We Can Predict The Outcome Of Making Abortions Not Legal

There have been, maybe always will be, misguided efforts to use government to shape morality. From 1920 to 1933 was the alcohol prohibition. Since then we have had an enthusiastic “War on Drugs”. Both of those moral crusades were failures. They were not enforceable.

During Prohibition, in New York there were 7,000 arrests and only 17 convictions. Across the country by 1927 there were thought to be 30,000 illegal “speakeasies”, twice as many as licensed bars before prohibition. The cost of enforcement was first budgeted at five million dollars but became 500 million. Alcohol consumption did not fall.

The War on Drugs has not decreased drug use. I read recently a most beautiful expression about efforts to use government to shape morality:

A law cannot be justified merely because we like its message. It can only be justified if it produces a result consistent with its message. 

The prohibitions of alcohol and drugs did not deliver less of either. They were passed because people liked their moral messages.

The number of illegal abortions in countries where they are not legal is estimated by 1.) comparing birth rates before and after abortion prohibitions and 2.) comparing birth rates in similar countries which allow legal abortions with those which do not. The number of women in hospitals with complications is plotted and doctors interviewed.

There are three Latin American countries and Ireland where abortions are illegal. When abortions were made illegal the births per 1000 women should have risen. They did not.

The number of abortions do not fall when abortion is made illegal. Experience has show that, like drugs and alcohol, laws against abortions are not enforceable and do not deliver what religious people claim they will deliver.

F Her Body Our Laws; On the Fronts Line of the Abortion Was, From El Salvador to Oklahoma by Michelle Oberman, 2018, Beacon Press, Boston.


16 Responses

  1. Juan Ruiz

    Government ceased being the servant and became the masters long ago. Property taxes mean you don’t own your house, you pay rent on it. Income taxes mean you don’t own what you make, government decides what you get to keep. In North Dakota, protectionism means you pay more for prescriptions and milk, while corporate farming is prohibited except for people like Dalrymple. Hell, they even outlaw adults to shoot off bottle rockets.

    1. Juan Ruiz

      I did. Corruption in North dakota has been rampant for decades. I’m surprised his letter was printed. The media generally is a co-conspirator in it all.

    2. Henry

      Catcher, not surprising. I suspected all along the city was taking a cut from the development to fund their spending binges. This is why they fought so vociferously over the extra-territorial land rights over a decade ago. They wanted to protect and continue their cash cow. This whole mentality sets up a lot of other bad behaviors. I really appreciated Jon Lindgren’s handling of these issues even those his social issues were completely derailed. Kudos to Tony Gehrig.

      1. I think Aaland’s letter is a wonderful political letter. I don’t think, however, it is accurate to say Fargo’s City Government is dependent on the land development or the security fee added to bonds. Fargo’s City Government would do just fine w/o those fees and that development protected by the flood project is small peanuts to Fargo’s budget. More accurate are those who pointed out early that private developers and engineering firms were putting on the heat from day one. The Cass County Commission was on board much earlier than was the City of Fargo.

  2. Henry

    Jon–Indeed, there are some who are aces at obtaining a special improvement district at the going rate in some cities of 13% of the total project cost for larger projects. The citizen cannot stop this with a protest mechanism. And woe to the person that may personally know these aces and goes to a public meeting asking questions or even merely listening to the dialogue. Shunning doesn’t only happen with the Amish.

    1. Henry 10:58 I agree with all of that. The worst place in city governments in the Midwest, (other problems in other parts of the country) is in public works. Engineering departments can claim big public works are needed for safety and convenience and have lots of authority to push them forward. As you say, citizens are not in a position where they can protest them out.

        1. Henry

          I have always wondered why they name their little parade “pride” where they take to the streets and surround the place? Is it the dog collars and leash? I can see why atheists would be all over that. It just makes good logic and reason.

          1. Henry 2:21 where they take to the streets and surround the place

            In your case, I suggest you do not attend. 🙂 It is a curiosity why Pride days and parades have become so popular with the general public. Thunderstorms cancelled our parade (so I had to disassemble the who project.) Our son, who was a teenager and took plenty of taunts growing up during my Mayor days, moved to Providence RI with his wife and began to volunteer with their Pride day. The daughter in law is a genius at fund raising and the budget for Pride Providence is now $50,000, one of the biggest Pride events in the world.

          2. mark anthony

            hank, maybe it’s the nudity and the gross displays of sexuality. and the general vulgarity on display.

          3. mark 4:35 Hank, maybe it’s the nudity and the gross displays of sexuality and the general vulgarity on display.

            Yes, it’s all of that wonderful sin people enjoy. And it’s making fun of those who believe it is sin.

          4. Henry

            MA 435, they bill the “pride” as a family event. Do you mean that the behavior you describe is a family behavior for them? Call me uptight, but I do not think that is healthy family behavior. That is before any sin element is considered.

  3. mark anthony

    Jon427: it a’int exactly a display of virtue and it a’int pretty.
    and it isn’t good manners. yet, some folks love it, just because it is so gross and ugly. I will give you that much.

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