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Abortions down, babies up

By Alice Bradley

The birth rate has soared while the abortion rate has taken a sharp downward turn. That sounds like good news. Is it?
First, the abortion rate. Both the pro-life and pro-choice advocates are pleased that the number of U.S. abortions have reached their lowest rate since 1974. Both, not surprisingly, have their own explanations for the decline.
Pro-life advocates are claiming the decline is a direct result of pro-life laws such as parental notice and informed consent. Makes sense—except that some of the states with the biggest abortion rate declines do not have restrictive abortion policies. Oregon, for instance, had the second largest abortion rate decline — 25% from 2000 to 2005. And it’s considered the “least pro-life state” by at least one pro-life organization.
The pro-choice side credits the decline in abortions to increased access to emergency contraception. Not only are there fewer abortions, but more are occurring earlier in pregnancy, with 90% occurring in the first trimester, which indicates that women have become better informed of their options. (More abortions were administered via medication, as well. )
Still, with abortion access becoming more of a challenge for women throughout the U.S., one has to wonder if this decline is entirely good news. The U.S., after all, still has the highest unintended pregnancy rate of any developed country. Considering that the rate of teen pregnancies also increased for the first time in 15 years, and that 37% of all U.S. births are to single mothers, the decrease in abortion rates could mean an increase in unwanted pregnancies carried to term. At this point, it’s not clear what factors are at play.
Now, about those babies. It was announced this week that 4.3 million babies were born in 2006—the highest number since 1961. This increase has officially been declared a “boomlet.” (That’s a mini-boom, for you laypeople out there. It’s too early to declare this an official boom.) Once again, those on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum have taken their stands on the issue. According to the Feminist Majority Foundation, the increase in births was caused by dramatic cutbacks in family planning funding and abortion access. (Didn’t we hear something about a decline in abortion rates? Sounds familiar.)
According to the Catholic News Agency, another reason for the boomlet is “better economic opportunities for American mothers returning to work.” (And what would those be, exactly?) The CNA adds that “cultural” reasons may be at play, as certain regions of the U.S. are more “accepting” of children. People in the South and Midwest, for example, adore their offspring, while here in the Northeast, we loathe babies. Pudgy, horrible, delicious babies.
According to the Associated Press, the increased number is mostly due to a larger population, including a larger Hispanic population—a group that accounted for one-quarter of all U.S. births. In addition, they cite four fairly depressing factors accounting for the rise: a decline in contraceptive use, a drop in access to abortion, poor education, and poverty.
Economists say that this rise in population is good news. It means that we won’t have to face the labor shortages that come with a dwindling population. But surely the increased number of children born don’t just represent labor-providing hordes. Surely their quality of life means something. (Right?) If these children face lives of hardship and poverty, or neglect and abuse from parents who didn’t want them, it’s hard to see what reason there is to celebrate. No one, of course, can determine how much these children will suffer, but right now, the odds don’t seem to favor far too many of them.

Related Articles:

Teen pregnancies on the rise
Birth Rates are Increasing Dramatically

Published January 18, 2008. Last updated May 10, 2010.
Alice Bradley
About the Author

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.


Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

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  • Arwen

    January 18, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    It would be interesting, in twenty years, to do a survey all those babies who came into the world in 2006. “Our analysis of the statistics shows that a significant number of you would be better off if you’d never had the chance to be born. What do you think?”
    I wonder how many of them would check “Strongly Agree.”

  • MommyofOne

    January 18, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Of course, abortion would not be an issue if these unwanted babies were not being conceived in the first place. Which is why I believe President Bush has been correct in funding abstinence programs.
    Until people are willing to accept that conception is a natural consequence of sex (even using multiple types of contraception does not completely eliminate the risk of pregnancy) they have no business engaging in activities where the abortion of a fetus is a solution to a “problem.”
    But of course, most people don’t see it that way. We want to be able to have sex without consequences. It’s never gonna happen.

  • dregina

    January 18, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    “We want to be able to have sex without consequences. It’s never gonna happen.”
    That’s exactly why I believe that contraception methods SHOULD be taught in school. It’s amazing to me how people with completely differing viewpoints can take the same damn facts and use them to further their own argument.
    I thank God every day that I was born in the United States in the year 1978, and that, as a result of women who came before me, I have access to affordable contraception, and that it has worked for me up to now. What a blessing!

  • Marisa

    January 18, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    I wonder what Oregon’s sex-ed program is? (I’m at work, so I don’t have time to look it up just now…)
    If they are one of the “least pro-life state[s],” then it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t have “abstinence-only” programs, but rather the more inclusive and effective ones that include information about birth control.
    It seems to me that there are two major ways to decrease abortion rates: give people, especially women, every tool possible to PLAN their pregnancies so that unwanted pregnancies don’t happen; or make abortions impossible to get, so that unwanted pregnancies must be carried to term. Only one of those methods is likely to increase the birthrate, though.

  • Anonymous

    January 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Mommyofone! I have sex without consequences by being a lesbian.
    Anyhow, have you noticed that it seems like every week people (straight people, mind you) are throwing their kids of bridges or balconies or storing their baby’s poor dead body in a rubber tub in the shed after beating them to death?
    Unwanted children, uncared for, abused, unloved (by their killer parents) children. It breaks my rabid feminist heart.
    In most all of these cases the parents of these dead children are poor, under educated, and probably were abused themselves, trapped in the cycle of poverty and abuse. What is your president bush doing for these people, before they have the unwanted children they beat to death? Why…he’s funding abstienice only programs while simultaneously cutting back every other social service imaginable. Services for the most at-risk and vulnerable among us. Way to go! That’s the plan! Demonize sex and make that girl have that baby because she should just know better. But, knowledge is power, power is money, money’s what matters. Where the money going?
    I am proud to live in a state that has said ‘no thank you hypocrites – we won’t be taking any of bush’s abstienice only funding’.

  • Holly

    January 18, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    I have big problems with abstinence only education. Yes, it would be great if we could convince kids that that is the way to go, but hormones and impulsiveness run rampant among teenagers, and even those with the best of intentions fail. If they can pledge abstinence and stick to it, great. However, if they find that they can’t, they will be a lot better off if they know what their options are. Not only to prevent unwanted pregnancy, but also STDs. I don’t want my son to become a father in his teen years, nor do I want him to contract herpes. Both sound like horrible, easily preventable, situations. Of course I would prefer it if he didn’t have sex until marriage, but the reality is that he will probably lose his virginity before taking a walk down the aisle. I want him to be informed.
    This editorial regarding abstinence only education appeared in my local paper last month:

  • SuburbanCorrespondent

    January 18, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    All lives are worth celebrating. How dare we judge and say, “‘Twere better had you not been born?” And there are many, many willing people who wish to adopt “unwanted” babies. There is no need to say, “No room for you” in this rich, generous country. Sweet, sweet babies! What wouldn’t I give for just one more?
    Lives are valuable, even poverty-ridden ones. Think what you are saying! I’m sure you didn’t mean it the way it sounds.

  • Nicole

    January 18, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Alice, FWIW, I agree with you and I know what you’re saying. I had a post a while back about how every child should be a wanted child and I totally believe that. However, I had a comment from a dear, dear friend after that post who explained to me the circumstances surrounding her own birth and subsequent adoption would have made her a very likely candidate to have been aborted. It made me think, although it certainly didn’t change my mind at all on the choice issue.
    The efforts of a not-insignificant minority to make sure that women suffer because they choose to have sex (or even if they don’t choose and somebody chooses for them, as in the case of rape or incest) is one of the more alarming trends in our society. The technology should exist for consequence-free sex, as far as I’m concerned. It probably would–if I can get a little conspiracy theory on you, here–if men were the ones getting pregnant.
    Societies with healthier attitudes about sex–i.e. perhaps it is a natural part of life!–have universally lower rates of unintended pregnancies and abortion. Could that be because forbidden fruit is always sweeter?
    I’ll be all for more control on sexuality as soon as it is universally applied. If a zygote is a protected class, then we’d darn well better make sperm one too. Goddamn men and their murdering masturbation.
    (Oh, and I am five months pregnant with my second child right now, lest anyone think I am anti-baby.)

  • Sarah

    January 18, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    The current idea, it seems, is to try to restrict access to contraceptives, restrict access to abortions, restrict access to basic information, restrict access to health care, and reduce programs that help people living below the poverty line. On top of that, it often seems as if the same people calling for women to be forced to have babies are the ones who decry the poor for “not trying to improve their circumstances.”
    Ah, but in their minds, what happens to a child AFTER it enters the world doesn’t matter because those SWEET SWEET BABIES simply MUST be born. After all, how else are their obviously selfish, slutty mothers supposed to learn to keep their legs shut?

  • Anonymous

    January 18, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    I’m a woman pushing thirty who has been sexually active since her teens and has never yet been pregnant. Looking back I feel that sixteen-almost-seventeen seems so young to be having sex, but at the time I felt like it really was the right time (with a boy I was in a trusting relationship with, etc.).
    I’m now in the process of planning my first child, and I have to say that it feels so great to know that it will be born to parents who are very much in love and who will very much love it also. I am Canadian, and fully credit safer-sex education for never having yet been pregnant nor having contracted a STI. Of course, accidents happen, even to those who take all precautions and in that sense, I have been lucky. But being educated since late elementary school (by the school system and by concerned and open-minded adults around me) about sexual health and choice is, hands down, what enabled me to make thoughtful, informed decisions about my life, even as a hormone-riddled teenager.
    And as an aside, although I might not want my teenager to be having raging, promiscuous sex, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that having sexual partners before marriage and exploring and discovering one’s sexuality is a part of healthy development. It’s what enabled me to appreciate amazing sexual partners — even bad sex can seem good if you’ve never had anything else!

  • Anonymous

    January 18, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I agree with you, Alice. I am not convinced that these statistics are good news. On one hand it could mean that there are fewer unwanted pregnancies, and the birth boomlet is a result of the overpopulated masses exponentially generating offspring at it’s usual rate. On the other hand it could mean that lack of education and lack of access to abortions are resulting in unwanted births and unhappy lives.
    These numbers and facts can and will be manipulated by each pro-life groups and pro-choice groups. And the arguments and sarcasm will not solve anything.
    I think there are fundamental things that are being overlooked. You cannot legislate human behavior. To do so is detrimental to basic human freedoms. I think that most young men want sex so badly that if the opportunity arises, they can’t stop. And most young girls want a guy to like them so desperately, they won’t stop either. Even if they know or have had it drilled into their heads that it is wrong and dangerous. We will always do things we know are risky or bad for us. If we didn’t, there would be no donut shops and nobody would drive.
    There is a complete lack of education for girls, especially, about their bodies and how their fertility cycle works. And about where to get help if you do get pregnant, if she has somewhere to turn at all. I am personally appalled at the thought that a young girl will be denied the power to choose how her life will be just because an authoritative power wants to force his ideas on others.
    Many years ago I had that power to choose. If I hadn’t been given that oppurtunity, I would be another single woman needing support from the taxpayers money and wondering how my life could have been.

  • Frankie

    January 18, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    *Raises hand*
    Another lesbian here… sex without physical consequences. Oh and we have the lowest sexually transmitted HIV risk too. Sorry MommyofOne. Not to be argumentative, but your notions are antiquated. It is absolutely insane to think that the majority of the population will adhere to abstinence as a means of birth control. All philosophical arguments aside, we are basically animals with a physical NEED for sex. Notwithstanding the percentage of people who can resist that usage indefinitely (I’m aware they are out there) most people need to feel sexual intimacy.
    The only reasonable and reliable means of population control is education and contraception. True there are people who will not take their pill or slip on the glove or what have you, but I guarantee you that these are the same people who will not abstain.
    And yes, abortion needs to be a viable, available medical procedure, even though there ARE people who will use it as an excuse to waggle their loose morals (horrors!)and therefore bring about the end of days. In spite of all the propaganda to the contrary, abortion is only a moral issue for the woman to hash out with the God/dess of her understanding. It’s not for the government to decide. If a person really believes that those who have abortions are heartless baby killers, then they should find a woman agonizing over the decision and offer to adopt her baby.
    so speakith Frankie, also a mommy of One

  • RLJ

    January 19, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Don’t have much to say about the US, but there is a striking difference between the UK and Iceland – not in unwanted pregnancy but in the consequences. In Iceland, the abortion rate is half of that in the UK. The reasons? Quite simple: there is no child poverty to speak of; single mothers face no stigma, can finish school. In my lawschool class, more than half are parents. Childcare is available, excellent and cheap (state subsidised). Parental leave is 9 months, paid 80% to share between both parents and can be taken as and when (including part time) up to the 2nd birthday. Men take care of their kids and pay support even when they aren’t in a relationship with the mother. Not to do so would be socially disgraceful.
    If the pro-life movement wants to cut abortion it has to be truly pro-life – not just up to the point of birth but pro-LIFE including medical care for all kids, proper funded maternity and paternity leave, childcare to allow mums, especially single mums to work without being poor anyway and stop stigmatising single motherhood and condemning single, teenage mothers to a lifetime of poverty.
    It’s all very well making abortion difficult to access; but how about making keeping the baby a hell of a lot more appealing by ensuring the child a LIFE, not just existence.

  • Laura

    January 20, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Why oh why, if I have an issue with someone killing something that I think should have a right to live, am I asked to solve the world’s problems? I have a problem with the moral dilemna’s that are hardly ever discussed with the abortion issue, ie. should a doctor be forced to learn how to administer an abortion, if ethically he/she is against it? When a child is born prematurely, and is wanted, and every available life support is used to provide it a chance to live, and in the same hospital, a child/fetus at the same term is being aborted, I question it. At what point does a fetus become a baby is the question, not whether he/she is wanted. There is no easy answer to that, I do not think that I know, but I would sure feel better about our society in general if I would get the sense that people care enough to stop and question what they think, and why. I am glad that some of you are loving parents, but that does not absolve you of the responsibility to care about other’s children. About adoption as an answer, if you have known anyone who has wanted to adopt, you would know it’s not an easy process. Maybe the laws could be more in favour of adoptive/foster parents, and that would be a positive start. Just my two cents.

  • tadpoledrain

    January 20, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Sorry, I am about to ramble.
    Laura: I absolutely agree with you that the question of when a fetus becomes a baby is important. However, because there is no agreed upon answer, it seems wrong to me to deny other people the right to come to their own conclusions. I would probably never have an abortion myself, but also I would never want to deny another woman the right to choose to do so. Also, adoption and foster care are absolutely not as simple/good a solution as you want it to be. There are huge issues with the economics/morals of both international and domestic adoption — adoption is not (or should not be considered as) a permanent solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancies. Rather, it should be considered as a temporary solution (a band-aid?) while we work toward having no more unwanted pregnancies (or at least as few as possible — there will probably always be some). I do think that abortion is a good solution (for people who want to use it) when there are unwanted pregnancies, but I also believe that right now there are far too many unwanted pregnancies. And I believe that the way to reduce them is through useful sex education that addresses all aspects of sex, sexuality, and pregnancy prevention, including abstinence and birth control. I do believe that kids are oversexualized from a young age (clothing for young girls in particular, Bratz dolls, etc.), and I do believe that a lot of kids are engaging in sexual behavior that they are not ready for yet. And I think that we need to address these problems in a lot of different ways, mostly be educating children and teaching them how to think and reason for themselves (as much as that is possible for their developing brains). So: No one is asking pro-lifers to fix all the problems of the world any more than we are asking pro-choicers to do so. All that I want from you (unless I can magically switch you over to my viewpoint, which would be nice) is that you consider that your beliefs and your choices are part of a great big complicated web. And you need to realize that when you put certain beliefs into practice, there are going to be consequences that will also need to be dealt with, and you need to be willing to accept those consequences and try to deal with them too. The same goes for both pro-lifers and pro-choicers.

  • Criss

    January 20, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    “should a doctor be forced to learn how to administer an abortion, if ethically he/she is against it?”
    If the potential doctor has a problem with learning about the female body, including her reproductive system, then maybe he should consider a different profession. Or at least a different branch of medicine.
    My co-worker’s married daughter was pregnant with her fourth child when they discovered the embryo/baby was implanted in her fallopian tube, not her uterus. She was an upper-middle-class white woman married to a good husband with a good job. They had three lovely kids and wanted to have at least one more. This was a wanted pregnancy. However, NOT terminating that pregnancy meant not only would the baby die (when it grew big enough to bust the mother’s fallopian tube), but the mother would die as well (it’s kind of hard to make it with a busted fallopian tube), leaving her husband a widowed single father of three. I can guarantee you my co-worker, a conservative Baptist, was very glad her daughter’s doctor had learned what he needed to learn in med school to terminate that pregnancy. I’m pretty sure the daughter and her husband were happy too, as I’d wager their kids were (or would have been, if they even were informed of the whole affair). I’d like to live in a pretty, black-and-white world, but mine has all these murky shades of gray.
    I’m not asking pro-lifers to solve the world’s problems. I’m just asking them to quit getting in the way when others are trying to do something useful.

  • matt

    January 21, 2008 at 11:07 am

    And can you believe those Leftist pigs from the Associated Press had the complete audacity to actually use Data to support their analytical findings? What about their Beliefs? What about Feelings? How could any right-thinking true believer sink to using something so commonplace as actual facts to support a position?

  • Sarcomical

    January 21, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    wow, what a topic for me to be (late) jumping into on a monday. on no sleep, no less.
    first of all, please, please forgive me for such a long comment. i have lots to say about this, and typically stay out of these online conversations elsewhere, but i feel compelled to share. i don’t want to be a jerk and post a personal link so i won’t, but i posted about my own experience with abortion a couple of years ago (the post, that is…the abortion was 11 years ago in college). as someone who was raised VERY strongly to be abstinent and pro-life (and who staunchly argued that with others until the time), i can understand what goes through at least one type of young woman’s mind when that choice is able to be rationalized in some strange way. i know not everyone is sad about having one, but i believe most women are, even in differing situations. it is not an easy decision, and not one i am necessarily saying i am proud or relieved to have made.
    personally, i can say my decision stemmed from a less-than noble place of intense fear and a completely spinning state-of-mind. yet, because of the place i was in at that time, i am glad a safe choice was available. true, one could argue that if it weren’t, then i would have an 11-year old child right now. maybe i would have simply been forced to deal with my poor judgment. (yes, i do also believe i had poor judgment having sex with my boyfriend – who is my husband today, by the way.) but maybe, just maybe, i would have been desperate enough to do whatever else was available if abortion as it exists currently was not. according to history, some women have chosen to do so even when there was no safe alternative. to me, that is VERY SCARY.
    i do find it something to consider, though, that as someone who was completely raised on abstinence (oh, so completely) and who believed it with all her heart, i still ended up being a girl who had an abortion. anyone who knew me would have thought that my convictions could stand up to anything. i didn’t touch alcohol until the day i got married, at age 22. (silly, i rationalized sex but stayed firm about alcohol) i felt i was unshakable in my beliefs up to that time in my life.
    AND YET.
    perhaps (and i’m not claiming any absolute truth here), if i hadn’t been so awkward and embarrassed at the thought of discussing sex or contraception, i would have not merely been safe, but felt empowered by my knowledge and not even done it. maybe…maybe once the veil of mystery had been lifted and the romanticism had been been cleared out of the way for REAL, HONEST, GRITTY INFORMATION, i would have been less eager to be tempted by it.
    who knows? i don’t think anyone really can. that’s why i wish there was a way to mend the two sides. it is an unfortunate situation no matter what. i have sorrow for unborn innocent children, and i also have deep empathy for the women who go through this. i still continue to get private emails from women who find that 2 1/2-year-old post in their quest to deal with their own burdens. it is heartbreaking.
    i know the focus of this post is on what kind of education to arm children with, but i just want to say this: the act of abortion makes me very sad, yet i also can not judge women in that situation. i know some want to fight for their cause in this case, and that is understandable. in my heart, though, i don’t feel in position to validate either stand.
    today when asked i say that i am not pro-life and i am not pro-abortion.
    …i am PRO-BABY and PRO-MOTHER.
    i just want to love each baby and each mother who has been and will be in this situation, because it is here right now, and that is the reality.

  • MommyofOne

    January 21, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    I stand by my comments. Lesbians can have sex without getting pregnant, yet they are still at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Especially if they are not in a lifelong faithful relationship.
    Like Laura, just because I am pro-abstinence education and pro-life does not mean I am able to present a solution to all of life’s problems. Also, you cannot tell me that gay people never abuse their children. It’s ridiculous to connect sexual orientation to child abuse.
    Again, I stand by my comment that no sex equals no babies, and that is a scientific fact.

  • SuburbanCorrespondent

    January 21, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    I respect that people have differing opinions on abortion and on abortion rights; all I am saying is that rationalizing that someone’s life will not be worth living is a poor reason to advocate abortion.
    And, please, those of you who are pro-choice, or pro-abortion on demand, or whatever, keep in mind that the majority of people who are “pro-life” are not prolife because they want to teach those sinful girls who did not keep their legs crossed a lesson! This picture of pro-life people is one that I was brought up with and one that is figuring prominently in the above comments. There are so many pro-life people out there who actively help these poor girls through their pregnancies and through their decisions of whether or not to keep the baby or offer him/her for adoption, and who give these girls their time, their money, and other resources in order to ensure a decent quality of life for the mother and for the infant. Yes, there are the crazies on the right who are out there gunning for abortionists; but please don’t judge the pro-life movement by them. Any more than pro-lifers should judge the pro-choice people by the few crazies who would cheerfully abort a perfectly healthy, third-trimester baby. Most people in this country are somewhere in the middle – we want a decent quality of life for mother and baby, and we want abortions to be rare, legal, and safe. When we advocate for abortion on demand, we need to think not only about the victims of such a procedure, but also about our society as a whole – what does it say about us if we don’t think we can afford babies? Yes, we need better legislation for maternity leave, etc. Yes, we need a more comprehensive social welfare net. I think most of us agree on that. So let us put our energies toward that common goal, rather than sniping at each other over our perceived differences.

  • ozma

    January 22, 2008 at 6:28 am

    What Arwen said. I’m not getting the logic of this last paragraph. You’d have to say to people: I have decided that it is statistically likely your parents were at least ambivalent and at worst unhappy about your birth because you seem to be part of a larger statistical blip of people born rather than aborted than had been previously. Surely THAT many people couldn’t have wanted their babies? Oh, and I am also worried that because your mother might not have planned your conception she was less than thrilled to have you. Oh, and if she was less than thrilled to have you, she must not love you. Ergo, you are better off not existing.
    What am I getting wrong? Is this a total distortion or do we have to reason a bit like this to conclude it might be a bad thing some people ended up born. Isn’t it usually that a (potentially) good thing happens when a baby is born and unfortunately, sometimes (potentially) a bad thing happens too, like it screws up her mother’s life? Then, as time goes on things may or may not play out a certain way (worst case: your mommy hates your guts). Only in fairly extreme cases is someone’s life not worth living. Kind of hard to predict in advance.
    God, I TRIED to stop myself, I really did. This is actually the last topic I like to argue about. It’s just…deciding whether people are better off existing or not on the basis of some kind of estimate one makes about the circumstances surrounding their conception or their parent’s lives? I think that leads to some scary places actually.
    Occasionally, I question whether any of us whatsoever are better off alive but I don’t like to single anyone out in particular especially unless I’m in a really weird mood.
    I wonder if you have in mind the econ. professor who argues that legalized abortion lowered crime. That is interesting, I admit. I don’t think it underwrites any assumptions about who should or should not be alive. Maybe a mass murderer. But what about a car thief? Should we be wishing the car thief had never been born?

  • Ellen

    January 22, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Regarding abstinence only education mandated by law: I would like to see a role-call in the House and Senate to see which of these fine upstanding citizens, and their wives, were virgins when they got married. Then we can talk about abstinence-only.

  • Emily

    January 22, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I agree, the idea of bringing more underprivileged children into a country who cannot properly fund social programs is a scary thought. What with college tuition and the sad states of public schools, the number of people living below the poverty line, a lack of universal health care, and the attitude that we don’t owe it to each other to take care of and look out for one another- that’s a society that is not ready to accept unwanted pregnancies and young and/or single mothers that are most likely to be benefit from the help many aren’t willing to make this government offer in the form of strong social service programs.
    Statistics show that abstinence only programs aren’t as affective in preventing pregnancy as sex ed programs that offer information on contraception. I’m sure every parent would want his or her child to be as safe and informed as possible. Because it’s not as easy to judge when or with whom it’s smart to engage in sex with as it is to be physically safe about it when well-informed.
    Sex should not be a taboo, but a normal part of the human condition, with the increased liberation of women and the discovery of our potential beyond domesticity and reproduction. I think everyone is aware of how important it is to have children that we can take care of and provide for and teach to become responsible, giving, and educated human beings to the best of our ability. Everyone worthy of parenthood wants to be able to ensure their child will be given that advantage. We deserve the right to control when and if we are capable of doing that.

  • Sonja

    January 22, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Hmm, abortion etc. Big topic. I’ll just confine my comment to saying that I have a 2006 baby and had no idea until reading this post that she was part of a “boomlet.” Huh.

  • Frankie

    January 22, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    “It’s ridiculous to connect sexual orientation to child abuse.”
    Yes it is. What is NOT ridiculous is to connect a frustrated, overwhlemed parent who didn’t want the child to begin with, with child abuse.
    There are many reasons a woman may find herself in this position. One of them is because the scared woman who finally mustered up the courage to do this traumatic thing was assaulted outside the doctors office by rabid people attacking her for making what was already a difficult choice.
    And ironically, NO ONE is offering to raise the baby once it’s born. I have a huge issue with this. Put your money where your mouth is. Don’t solve the WORLD’S problems, solve one persons.

  • Emily

    January 22, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Eh, please disregard the typos and run-on sentences in my previous comment. I’m not quite as embarrassing when I proofread.

  • Mauigirl

    January 23, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Is it possible the “boomlet” may be connected to the Baby Boomers’ children now being old enough to have kids of their own? The so-called “echo boom”?
    A woman born in 1964 (last year of the Baby Boom) may have had a child in 1989 at age 25. That child is now 18; Boomers born in the previous several years would definitely be in childbearing years. The math says this could be part of it. Of course, it may be a combination of many of the factors you mention.
    Abortion is a difficult topic but I continue to feel that depriving women and girls of choice – the choice of understanding the options of birth control, the choice of having an abortion (early on) – should continue to be available to all. Teaching “abstinence” does not cause teens to be abstinent. It just means they won’t plan on having sex.

  • Jean

    January 23, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    I read the drop in abortions as a sign of the widespread availability of RU496; a sign that women who need access to this drug are able to find it when they need it.

  • caramama

    January 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    As someone who has struggle with infertility, I look at these statistic with a certain perspective.
    I wonder if the rate of adoption has gone up as the rate of abortion has gone down. Anyone know?
    I also wonder if the boomlet might be related to the advancement in medical technology for people struggling with fertility issues. Maybe a lot of those babies were planned.
    Isn’t the rate of infertility also supposed to be rising?
    I’m just going to leave it at that for now. When I have some time, I’ll look into this. But if anyone has any research or articles that speak to these issues, I’d love to see them.

  • Emily

    January 25, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Just to clarify, RU-486 is not Emergency Contraception, or the morning-after pill. Commonly known as the “abortion pill,” RU-486, or Mifeprex, is administered to the woman who then expels the embryo at home similar to a miscarriage. This is known as a medical abortion. Surgical abortion is the term for the outpatient abortion procedure carried out by a physician.

  • Carol in VT

    January 27, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    The reason that we are trying to get people to NOT HAVE SEX, is that this idea has WORKED SO WELL FOR THE HUMAN RACE IN ALL THE LONG AEONS LEADING UP TO NOW.
    Like, in caves? They totally did not had sex. And those pristine Frenchies – centuries of no sex. Generation upon generation of sex-free living; that’s been the human way!

  • elise

    January 28, 2008 at 11:46 am

    As another one who was raised (totally and completely) on abstinence, I have to say that I DO wish I would have been at least informed of contraceptive options, educated more, etc.
    I totally agree with Sarcomical up there when she says that the “romance and mystery” of sex, when you know NOTHING about it other than to abstain, can get you in situations that are far less responsible than if you were making educated choices.
    I may have had sex if I would have known all about contraception, or I may have not. Who knows? But I most likely would NOT have had completely uneducated sex that could (should!) have easily resulted in an (at that time, in a teenager’s life) unwanted baby.

  • Davin

    January 29, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Abstinence only education confuses me because Safe Sex education is just extra education. I’m willing to bet that there is essentially never a sex ed teacher who says well, now that you know all about sex, go out and have it! They definitely always make a point to explain that abstinence is the best way. It’s like saying kids shouldn’t be educated about drugs, just because we know that heroine exists, doesn’t mean we all go out and do it.