01.22.13 4:30 PM ET
Recognize Reality on Abortion
With public opinion trending in a pro-choice direction, these two columns I wrote late in 2012 acquire new relevance.
In the early 1980s, there were some 29 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age. Today that rate has declined to about 19 abortions per 1,000 women. The rate will never reach zero, but we may expect that it will continue to decline as contraceptives improve and attitudes to out-of-wedlock birth become more accepting, and as younger generations increasingly reject abortion as an acceptable resolution of a pregnancy.
Maybe at the next candidates' debate, a journalist will deflect the discussion away from "what if" and instead ask this:
"Rather than tell us what you'd like to ban, tell us please what you think government should do to support more happy and healthy childbearing, to reduce unwanted pregnancies and to alleviate the economic anxieties of mothers-to-be?"
Those are the questions that make the difference. It's amazing how little we talk about them.