I have been reading a lot of Heather Mac Donald lately. She is the mind of George Will and the elegance and grace that Ann Coulter portrays only on the outside. Actually, I like coulter, but verbally, she is more of a UFC fighter where Mac Donald is more of linguistic ballerina.
Alright, enough crushing on the ladies. Back to work.
I had been reading Heather's articles when a facebook thread about abortion rates came up. The battle began over how many abortions. It was asserted that 43% of all pregnancies ended in abortion. Others corrected this to the 20% range and admitted it was still too many abortions. They then offered solutions that felt similar to how I would feel if Hollywood announced yet another film adaptation of the Three Musketeers, just more of the same warmed up, dressed up, substance free leftovers. They suggested more education, free birth control, WIC, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc.
Being influenced by Heather's great work, I jumped in and noted that the 43% was accurate when looking at inner cities or NYC and Philly. I noted the 50% abortion ratio among pregnant black teens. I then challenged the notion that these social programs could solve the problem by looking at abortion ratios in poverty stricken inner cities.
I thought it was worth noting that the places with the highest abortion ratios are also the places with the most taxpayer funded care suggested. If prevalent access to these programs prevented unwanted pregnancies and thus abortions, you have to wonder why there isn't an inverse relationship between these programs and abortion ratios.
In fact, if abortion did reduce poverty as has been offered as a reason since it's proliferation, you have to wonder why poverty is not improving or at least leveling off in the inner cities, where abortion does reach this 43% mark.
The fact is, abortion is an decision based on cultural norms and not on economic considerations.
The numbers show that most abortions occur with women who have no children (PA numbers show 41%). The having of children reduces the motivation for abortion. This contrdicts the supply/demand economics that the taxpayer funded solutions assume. If you have three children, having a fourth is going to be much more burdensome economically than if you have zero. It should follow that they would have more of the abortions. Yet, the numbers show the exact opposite behavior. The answer seems less about supply and demand economics.
It becomes more clear that cultural elements prevail. Abortion occurs most in areas where we people are the most publicly dependent. The same area where drugs, crime, and violence are also the most. It belies the argument that providing more without cost to the recipient is the answer now or ever was in the past.
In fact, it is becoming easier to make the case that social programs are a major part of the problem. If the father feels no responsibility for the life created, then why hang around? If we take the burden from the father and give it to the state, we start creating the culture of the missing parent and this continues until we are here, feeling helpless to solve the problem.
If you try to manage unwanted pregnancies and educate teenagers solely from this economic perspective, you've lost. These will-be moms already know where the money is coming from as do the would-be father. They have seen it in their mothers and grandmother's lives.
You need to teach them the value of parenting and hold them accountable, not by fines and imprisonment, but by putting the mantle of fatherhood back on the father and not the state. You need to help men understand the value of providing instead of enabling their ability to abandon it. Fatherless children with uninvolved mothers is the most common thread in all of these issues.
I don't wish to fully discard the options given by others. Some programs may be needed, particularly in education. But the gov't institutions cannot fix what they helped break by doing the same things now that has been done now for three generations. The base social institution, the family, needs to be restored. Any solution that does not include this in its objective is unstainable.
Ironic that in light of what is now becoming overwhelming evidence that the family is key to our social stability, the family unit is more mocked and dismissed than ever. There is a value in parenting that transcends what the government can teach. It is rooted in a spiritual value that results in social strength. Lose one and you will lose the other.