Dear Doug Kmiec at al, Abortion is Not a Poverty Issue
You might recall Catholic law professor Doug Kmiec's political conversion in which he surprised many by going from Mitt Romney's presidential campaign to supporting Barack Obama. He later went on to be Obama's ambassador to Malta and later ran for Congress, saying he wanted to be Hillary Clinton's vice presidential pick.
When asked about his political turnaround considering the issue of abortion, Kmiec essentially argued that Obama was actually more pro-life than many Republicans because he supported poverty programs. Specifically, he said:
The Democrats had a brilliant strategy on abortion this year: Don't play the futile court speculation game. Instead, Obama's team promoted life in ways that don't depend upon a Supreme Court vacancy and cooperating nominee. Specifically, Obama had the Dems commit to promote life with enhanced social and economic assistance.
Obviously, many Catholics saw this argument as convincing in that Catholics overwhelmingly supported Obama. One little problem. It turns out that abortion is not a poverty problem. We're always told that abortion is a difficult decision made by women who are being forced to choose between starvation, homelessness, and squalor or an abortion that makes all problems go away. And any time you argue for the pro-life cause you're attacked as attacking not only women but poor women. But a recent study shows that wealthier women are far more likely to have abortions.
A recent study released by the Brookings Institution in Washington finds that single women whose income is 400 percent of the federal poverty line or higher are nearly four times as likely to opt for an abortion when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The findings contradict earlier statements by the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, saying that women with family incomes at or above 200 percent of the poverty line "have a rate of nine abortions per 1,000, which is about half the national rate." In 2015, the federal poverty rate ranges from $11,770 for a single individual to $24,250 for a family of four. The Brookings paper, released in February, indicates that while there is no difference in rates of sexual activity across different income groups, single women who make four times the federal poverty level have an abortion rate of 31.9 percent while those at or below the line have a rate of only 8.6 percent.
So, as we all knew, abortion is not a poverty problem. And no matter how many times we are told that if we vote for the party of even bigger government abortion rates would necessarily decline, it is simply not true.
I'll agree with Kmiec that chasing a judiciary solution to abortion is not the complete answer. But currently, there's only one party that's even open to the idea of restricting abortion even in small ways. And there's only one party even open to the idea of protecting women by regulating abortion clinics. One party is absolutely antithetical to life in the womb, the other party is often just too worried about politics to stand up for the unborn. And ignoring that because of government handouts is not a logically reasonable response.
The only real long term solution to abortion is conversion. Unless people accept life as a gift from God, it becomes a commodity and therefore subject to a cost/benefit analysis. The abortion epidemic is a symptom of a culture wide lack of love. Abortion is a love problem, not a monetary one.