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The Questionable Origins of Global Abortion Statistics

May 22, 2017 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Abortion News

Over the course of the last month, I've spent significant time updating Abort73's international abortion statistics. In addition to maintaining pages for all of the major English-speaking countries, Abort73 also has a page dedicated to worldwide abortion statistics. Unfortunately, worldwide abortion statistics don't actually exist, forcing us to rely upon estimates instead.

Though a few different organizations report on the incidence of abortion worldwide, there is only one source for global abortion totals—the Guttmacher Institute. Both the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) republish Guttmacher's estimates as reliable and authoritative. But are they? That's the question I recently set out to answer. 

The Guttmacher Institute, it's fair to say, has a conflict of interests. By their own admission, Guttmacher is a "research and policy organization committed to advancing [abortion] rights in the United States and globally." In other words, the Guttmacher Institute…

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What Birth Control Can & Cannot Do

Apr 28, 2017 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Miscellaneous

A few months back, while updating Abort73's state abortion statistics, I came across a surprising news release on the Guttmacher website. I say surprising because the Guttmacher Institute is unequivocally committed to abortion rights, and the referenced study turns a long-held pro-choice mantra on its head. The mantra goes like this: The best way to eliminate abortion is to increase the use of birth control. Turns out, such thinking is backwards—as evidenced by the title of the news release: "Women in States With Restrictive Abortion Policies More Likely Than Others to Use Highly Effective Contraceptive Methods."

Said differently, the best way to increase vigilant contraceptive use is to eliminate abortion. Though that suggestion is anathema to everything the Guttmacher Institute holds dear, it hits much closer to the truth than the reverse. Increasing the use of birth…

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What Can We Learn from the Documentary Hush?

Mar 28, 2017 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Abortion News

Not to be confused with the horror flicks of the same name, Hush is a 2016 documentary about the health risks of abortion—primarily the disputed connection between abortion and breast cancer. The filmmaker, Punam Kumar Gill, is a Canadian woman of Indian descent whose own story infiltrates the narrative in some unexpected ways. Though she describes herself as a "pro-choice" feminist, Hush is unlikely to find many fans within that particular subset—which is too bad. I've watched it twice now and find it extremely compelling. 

Despite billing itself as unbiased, Hush has been roundly criticized for its perceived partisanship. Leading the charge is David A. Grimes, the prominent North Carolina abortionist who did a lengthy on-camera interview for the film. After seeing the finished product, he penned an op-ed for The Huffington Post,…

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Is Dehumanization Always & Intrinsically Unjust?

Feb 23, 2017 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Abortion Arguments

David Livingstone Smith is a philosophy professor who has written the book on dehumanization. It's called, Less Than Human, and is billed as the "first book to illuminate precisely how and why we sometimes think of others as subhuman creatures."

"To talk meaningfully about dehumanization," Smith says, "we need to pin it down." To that end, he defines dehumanization as "conceiving of people as subhuman creatures rather than as human beings." This "psychological lubricant," as he describes it, "dissolv[es] our inhibitions and inflam[es] our destructive passions ... empower[ing] us to perform acts that would, under other circumstances, be unthinkable."

Simply put, dehumanization "paves the way for atrocity." Though Smith focuses primarily on the dehumanization of Jews, sub-Saharan Africans, and Native Americans, he also looks at more subtle examples of dehumanization in popular culture and the press. In his view,…

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No Choice But to March for Abortion

Feb 15, 2017 / By: Michael Spielman
Category: Abortion News

My first exposure to last month's Women's March came via Facebook of course. The Rockford Art Deli, a custom T-shirt shop in the town I formerly called home, had produced a special shirt to commemorate the event. According to the caption, "anyone into supporting women's rights with respect, honesty & positive vibes (is) welcome." I am into supporting women's rights with respect and honesty (and positive vibes), but I am also anti-abortion. That complicates things, since "women's rights" is so often used as a mere euphemism for "abortion rights." Would the Women's March be different? That remained to be seen.

Looking at the event page for the march in Rockford, I found the following statements:

  • Join your local women and supporters of women on Saturday, January 21st to promote women's rights, equality, and empowerment.
  • Anyone is welcome, this event is not just for women! 
  • We are non-partisan, and will NOT use the Women's March to criticize politicians or political parties.

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