Maybe you have heard this in other election years when someone who is against abortion is considering voting for a candidate who actively supports abortion. “Abortion has decreased more rapidly every time a Democrat is in office, therefore the kinds of social programs pro-choice Democrats advocate are a better strategy for reducing abortion. So, we should vote for Democrats even if they are advocating for abortion.”
How are we supposed to respond to this argument? Let’s break it down…
The overall trend of abortion increasing, or decreasing is really rooted more in state policy than anything else. There are effectively no federal limits on abortion itself outside of banning the late term procedure of partial birth abortion. While there are several states with specific abortion legislation that decrease or increase access in ways that affect the abortion rate for that state.
The trend over the last four decades is a decrease in the nationwide abortion rate. Abortion rates have not risen under Democratic administrations in this time period but they have also not risen under Republican administrations either, again it has been a trending decrease in the abortion rate in the last 40 years. Even Snopes discredits the theory that abortion rates rise or fall based on the party in the Oval Office.
Another issue is with the abortion rate in general, as there is no national abortion reporting law. There are only 46 states that report some kind of abortion data. Without a true big picture view of who is choosing abortion, why are they choosing abortion, and in which trimester of their pregnancy how do we even know which social services from a federal level will drive down the abortion rate?
Is it mostly young teens in school seeking abortions? If this is the case, do we need to provide better pregnancy resources and policies at our schools? Is it working women with kids at home and we need to improve childcare services and paid family leave policies? Is it disproportionately poor or disadvantaged women getting abortions and we need to improve the welfare system? With abortion reporting data we can formulate a research-based strategy for creating life affirming or abortion deterring policies.
The first step in getting there is having accurate data. Without this data we have only anecdotal evidence on the Federal level to connect policies to abortion rates. In other words, correlation is not always causation. The reason the abortion rate is falling can in large part be attributed to the pro-life movement and things outside the Presidency.
The abortion rate is trending down (based on what does get reported) during both Democrat and Republican administrations. But do you know what always goes up during a Democrat administration? SPENDING on abortion!
No administration advanced abortion and supported Planned Parenthood (the nation’s largest abortion provider) as much as the Obama Administration:
- Overturned the Mexico City Policy, allowing taxpayer dollars to fund foreign abortions with many of these monies going to Planned Parenthood.
- Pushed ObamaCare through Congress, which contained abortion funding and is arguably the largest expansion of abortion since Roe. ObamaCare imposed the abortion-pill mandate forcing employers to cover abortion pills in health plans and imposed a monthly abortion surcharge into insurance plans.
- When Planned Parenthood was caught doing sex selective abortions Obama blocked a bill, PRENDA, that would have made sex-selection abortion illegal.
- Obama vetoed measures to defund Planned Parenthood of half a billion dollars.
The Democratic platform is one of advancing and advocating for abortion and the abortion industry and a Democrat administration is always going to do just that. Abortion rates are not the only litmus for how a Presidency affects abortion and Trump’s Presidency is proof of that.