In a speech delivered in Atlanta over the weekend, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg declared that banning abortion “would have a devastating impact on poor women.” Bader’s suggestion, that abortion is a solution to the problems of poor women, is on a par with Jonathan Swift’s long-ago solution to the Irish poverty problem in his essay, A Modest Proposal. But at least Swift was writing satire.
“Facts,” as John Adams stated so clearly, “are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” Yet, conservative critiques of leftist policy proposals, no matter how carefully buttressed by facts, are swept aside lightly and dismissed as irrelevant by media, historians and biographers. Many distorted views go unchallenged in the public arena simply because so few have looked (or are willing to look) at the facts.
Worse still, when the actual facts don’t agree with the left’s latest political nostrum, they are drowned out by the claim that those “old” facts have been superseded by the results of some new study that purports to show that “up” is now “down.” Nowhere is this encountered more frequently than in the left’s assaults on any and all boundaries relating to sex, marriage, family and child rearing.
For example, the left is furious with George Bush for (among other things) reinstating the “Mexico City Policy,” first instituted by Ronald Reagan, that makes the receipt of federal funds by non-governmental organizations conditional upon their agreeing that they will “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.” It is bizarre how the left can howl about how inhumane it is to use the interrogation technique of “waterboarding” (which does no lasting physical harm) to extract information from terrorists, but they are just fine and dandy with death by dismemberment of unborn babies in the womb.
To read their pious-sounding rhetoric about how essential the barbaric practice of abortion is to the health and well-being of women, one would be forgiven for thinking that abortion was the cornerstone of progress, that civilization only began to make headway when abortion became legal in this country. And naturally, feminists just want to share this priceless, newly-minted benefit with all the oppressed women of the world, who presumably have no other means of avoiding the Malthusian spectre: unending pregnancies and starving mouths to feed.
But what are the actual facts of the matter?