Roe V. Wade. To decide a question of rights based on consequences is to deny the validity of rights. Women have a right to decide what happens with their own bodies. Properly we all have responsibility for our actions and an obligation to make choices based on the information we can gather.

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