Do Democratic Presidents Cause Fewer Abortions to Occur?
A closer look at the numbers behind the claim
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been monitoring the number of legal abortions since 1969. Anyone can consult their figures for these numbers back to that time, through to 2014.
The general trend was upward until 1990, with a peak of 1,429,247 abortions, and downward after that year.
Now, why was 1990 the peak? I submit (and strongly believe) that it was because the Supreme Court, in 1989 (Webster v. Reproductive Health Services) allowed significant abortion restrictions for the first time since Roe v. Wade in 1973.
It was basically a 5-4 decision: the majority being all Republican appointees (Scalia, O'Connor, Kennedy and Rehnquist), except for Byron White, who was appointed by JFK in 1962, and is the last Democrat-appointed Justice to ever vote pro-life in Supreme Court decisions in any respect whatsoever.
The more complex Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision (1992), continued this trend (at least in some respects), and so since that time, massive (now legally permissible) restrictions on the state level (overwhelmingly voted for by Republicans) have caused the numbers of abortions to significantly lower, so that in 2014 they were 46 percent of what they were in 1990 (652,639). If anyone has a better explanation, I’m all ears.
These GOP-caused reductions are occurring regardless of what party holds the presidency: especially since the Republicans have made massive gains in governorships and control of state legislatures. There are now 33 Republican governors to 16 Democrats.
Republicans control both legislative chambers in 32 states. In 2010, that number was only 14. By January 2015, Democrats had lost 910 state legislative seats since President Obama took office. Republicans controlled 56 percent of them at that time, which is 12 percentage points higher than their numbers in 2009.
And now Republicans control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency. Hence, Congress put up a bill to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks. The Democrats killed it by filibuster.
In April 2017, President trump signed into law a bill allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood. I looked up the votes. The bill passed without a single Democrat Senator voting in favor of it. In the House, of Democrats who voted (12 didn't), two voted for it, 186 against it (99 percent to 1 percent against). For Republicans, two voted against, 228 in favor (99.1 percent to 0.9 percent in favor).
This means that there were two Democrat members of the U.S. Congress, including both houses, who voted to allow states to defund Planned Parenthood.
But let’s get back to the rather remarkably downward trend in abortions. There are always particular anomalies in data, but the ones involved in this instance do not implicate Republicans more than Democrats. Here are the anomalies, from the data linked to at the top:
1. The number of abortions went up three straight years under President Jimmy Carter (1978-1980).
2. It went up one year during President Bill Clinton (1996).
3. The Wikipedia article cited notes concerning one big drop during the Clinton years: “there is a large decrease in reported abortions between 1997 and 1998. This is because CDC's reporting areas were reduced from 52 in 1997 to 47 in 1998. The actual decline from 1997 to 1998 in those 47 reporting areas was only 2 percent.”
4. The rate went down in three different years during President Reagan (1983, 1985, 1986). And that was during the overall upward trend.
5. It went down twice during the President Bush I years (1991-1992).
6. It only went up (bucking the trend) twice during the President Bush II years (2002, 2006); the other six years it went down. In eight out of the last 10 Republican administration years (not counting President Trump now, because we have no data on that yet), abortions went down, not up.
7. The downward trend and rate indeed increased during President Obama, but we would expect that of a strong trend that is “gaining steam” as time goes by.
Besides these anomalies, it had always gone up, from 1973 till 1990, and down since then. But it is clearly not the case that “it goes down during Democrats and up during Republicans.” It will continue to drop, just as it did under Obama because that is the trend, regardless of party in power. And it's a trend (my theory, but I think, a strong and plausible one) because of GOP-passed restrictions.
Even the left-leaning Snopes site (on 11-11-16) confirmed that the “decrease of abortions under Democrats” is a myth, and stated:
It is plain to see that abortion rates have risen (prior to their peaking in the mid-1980s) and fallen under both Democratic and Republican administration, suggesting little to no correlation with whichever political party controls the White House. The overall trend since the 1980s has been a fairly consistent decline across through administrations of both parties.
The article doesn’t subscribe to my theory of primary causation of the drop, but it does give statistics on the massive number of state restrictions on abortion, citing the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute from a 2013 report:
Twenty-two states enacted 70 abortion restrictions during 2013. . . . To put recent trends in even sharper relief, 205 abortion restrictions were enacted over the past three years (2011–2013), but just 189 were enacted during the entire previous decade (2001–2010).
Now is not the time to vote for pro-abortion Democrats (which the overwhelming majority of them are). It's not rocket science. Whoever likes the trend of abortions going down every year needs to vote Republican and allow it to stay that way. We mustn’t be “useful idiots” for the pro-abortion cause and Planned Parenthood!
If Hillary Clinton had won the election (the one whom Planned Parenthood voted as its “Champion of the Century”), the Supreme Court would have had (right now) a radical pro-abortion majority for probably at least a generation, and may very well have started to strike down the legal restrictions that have (thank God!) caused the striking decrease in legal child-killing.