Access to Abortion Creates Stable Two-Parent Families


I have no problem with the argument that access to safe, legal abortions leads to more stable families. But, I would add that access to birth control is an even better way to create stable families.

Funny that Rightwingers are opposed to both.
@1 And when women have children they can't afford, the state must pick up the tab. So the right wing that finds any excuse to attack "welfare moms" is actually creating them.
None of this is news really. The more conservitive areas have higher divorce rates, and higher out of wed lock children because people there are more likely to marry for the wrong reasons (she got knocked up), don't have easy access to abortion and have abstinance only education. And nothing promotes premarital sex and unwed, teenaged mothers than abstinance only education.
The best predictor of a marital birth and that the parents will remain married after the child is born is a college degree. Yet, so many right-wingers are actually opposed to education and funding it.

Right-wingers bitch incessantly about college educated people being left-leaning. However, it's college educated people who are living the lives that right-wingers so strongly advocate: childbearing after marriage and staying married. Idiots.
@1 The pill first went on the market in 1960. Between 1960 and 1970 the rate of out of wedlock births doubled from about 5% of all births to about 10% of all births. If access to birth control creates stable families shouldn't that number have gone down?

BTW if you don't believe me about the rate of out of wedlock births going up a lot in the '60s and are to lazy to do your own googling click the link below:…
Any ecologist will tell you that the difference between decline and thriving is habitat. Provide a rich habitat and a species will do very well.

Well, the human "habitat" for raising young in our society is very much dependent on the health, wealth and stability of parents. In other societies, especially those seeking population growth, as in some Scandinavian nations, generous government benefits for supporting families and raising new children help cement that habitat.

In our fend-for-yourself society, with lowering wages, diminishing ability to afford higher education, and shrinking social services, that habitat is shrinking, too.

What the right-wing anti-sex ideologues always forget is that birth control and abortion are not just for single women. Family planning enables an existing family with existing children to avoid poverty, to achieve stability, and to afford their existing children a better education, all things that can disappear in a hurry with extra mouths to feed. Take away the right to abortion, or the ability to get one, and you don't just "punish" single women, but you can stress some families already on the edge to the point where they fall apart.

Seriously, the only humane way to implement a philosophy of "right to life" would involve an all-encompassing welfare state, with food, housing, healthcare and higher education funding for all. Of course, paying for this would be... interesting, and with unlimited population growth, we'd outstrip our larger habitat and ability to feed ourselves in a couple of generations.
I always find it odd that my most conservative acquaintances lead lives that appear far less conservative than mine.
@4 The proportion of the US population 25 and over who have at least a bachelor's degree went from 10% in 1960 to 25% in 2000. During that time the rate of out of wedlock births rose from 5% in 1960 to over 30% in 2000. If sending more people to college creates stable families shouldn't that number have gone down?
@4 Assuming your figures are correct, you still haven't established any correlation. For starters, the educational achievement age of 25 is at least 10 years later than that of the youngest parents.

1) Did the births occur before or after achieving a degree?
2) Did the births occur in the population that never achieved a degree?
3) Are there more, stable, two-natural-parent families who simply decided they didn't need no stinking certificate to raise a family?

Your list of statistics doesn't demonstrate cause and effect.
@6 In the 1960s the US had economic prosperity and LBJ'S war on poverty. During that time the rate of out of wedlock births doubled. If lots of jobs and lots of welfare creates stable families shouldn't that number have gone down?
They have yet to do it, But I have urged the CAP Book (Children Awaiting Parents) people to demonstrate in front of our abortion clinic here in Rochester. The foetuses are people until they are born demonstrators here are almost all over middle aged and disproportionately white and male. They operate out of the local catholic high school just down the road. Until the proponents of reason can get their message across that supporting young women and encouraging them to act in their own self-interest will reduce abortions better than enacting ass-hat laws, this discussion will get more and more polarized.
@9 Ooops!

That message was directed at @8, not @4. Sorry.

Though how much of the increase in the 60s had to do with baby boomers becoming fertile - you just had a lot more young adults around that could get pregnant.
@9 I'm not proposing any theory at this point. You liberals are theorizing willy nilly and I'm quoting statistics that don't seem to fit with your theories.
None of this surprises me. It all comes from the same thing: "Women aren't property anymore, and thus, must be punished."
@10 I love the way you cobble together statistics and unrelated facts and elide over any sociological trends to reach your conclusions.

There was a bunch of stuff going on in the '60s, a war, the draft, a migration out of the South, social unrest, drugs. The War on Poverty was because poverty was becoming unignorable. Not everyone shared in the prosperity. Also, 1969 was a world away from 1960, in many, many ways. You can't treat the whole decade like it was one thing uniformly.

Cause. Effect. You haven't defined either.
@5: That actually doesn't surprise me. After millennia of "sex = babies" we were suddenly free to have sex with no babies. And those first pills were HORRID. So there was more sex, with a not-so good pill.
Ken Mehlman is the best case for abortion.
@13 Actually, you're on to an interesting point. The American diet got more calories and protein, as well as a shift in fatty acid balance, accelerating in the late '50s, which may have had the effect of bringing on earlier menarche. If this is what happened, then even if the number of young teens experimenting sexually remained the same, more of them would have been fertile than a decade before.
Conservatives demonize both abortion and unmarried single mothers because that's simply what they do.

There's no logic to it, but it doesn't matter. They tell their followers what their followers want to hear: "Your problems and suffering aren't your fault, it's someone else's fault, and the liberals are giving those other people money and free things."

They want to create fear and hatred and ignorance. That's how they get elected. It's the only way they CAN get elected.
Conservatism is based on intellectual dishonesty, Dan! It's the bedrock principle! Why do you hate the principles of 'Murica?!
the anit-abortionists "grappled" with the issue, they just came down on the side of "you made your bed, you lie in it, you whore".

which is what the bible tells us.
Is it possible that the rise in the rate of out of wedlock births is, in part, the result of changing social norms w/ respect to sex, marriage, and family?
Look at the research & CDC statistics.

"Among women with at least a college degree, only 8 percent of births were out of wedlock, and 92 percent of births occurred to married couples.

"The U.S. is steadily separating into a two-caste system with marriage and education as the dividing line. In the high-income third of the population, children are raised by married parents with a college education; in the bottom-income third, children are raised by single parents with a high school degree or less."

Yet, right-wingers continue to bitch about the college educated being left leaning and elitist. Well, if the rate of out of wedlock births (which don't by the way mean an absent father - it simply means the parents aren't married) is your measuring stick and your gold standard is married parents then right-wingers ought to love college graduates.
@24 Oh, they LOVE college graduates, as long as they're graduates of their own private Christian madrassas, er... colleges.

Yep. Even people who don't like abortion (which is almost everyone, including pro-choice individuals and organizations) should be able to acknowledge, "But at least it gives us this good side effect."

As for this article, though... There's something missing. The solutions aren't for a woman to 1. delay children or 2. be a single mother. They're 1. delay children 2. be a single mother or 3. marry a man several years older than herself.

Our society is a lot more critical of relationships between men much older than women than it used to be, and that's not necessarily bad. It's based on the idea that sexual partners should have equal amounts of power in the relationship. (Frankly, I think one of the reasons why men thought they were smarter than women was because so many of them tended to marry much younger women.) However, that really merits a mention in articles about this scenario. Why are these young women who want kids not marrying older, established men? There are probably lots of reasons, which might highlight other problems. Maybe it's hard for older men to establish themselves as it is for younger men. Maybe these young women don't want kids so much as they don't want abortions and are getting pregnant with men their own age.

I do not believe that continuing to condemn both abortion and out-of-wedlock birth is necessarily intellectually dishonest. By doing so, the condemner is condemning pre- and extra-marital sex. That's not necessarily good or realistic, but it's not inconsistent. If a person believes "sex is bad!" then neither "abortion is bad!" and "extra-marital births are bad!" is hypocritical.
Either way we cut the numbers, China has been engaged in an active program to improve their population. Read the first short essay on what they are doing in this: What We Should Be Worried About, and report back on how that plays into any of *our* concepts about birth-control, abortion, single-motherhood, two-family parents and Conservative 'social engineering' (ie. limiting birth-control/abortion, no family support care, etc.)

Are we floundering around with our population genetics?
And are we gonna be knocked down several pegs by the Chinese here in about 50-75 years?
Do Conservatives really want to keep creating a population of ill-education, poorly-raised malcontents? To 'compete' against the Chinese? Ye gods.
@27 Whoa... People in the 1920s thought they knew enough about 1. the causes of intelligence 2. heredity and 3. what really makes a formidable human being to run eugenics programs too. That did not turn out so well.

Today, we know a lot more about genetics, a bit more about what makes people intelligent (which is only about half genetics, generously), and very little more about what truly makes one person or population win against another but in my opinion not nearly enough to presume to improve the human gene pool.

Ever since the invention of civilization, the most common causes of death haven't been attributable to stupidity; they've been disease-related. We've been selected for specific blood chemistries and not for smarts for thousands of years, and not only are we still here but that Flynn effect is going strong. Until we can conclusively explain that, best to leave it alone pending further study.
@27 Well, we might have the Law of Unintended Consequences on our side. The Chinese eugenics policy might well develop a superior population, who then turn around and depose the authoritarian state and its rigid ideals. And then they all go to pot like us.

But, you're correct. The contrast with what is happening to our nation is striking. Pandering to the least intellectual elements of the electorate results in such travesties of civilization as Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex).

Outstanding article, btw. Thanks for the link.
As a society we have an interest in lowering the number of unwanted pregnancies. I think that is not a contentious statement.

Abortion, comprehensive sex-ed, access to contraception and reproductive healthcare all address the issue, and they are all opposed by the Right.

So, the Right obviously doesn't actually want to decrease unwanted pregnancies [which would decrease the need for abortion]. They may think they do, but they put their imaginary-world ideology before any actually achievable goal.
14: You (unsurprisingly) missed #9's point.

The statistics absolutely do NOT contradict our theories. In order to contradict these theories, those increasing out-of-wedlock births would have to be occurring within the increasing college-educated community. So far though, it looks like that's not the case. There might be a simultaneous increase in college attendance, but those who are going to college are not the ones experiencing increased out-of-wedlock childbirth.

That's what is shown when people actually look at which groups are undergoing increases in out-of-wedlock childbirth (which is necessary if you want to investigate causation). Unless you want to claim that impoverished and undereducated Americans are having kids out-of-wedlock as a result of complete strangers going to college, your little correlation doesn't mean anything.
Speaking as a flaming liberal, a member of the college-educated elite, and as a married gay man, I find myself continually baffled by straight people who are committed enough to live together and make a baby together, but who aren't committed enough to get married. The social/material/societal advantages are so clear, so immediate and so obvious that I don't understand why two parents wouldn't want it.

Mind you--I support their decison to have children out of wedlock of they so choose. I just don't understand why anyone would want to.

There's no one factor to blame.…
good one, Danny....

The number of same sex couples raising kids is less than a rounding error in the total number of child rearing households.

Cutting the teen birthrate by 10% would affect way more kids.

If we are willing to slaughter those whose existence is inconvenient (and we are....) a lot of social problems;
prison overcrowding,
expensive terminal diseases,
poor pathetic slobs who can't seem to have sex without spreading AIDS;
a lot of social problems could be deposited in the dumpster....

you're talking about Negroes, aren't you.

go ahead, say it.....N e g r o e.

Now, that wasn't so hard, was it?
Who wants to take bets on whether Anonymous Troll is one of NOM's or Focus on the Family's head honchos? Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins, Brian Brown, or some other high profile sociopath?
@37 Brian Brownshirt. Good call.
38: I've always gotten the feeling that one of those people (especially Perkins or Brownshirt) secretly has a skin-suit made out of dead gay prostitutes. I get the same feeling from Anonymous Troll with his creepy pseudo-haiku writing style. So, naturally, I put two and two together...
the right's response to all this is simply that people shouldn't have sex before they get (hetero) married. see how neat and tidy that is?
@23....this may be the case of a blind squirrel and a nut, but Ken is right to pose this question:
Is it possible that the rise in the rate of out of wedlock births is, in part, the result of changing social norms w/ respect to sex, marriage, and family?

As Stephanie Coontz pointed out in The Way We Never Were, the period between the end of WW II and 1960 was an outlier. For a century in the US (and mush of Europe) the average age of marriage had been going up, the average age of first birth had been going up, the percentage of folks marrying had been declining, and the percent of out of wedlock births had been increasing.

In the early 60s we snapped out of the anomaly and returned to the previous trajectory.
Having lived during that time period, my theory is that there was a LOT of pre-marital sex in the 60's, but the girls that got pregnant dropped out of school or finished up early and got married. Then the date was fudged on the marriage certificate to make it look like the marriage took place before conception.
Why do I think this? Because that's exactly what happened for all 8 of the teenaged girls on my block back in the early 1960's. It was so common that my grandmother in law had a saying," The first baby can come anytime, all the rest take 9 months."
Maggie is a walking, talking pig vagina. Things do come out of it but very few things go into it, therefore she cannot understand logic and reason.
@5, You are relying on statistics at the ecological level rather than from studies that look at associations at the individual level, where it is possible to ascertain cause-effect relationships instead of just waving your hands and saying "Hey, look! This thing is happening and so is this other thing, at the same time! How do you liberals explain that?" (You did the same thing a few weeks ago regarding race and crime BTW. You do this a lot).

The thing is, there are knowable facts surrounding these issues that some people dedicate their lives to studying because these issues are important. Below are some links to abstracts from the NIH database for scientific studies, where people explain the findings of their research on access to birth control and abortion, and how such things interact with things like education, poverty, and age (There are many, many more where this came from if you are actually interested in understanding this topic). Please look at them.

The Power of the Pill for the Next Generation: Oral Contraception's Effects on Fertility, Abortion, and Maternal & Child Characteristics…

Unintended pregnancy in the United States: incidence and disparities, 2006.…

Access to abortion services: a neglected health disparity.…

How are restrictive abortion statutes associated with unintended teen birth?…

Disparities in family planning…
@5, While you're at it, read this:…

And then let's have a conversation about who is theorizing willy nilly.

Hey blip, thanks for the links. Some incredible, and alarming stats therein from National Institutes of Health such as:

"Nearly half (49%) of pregnancies {in the U.S.] were unintended in 2006, up slightly from 2001 (48%). Disparities in unintended pregnancy rates among subgroups persisted and in some cases increased, and women who were 18-24 years old, poor or cohabiting, had rates TWO TO THREE TIMES THE NATIONAL RATE."

The obvious, humane answer is comprehensive sex ed/pregnancy prevention ed from an early (enough) age - it needs to be part of the curriculum like math and reading, and mandatory. As well as easy and cheap access to contraception and abortion. The costs are far too high, otherwise - the impact on women's lives individually, the resulting increase in Medicaid rolls, the cost to the country in productivity, the cost these kids pay just because they were brought into the world unintended - it's not fair to them to be raised in poverty by people that weren't ready for them. It's obvious, therefore, that the right is to blame here, for it's backwards, abstinence only, anti-abortion mindset. Truly, they have SO MUCH to answer for.

@42 Your grandmother was a wise woman. I am 55 and among people in my generation (boomers) it was quite common for the oldest child in a family to discover he or she was born less than nine months after the wedding. When I was in college in the mid seventies I knew a woman who was pregnant when she married and who was planning to fudge the dates on the certificate to hide this fact from her child.
@5: Don't confuse "out of wedlock birth" and "unwanted pregnancy." The rate of teenage pregnancy was actually much higher in the 50s than today. Yes, it was more common for the girl to be married, but that's because the pressure to marry after becoming pregnant was higher than the present (for a variety of reasons).

Teen pregnancy and unwed births in the US since 1950:…

I want to see billboards with a picture of a young/old woman, with the text:

Raped At 15
Dropped Out of High School
On Welfare
Her Son Shanked His Father In Prison
Thank God Abortion Wasn't An Option
@48 Is it possible that all those shotgun marriages reduced the number of children living in poverty?
Why rejoice in same-sex couples being pressured into parenting?

And there is a third option that makes shaming both those who abort and those who don't abort out-of-wedlock more consistent. Recall Miss Emily Brent in Ten Little Indians.
LINK to Catholic Hopsital Chain Beats Malpractice Suit by Saying Fetuses aren't People