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Does universal coverage reduce abortion?

"To oppose expanded coverage in the name of restricting abortion gets things exactly backward," writes T.R. Reid. "It's like saying you won't fix the broken furnace in a schoolhouse because you're against pneumonia." Here's his argument:

The latest United Nations comparative statistics, available at http://data.un.org, demonstrate the point clearly. The U.N. data measure the number of abortions for women ages 15 to 44. They show that Canada, for example, has 15.2 abortions per 1,000 women; Denmark, 14.3; Germany, 7.8; Japan, 12.3; Britain, 17.0; and the United States, 20.8. When it comes to abortion rates in the developed world, we're No. 1.

No one could argue that Germans, Japanese, Brits or Canadians have more respect for life or deeper religious convictions than Americans do. So why do they have fewer abortions?

One key reason seems to be that all those countries provide health care for everybody at a reasonable cost. That has a profound effect on women contemplating what to do about an unwanted pregnancy.

The connection was explained to me by a wise and holy man, Cardinal Basil Hume. He was the senior Roman Catholic prelate of England and Wales when I lived in London; as a reporter and a Catholic, I got to know him.

In Britain, only 8 percent of the population is Catholic (compared with 25 percent in the United States). Abortion there is legal. Abortion is free. And yet British women have fewer abortions than Americans do. I asked Cardinal Hume why that is.

The cardinal said that there were several reasons but that one important explanation was Britain's universal health-care system. "If that frightened, unemployed 19-year-old knows that she and her child will have access to medical care whenever it's needed," Hume explained, "she's more likely to carry the baby to term. Isn't it obvious?"

A young woman I knew in Britain added another explanation. "If you're [sexually] active," she said, "the way to avoid abortion is to avoid pregnancy. Most of us do that with an IUD or a diaphragm. It means going to the doctor. But that's easy here, because anybody can go to the doctor free."

I've not seen any studies on this, but it's an interesting take.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 16, 2010; 8:25 AM ET
 
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Comments

Ezra-

Lawrence O'Donnell was arguing against the health care bill for much of the morning on Morning Joe. Among the points he made was that the health care bill will amount to the largest unfunded mandate in history and that it will bankrupt states because of its (largely) unfunded expansion of medicaid. This isn't something I've heard talked about much one way or the other. Any chance you could dig into the numbers here?

Thanks!

Posted by: pollibido | March 16, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Go to the Guttmacher Institute for a complete survey of abortion around the world.

Several things stand out: 1) Countries with the most liberal social policies have the lowest abortion rates. 2) Predominately Catholic countries where abortion is illegal have higher rates of abortion, largely as the result of poverty. 3) Making abortion illegal does not stop abortions, but makes them more dangerous to the mother since they occur outside of established medical venues. 4) Access to contraception greatly decreased rates of abortion in Eastern Europe, although rates are still higher than Western Europe.

Don't let "pro-life" advocates fool you. They are not interested in reducing abortions, or they would be flocking to Holland to see how they have so few abortions. Their main interest is in punishing women for having sex. Period.

Posted by: esaund | March 16, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

esaund:

You mean "punishing women [and men] who have sex [outside of marriage".

Posted by: JakeD | March 16, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Whatever one thinks about universal healthcare or abortion, correlation does not equal causation. And abortion is an issue where emotions tend to run very high, so it's one where the conclusion tends to be pre-determined and the facts on the ground made to fit the conclusion.

@esaund; "Their main interest is in punishing women for having sex. Period."

They've told you this? Or are you able to read minds?

Their main interest is in eliminating abortions, period, and many of them believe abortions being illegal and difficult or impossible to get is how you do that. The idea that legal and easy access to abortion might actually reduce rates of abortion doesn't compute in the pro-life community. Thus, why they don't "flock to Holland", where easy access to birth control--and a large Muslim community where in which you are more likely to be honor-killed than have an abortion--helps keep abortion rates low.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 16, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

@JakeD: No I think he means punishing women for having sex. Because the punishment of not being able to have an abortion is either having to have the baby (and, generally, having and raising a child is considered "punishment" in the context of the abortion argument) or, worse, they are pressured to get married to an oppressive patriarchal male who will then abuse them and the baby, and inhibit her ability to pursue a career, thus making it like a triple-punishment. While the man, naturally, only benefits from the marriage (statistics prove it) and does nothing for his children because he is male, thus worthless, so he's not being punished for having sex at all.

Although some men have claimed to be punished for having sex *by* marriage--the main component of this punishment consisting of never having sex again. But that's completely anecdotal.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 16, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I can see the correlation there and agree Ezra with abortion and access to basic GYN care. It'll be interesting to see how much of an affect that has on the abortion rate in the US because while we can give them access to care and for lower income people free care but it doesn't force them to practice safe sex.

Anybody know if medicaid covers IUD's and diaphragms? If so then that punches a small hole in your theory. If it doesn't, it should.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 16, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

"No one could argue that Germans, Japanese, Brits or Canadians have more respect for life or deeper religious convictions than Americans do."

Forgive the temerity of the following rant, but:

The contest over depth of religious convictions I will gladly and proudly concede on behalf of Canada, but we do have more respect for life, and so do the Germans, Japanese and Brits. None of us have the death penalty. All of us sensibly restrict handguns. All of us are willing to pay higher taxes to ensure our fellow citizens have health care. We're also more reluctant to bomb the crap out of some benighted place with drones or cruise missiles and applaud if our leaders do such things. Britain is at least making Blair and Brown answer questions under oath about their decisions leading up to the Iraq invasion. That detainees may have been given over to Afghanistan with implicit knowledge that the Afghans would torture them is hugely controversial in Canada and may yet bring down the government.

None of this and nothing like this is true in America. A Democratic president refuses to prosecute people who built a state system of orchestrated, planned and deliberate torture. A crime against humanity, quite literally. The liars who tricked the nation into the Iraq war are still on TV proudly boasting of their deeds, without remorse.

If the American right wants to say it respects life, it can damn well do as Missouri asks and 'show me' with deeds instead of empty rhetoric. I have a great deal of affection for America, but damn it if your pervasive myths of exceptionalism don't grate. Respect for life. Ha. The US markets value lives at $3M and I'm sure somewhere there is a room of MBA accountants working to lower that figure in the name of efficiency.

Posted by: Scientician | March 16, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Regardless, Obama "promised" that no federal funds will go to abortion. I guess that he simply wants to punish women for having sex ; )

Posted by: JakeD | March 16, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Good point, Scientician. pResident Obama simply wants to punish women for having sex ; )

Posted by: JakeD | March 16, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis:

I know you were joking, but one "punishment" for men who can't easily get rid of their children via abortion is having to pay child support.

But that's not the real reason. We have to defend the defenseless without resorting to "cures" that are worse than the sickness itself. There are plenty of ways I could think of "to reduce abortion" that would still be immoral.

Posted by: JakeD | March 16, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Now Obamacare will actually reduce abortions? What a load of BS. What will Ezra come up with tomorrow as a reason to support Obamacare? It'll cure acne? Please!! Obamcare is the most Pro-Abortion pieced of legislation to come before Congress since the "right" to abortion was miraculosly found in the constitution by the Supreme Court in Rove V Wade.

Posted by: RobT1 | March 16, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

The problem, according to Catholics, would be the rate of contraception use in those countries with very low abortion rates. For the ardent pro-lifer, contraception is just as bad as abortion, so they would view that situation as almost as catastrophic.

I've asked my parents this and they said a world with zero abortions but full use of contraception is worse than what we have in the US with the highest abortion rates in the developed world.

At that point, it comes down to people wanting to legislate their religion and their morality, which is unAmerican. So to me, they lose the right to have their opinion listened to.

Posted by: consid24 | March 16, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"Now Obamacare will actually reduce abortions? What a load of BS"

Yeah RobT, it's just a big coincidence that every other country with UHC has less abortions. What a load of BS!! Let me just cognitively dissonate those inconvenient facts by blindly dismissing them because I am a hard core ideologue who is not amenable to reasoned persuasion!

Posted by: Scientician | March 16, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

The Reid article is bullocks all around. The abortion rate disparity in the US is entirely explained by our racial composition. Abortion rates by race in age 15-44 are as follows: White--10/1000, Hispanic 28/1000, black 50/1000. Give Germany, Japan or Holland our racial composition, their rates are higher than ours. Further, our lower median age skews the outcome even more; Germany's median age is about 44 ours is 36 meaning we have comparatively more younger women who are obviously more likely to get pregnant. Tying this to universal health insurance is BS to the extreme.

Posted by: sgaliger | March 16, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Scientician,

can't the argument be made that it could increase the incidence of abortions?

While you're giving them access (which theoretically will increase them) and simultaneously give them the steps necessary to prevent the need for them (simple GYN care) the question will be will women use the care given to them to prevent them?

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 16, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

sgaliger:

Good points. These are all short-sighted arguments. If the GOP really hated minorities, for instance, wouldn't they be glad to fund inner-city abortions?

consid24:

Good thing that secular humanists don't "lose" their right to have their opinion listened to. ALL law is legislating someone's morality, so get used to it. A more interesting question: Besides their view on abortion, why do you hate your parents?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

To what degree does poverty explain the difference in rates by race? Do they not have poor people in Europe? If not.... why don't we adopt MORE of their policies? Oh right, it's better to have more billionaires than fewer destitutes.

Posted by: consid24 | March 16, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I don't hate my parents. I think it's unamerican to legislate how other people can have sex. There's no scientific, objective reason for their stance, only the belief that the soul enters the fetus at conception. If they want to believe that, that's good for them, but passing laws based on nothing more than mythology is ridiculous.

It would be no different from a Muslim wanting to ban alcohol, pork, and borrowing on credit.

Posted by: consid24 | March 16, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"The Reid article is bullocks all around. The abortion rate disparity in the US is entirely explained by our racial composition"

See, racism explains it all. Problem solved, it's all the black peoples' own fault. Let me just go back to my comfortable gated community cocoon of smug self-satisfaction for being born on 3rd base.

Posted by: Scientician | March 16, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Esaund: "Don't let "pro-life" advocates fool you. They are not interested in reducing abortions, or they would be flocking to Holland to see how they have so few abortions. Their main interest is in punishing women for having sex. Period. "

I'd say many pro-life politicians have a much more cynical interest. They whip people into a lather about Abortion in order to disguise their views on other issues (being beholden to certain, usually evil, special interests for example) and get people to vote for them.

Posted by: Sayne | March 16, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The sad thing is, many people have real, deeply held religious views on abortion, and they're being used.

Posted by: Sayne | March 16, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Actually Scientician you sound like an idealogue yourself. Exactly how does comparing abortion rates between the U.S. and other countries with completely different ethnic, religous, political, etc. make up do anything to further the cause of Obamare which is the whole reason Ezra put this article out there in the first place. The desperation to find something anything to justify this big government monstrosity is sickening.

Posted by: RobT1 | March 16, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

consid24:

So, you want to legalize prostitution, incest, polygamy, pedophilia, AND beastiality?! And you somehow think that is NOT forcing your (im)morals on us?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I didn't realize Rick Santorum posted here! Congrats Ezra.

Posted by: consid24 | March 16, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

OK, scientician, so the fact that there is a 5x higher abortion rate for whites than blacks is what, statistical noise? Why that is so is an open question, but to ignore it when comparing statistics across countries is BS.

Posted by: sgaliger | March 16, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@consid24: "There's no scientific, objective reason for their stance, only the belief that the soul enters the fetus at conception. If they want to believe that, that's good for them, but passing laws based on nothing more than mythology is ridiculous."

So what should the laws be passed on? When should it be illegal to have an abortion? 2nd trimester? 3rd trimester? After birth? The post-birth fetus is a much greater drain, and a much bigger parasite, on the mother than it is when it's still in the womb. Where do we draw the distinction between a 2nd trimester abortion and a 7th trimester abortion?

@Scientician: "See, racism explains it all. Problem solved, it's all the black peoples' own fault." Really? That's your response? Yawn.

What explains it all is that correlation does not equal causation. And it's the most basic error in statistical analysis to suggest it does. Just the fact that if you do a single adjustment--for racial disparities between the US and European countries--then they appear to have more abortions than us, not less, clearly demonstrates that a simple causal interpretation of complicated correlative data is not meaningful.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 16, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Good article in Economist about what happens when goverment policy promotes abortion. 100 million missing Girls!

http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15606229

So why are we going to promote and fund abortions? Where is your critical thinking, Ezra?

Posted by: Katheen777 | March 16, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

JakeD2: Polygamy, prostitution, and even incest (all past the age of consent) can be practiced by consenting adults, and more libertarians than liberals think all those things should be legal. Because there is an argument that those are arrangements between consenting adults, and the government doesn't really have a role there, except perhaps to tax and license.

Pedophilia and bestiality cannot, by definition, be practiced between consenting adults, thus are not appropriate in an apples-to-apples comparison.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 16, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

consid24:

YOU said "... it's unamerican to legislate how other people can have sex.". Where do YOU draw the line?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@consid24: "It would be no different from a Muslim wanting to ban alcohol, pork, and borrowing on credit."

What about bans on murder (Thou Shalt Not Kill) or theft of property (Thou Shalt Not Steal)? Antiquated religious notions?

Like it or not, the pro-life community regards abortion to be little different than strangling a baby in it's crib. The fact that one is considered a medical procedure and the other a capital offense doesn't hold a lot of water with those folks. It's not a purely religious objection to a medical procedure, like Levitical objections to pork or shellfish. They consider it the murder of an innocent life, little different from killing a baby in its crib. It's not a quaint religious tradition.

It's not an objection to women having sex.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 16, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

My cutoff for abortion: 4 months. At that point, the fetus has developed uniquely human brain activity. At that point you are killing something that's more human than not, as opposed to something with the potential to become human.

We pull the plug on adults when they lose organized brain activity (i.e. become brain dead), it should be legal to pull the plug on fetuses in the same stage.

Posted by: consid24 | March 16, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Kathleen777:

The government does not promote this kind of abortion.
The societies do.

There is a difference.

BTW, could you specify for me how "we" promote and fund abortions?

Posted by: gratis11 | March 16, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The USA suffers from a huge number of abortions every year (over a million). Many (over 6%, which equates to over 60,000) are due to health or physical problems with the fetus and the fact that trying to raise such babies would bankrupt most families under the status quo.

For those reasons, universal health care reform is essential to reduce those kinds of abortions.

Posted by: Lomillialor | March 16, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

They consider it murder mainly because of their belief in a soul, which from an objective standpoint is an antiquated religious notion. Especially a soul that is imparted to the fetus at conception. There isn't even clear biblical support for that notion, you have to cobble together phrases from the entire bible to piece that belief together.

If it weren't an objection to having sex, they would be all for birth control.

Also, I agree with Kevin, acts between consenting adults should be legal. So pedophilia is out, bestiality is out, etc. Prostitution is in. As is polygamy. Unless you can document evidence that the damage to society outweighs the benefit to those consenting adults. Abortion critics can't even come close to documenting that.

Posted by: consid24 | March 16, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

@gratis11: Here are six ways in the Senate Bill alone that abortion is promoted and funded. Do you want me to start on Planned Parenthood after you read these?

http://www.lifenews.com/nat5862.html

Posted by: Katheen777 | March 16, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Child molesters are "people" too!

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"OK, scientician, so the fact that there is a 5x higher abortion rate for whites than blacks is what, statistical noise?"

No, it's the result of the uncorrected harm of generations of slavery followed by generations of de jure 2nd class citizenship followed by a couple recent generations of de facto 2nd class citizenship.

You see a lot of the same problems among aboriginal north Americans and it isn't their skin colour that causes alcoholism or teen pregnancy either.

Did you think 40 acres and a mule made slavery all better with no lasting intergenerational problems?

Posted by: Scientician | March 16, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Ezra - I'd note that all the countries mentioned in the post have lower birth rates than the US as well. In other words they have fewer pregancies per 1,000 women than the US does. A better statistic would be comparing the number of abortions per pregnancy in US vs. other countries.

And an even better exercise would be to compare historic rates of abortion in countries before and after the adoption universal health care.

Also, you'd want to adjust for access to the morning after pill. I think that it is much more accessible in Europe than it is (or has been) in the US.

Posted by: mbp3 | March 16, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

to Scientician - This is off topic but I'd note that until recently US welfare rules gave low-income women (regardless of skin color) a financial incentive to have more children vs. working outside the home. People respond to incentives.

Posted by: mbp3 | March 16, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

mbp3,

Yes, so lucky that all the countries routinely derided as "socialist" by US conservatives like Sweden, France and the Netherlands had no forms of welfare or social assistance for unwed low income mothers. That must explain why they don't have high birth rates among low-income women.

I wonder why that could be? Could it be that a welfare cheque is not actually a sufficient incentive to motivate poor women to have additional children they otherwise would not want?

Posted by: Scientician | March 16, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

consid24:

So, you draw the line at pedophilia and bestiality (how comforting). I guess you didn't mean all PEOPLE then, just "acts between consenting adults should be legal". That means that real murder and, specifically, assisted suicide can be "acts between consenting adults" right?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

It should be obvious that access to health care, particularly reproductive health care including reality-based sex education and contraception, would reduce the need for abortion. To some people, that is a good thing. These are the "safe, legal and rare" party.

But for others, the issue IS controlling women's sexual activities. Women who have sex outside marriage, formerly known as "fallen women", must be punished, and to rabid anti-abortion types having a child is indeed punishment, especially since they don't support health care or welfare for the child. (They only care about the innocent "pre-born", not about actual children.) If they really cared about reducing pregnancy, they would support contraception, but they don't. As the person said above, to these types a world with freely available contraception and low abortion rates is worse because it implies lots of sex outside of marriage. How can anyone possibly not see a belief like that as not punishing women for sex?

Posted by: Mimikatz | March 16, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Mimikatz:

No, if they REALLY cared about reducing pregnancy, they would support forced sterilization for all females of child-bearing age.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Jake, you really think you've scored some points by pointing out that my stance leads to assisted suicide. As if I could possibly be against assisted suicide, especially for the terminally ill.

People can find all sorts of spiritual value in suffering. Again, that doesn't mean it's right to make people suffer if they don't want to.

Posted by: consid24 | March 16, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

It's not just "assisted suicide" for the terminally ill (besides, aren't we ALL "terminal"?). YOUR morals allow a healthy, productive citizen to agree to be murdered too. Society has a vested interest in preventing that, even in Oregon there's a legal requirement that a physician prescribe medication, but it must be SELF-administered. The prognosis must be for a life span of 6 months or less. The person must be a 'resident' of Oregon. A written request for prescription and two oral requests from the patient is also needed to escape criminal liability, plus written confirmation by doctor that the act is completely voluntary and fully-informed.

Anywhere else, that's prosecuted in the name of the PEOPLE OF THE STATE. Again, all law is legislating someone's morality, so get used to it.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Most law is legislating almost everyone's morality, not "someone's". In a democracy, laws should not legislate "someone's" morality. That's a dictatorship.

You seem like someone who would be more comfortable in one of those.

Posted by: consid24 | March 16, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I was actually very comfortable in THIS democracy, circa 1972 ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

@Scientician: "Did you think 40 acres and a mule made slavery all better with no lasting intergenerational problems?"

While it has no bearing on the fundamental point--that these statistics don't reveal any sort of causal relationship and, in fact, have no real statistical value at all--it should be noted that the vast majority of slaves didn't get squat. They did not get 40 acres, and they did not get a mule. While the government may have promised those things, it fell down on the actual delivery.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 16, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

consid24:

Didn't you say (or, rather, type at March 16, 2010 9:38 AM) that people who want to legislate their morality are being "unAmerican"? In fact, you thought said people lose the right to have their opinion listened to. So much for "Most law is legislating almost everyone's morality . . ."

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The implication, and what my later posts support, is the idea that legislating your own morality for its own sake, i.e. with only mythology and personal beliefs as support and zero objective evidence, is unamerican.

I'll repeat:anti-abortion voters generally have that stance because of a belief that a god-given soul is imparted to the fetus at conception. The belief in such a soul is based solely in mythology. It would akin to a Wiccan saying we shouldn't cut down trees because trees have souls and they don't like it. That would be absurd. But only a little less absurd than thinking a day-old fetus has a soul.

Take whatever else out of context you want so you can continue playing "gotcha" but... that's my point.

Posted by: consid24 | March 16, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@MimiKatz: "But for others, the issue IS controlling women's sexual activities."

While most men are concerned with controlling a woman's sexual activities, that woman is usually their wife/girlfriend and they usually want more, not less, plus would it kill them to wear some garters and a bustier now and then? And speak in an outrageous French accent?

MimiKatz: "They only care about the innocent "pre-born", not about actual children."

You know a lot of these people? And what is their justification for thinking like that? I assume you've asked them, in your long talks with them, during which you've gained your deep understanding of their thinking and their moral positions.

"As the person said above, to these types a world with freely available contraception and low abortion rates is worse because it implies lots of sex outside of marriage."

The position, as I've heard it expressed, is a disbelief that such a state is possible. They don't believe that freely available contraception leads to lower abortion rates. They believe it leads to hire abortion rates. Thus it's not an argument that less abortions and more sex is bad, but an assumption that more sex inevitably leads to more abortions, that birth control is unreliable, that more sex leads to the spread of STDs, etc.

"How can anyone possibly not see a belief like that as not punishing women for sex?"

That sort of sounds like the Republicans who ask how anybody who does what the Democrats are doing could be anything but Socialist-Marxists.


Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 16, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

@jakeD2: "I was actually very comfortable in THIS democracy, circa 1972"

And then Richard Nixon was elected, and gave us the EPA, and OSHA, and instituted wage and price controls! Dude was a command and control central planner from the word go. He also declared defeat in Vietnam, and got the troops out. Why in the world the left didn't love this guy--who was to the right of McGovern, but to the left of every president we've had since, including Obama--I will never understand.

His administration also gave Affirmative Action its first punitive teeth. This guy should be the progressives poster boy.

He just wasn't youthful, telegenic and charismatic, like JFK, Clinton and Obama. Liberals. They are *so* superficial. :)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 16, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis:

I didn't vote for Tricky Dick ; )

consid24:

I'm not playing "gotcha games". I also never said anything about a soul or other mythology.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"No one could argue that Germans, Japanese, Brits or Canadians have more respect for life...than Americans do."

Uh.
Yeah, which of those countries guarantee health care for their citizens? Which have the death penalty? Which have started discretionary wars?

Show me a metric that suggests American public policy, in practice, actually values life more than these countries?

Posted by: adamiani | March 16, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Scientician already made that "point" (for those who think the death penalty for MURDERERS WHO FORFEIT THEIR LIVES BY TAKING OTHERS does not respect life). Look up "justified homicide" someday.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

@adamiani: "Show me a metric that suggests American public policy, in practice, actually values life more than these countries?"

Are you joking? There are abundant examples of . . . oh, wait, you said "metric". I thought you said "rhetoric". Nevermind.

. . .

Even then, I think America values liberty and freedom more than life. After all: give me liberty, or give me death.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | March 16, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Gladly ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"I was actually very comfortable in THIS democracy, circa 1972 ; )"--JakeD2

Wasn't that about the time Richard Nixon was pushing a health-insurance scheme even more liberal than the measures being considered by Congress today? Just asking.

Posted by: henderstock | March 16, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

adamiani:

I believe that the Germans and Japs indeed started discretionary wars (remember Pearl Harbor?). Do you really want to go back all through the wars started by Great Britain? As for Canada, they could spend ZERO on national defense since they know the U.S. is never going to let anyone invade North America. If it wasn't for us, Canada wouldn't even be a free country today.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

henderstock:

As I said, I never voted for Richard Nixon.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"Scientician already made that "point" (for those who think the death penalty for MURDERERS WHO FORFEIT THEIR LIVES BY TAKING OTHERS does not respect life). Look up "justified homicide" someday."

How many innocent people have been murdered by the state for crimes they did not commit?

Worse, there is 0 evidence that the Death penalty has any benefits whatsoever to society. It's not even a utilitarian justification. Convicts are just murdered, crime rates are not affected. Victim families gain no obvious benefit. It costs a tremendous amount more to execute them. Guards and officials involved are traumatized.

It's lose-lose-lose-lose-lose, every which way you look at it, except through the primiative emotional lens of vengeance. So naturally conservatives love it.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann

There you go. Read that and tell me about your tremendous respect for life.

In Canada, in recent decades we have freed numerous innocent men who had been wrongly convicted of murders, some of murdering children. All were in prison extended times and would likely have been executed if we had the American respect for "life." Look up David Milgard, Guy Paul Morin, Donald Marshall, Thomas Sophonow, James Driskell, and Kyle Unger. All are alive today because we wisely dispensed with a bad policy and stopped executing people in 1976.

Posted by: Scientician | March 16, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Here in America, we have not executed a single innocent man. We have let "allegedly" innocent men out of prison though who have, in fact, murdered again. Executions don't cost much, 30-40 years of appeals are what cost too much.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

the love for European ways is very touching around here. I wonder how emigration policy works? hmmm.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 16, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

adamiani:

Here's a list of all the wars started by Great Britain (have fun reading ; )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Wars_involving_Great_Britain

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 16, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Jake: I know you are being tongue-in-cjheel, butof course they wouldn't support forced sterilization--it would only make sex more free of negative consequences.

Kevion: Only caring about the pre-born? Ever heart of the concept of Original Sin? Once people are born they are sinners in this concept, as a result of having been born out of fornication. Check St. Augustine, or Elaine Pagels' book "Adam, Eve and the Serpent."

As for rabid anti-abortionists, I have done some reading on the subnject and argued with a few. What I think really animates many of them is a fear of annihilation. They are marginal personalities. They must hold the line on abortion (or assisted death) or risk psychological annihilation. The people who introduced the anti-abortion issue into conservatism such as Francis Schaeffer and James Dobson seem to exhibit this and it accounts for the hysteria around Terry Schiavo.

Posted by: Mimikatz | March 16, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Open letter to all members of Congress re Obamacare

Your position and that of the sitting members of congress will not rise unscathed from the support of Obamacare. Support of this issue is a direct usurpation of the powers authorized to congress under the Constitution of the United States of America. In supporting it you violate the trust that has been placed in you by the citizens that you represent. In support of this issue you show gross disregard for the men and women that have fought and died for the words and principles of the Constitution over the entire history of this nation.

Why are you trying to destroy the United States of America by flagrantly supporting legislation that is in direct opposition to the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution? Two other instances of such activity by the federal government were FDR’s Social Security and LBJ’s Medicare. Both are in trouble while you are attempting to add to the entitlement problems.

My home state of Massachusetts had the right idea of health care administered by the state, but its progressive implementation is driving the state into financial distress due to the rising costs of maintaining the system.

Our national security is at risk as one of our largest debt holders (China) is trying to control our foreign policy with one of our close allies, Taiwan.

It has been said that if America falls, it will have to be from the inside as no other nation is strong enough to take it down externally. I ask this question of you in the open public forum “Are you proud to be one of the termites eating away at the foundations of Liberty?”

If you are a religious person, you must worry that the millions of Patriots that have passed before will be demonstrating against your entrance at the Pearly Gates.

Dale E. Brown for Congress MA05 2010
www.brownsview.us

Posted by: brownsview | March 16, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Germany, France and Netherlands actually have more conservative policies on abortion than many U.S. states. In many states, Planned Parenthood and NARAL can any policy passed they want through their extensive lobbying and campaign contributions.

Now, of course, Europe will pay for it (some with a significant co-pay), but otherwise even in the the most liberal European states...
There are no 2nd and 3rd trimester elective abortions
There are parental and spousal consent laws
There are medical screenings including ultrasounds
There are waiting periods

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6235557.stm


They also have the medical provider conscious protections that Obama has campaigned to eliminate and are not made permanent in the HCR bill.

Posted by: cprferry | March 16, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

You want an iteresting take on this subject? If you want universal health care then do it without legal abortions or euthanasia, they are murder and not health care. The pro abortionists want socialized medicine and along with it the ability to kill the unborn, sick and dying to help keep the costs down, that is not the answer to health care problems in this country. Murder is never the answer to any problem accept in the case of self defense which every one has a right to. Abortion is not justified because an unborn baby has a disability, nor is euthanasia justified because someone is dying anyway, or worse yet their not dying but have a disability. These actions are cold-hearted murder, not mercy killing and they are not justifiable in order to afford universal health care.

Posted by: scientifictruth | March 17, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

NY's Medicaid program pays for abortions for low-income women.

New York is the abortion capital of America, with the highest abortion rate (39 out of every 1,000 women).

New York City: The Abortion Capital of America http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/features/15248/#ixzz0ieVsuppW

Posted by: NorthMan | March 19, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

If you want to see the final results of Obama's health care reform then take a look at Social Security and Medicare, they claim the systems are almost broke if not broke already so they endoctrinate people to accept euthanasia and then they euthanize to save money both in medicare costs and Social Security payments. Hospice is just a big joke, Hospice euthanizes people by the hundreds by overdosing them with pain medication. They do it behind the smoke screen of caring. They even advertise and tell you the sooner you get them in the better. Is this the future of America's healthcare? Socialize medicine, no one wants the costs so they take your money out of your check before you ever see it and then when you need it for health care, etc., they deny you care and ultimately euthanize whoever they can get away with killing, all you have to do is give your consent. It's murder for the unborn and suicide for any one else; call it anything you want, it's still murder; the killing of a human being.

Posted by: scientifictruth | March 20, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

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