Month Archives: January 2007

State of the Union, By the Numbers

by Family Research Council

January 24, 2007

During the State of the Union speech, how many times did President Bush use the word…?

Iraq 34

Child/Children 15

terrorists 15

Health insurance 11

Al Qaeda 10

Oil 9

Tax/Taxes 9

Border 7

Economy — 7

Baghdad 5

Earmarks 5

Iran 5

Budget 4

Schools 4

Immigration 4

Deficit 3

Baby Einstein 3

HIV/AIDS 3

Poverty 3

Cedar Revolution 2

Lebanon 2

biodiesel 1

ethanol 1

hybrid vehicles 1

judges 1

global climate change 1

Osama bin Laden 1

Islam 1

Holy Land 1

nuclear weapons 1

Darfur 1

Malaria 1

NBA 1

Love 1

God 1

Abstinence — 0

Stem cells — 0

Abortion - 0

Cloning — 0

Values — 0

Marriage — 0

Blogs for Life Conference

by Jared Bridges

January 22, 2007

The Blogs for Life Conference is underway, and we’ve already heard from some challenging speakers. There’s more to come when the conference resumes at 2:30 PM ET, following the March for Life.

The live webcast will resume at 2:30 as well.

Also, live liveblogging the event are Tim from prolifeblogs.com, Katie Favazza from Townhall.com’s Elocutio blog, as well as Ivy Sellers from Human Events so be sure to check out their coverage.

The Case for Pro-Life Incrementalism

by Family Research Council

January 20, 2007

In preparation for the upcoming Blogs for Life conference, FRC Blog and ProLifeBlogs.com held a joint symposium on the merits of incrementalism (approaching pro-life issues on an incremental basis, gradually achieving our goals by compromise and exceptions) versus absolutism (settling for nothing less than full legal recognition of the sanctity for life).

One of the most intriguing entries we received comes from Michael New, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama. Because Professor New doesnt have a blog weve decided to post his essay here.

°°°°°°

I really appreciate Family Research Councils willingness to allow me to post a comment on the ongoing debate in the pro-life movement between absolutism and incrementalism. Many young pro-lifers do not realize the extent to which this debate divided the pro-life movement in the years immediately following the Roe vs Wade decision. After all, in recent years, this debate has become somewhat less polarizing. Starting in the mid 1980s absolutists and incrementalists quit fighting over how to design a human life amendment and turned their attention toward changing the composition of the Supreme Court. These efforts enjoyed fairly broad support among various factions of the pro-life movement and tensions cooled somewhat.

The best argument in support of an incremental strategy is that incremental laws have consistently demonstrated their effectiveness at protecting the unborn. I want to begin by

discussing national trends in the incidence of abortion. In 1974, the first full year after Roe vs. Wade, there were 763,476 abortions. These numbers increased consistently until 1990 when there were 1,429,427 abortions according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, starting in 1990 something interesting happened. The numbers started to fall. In fact the number of reported abortions has fallen almost every year from 1990 to 2003, the last year for which the CDC has released data.

Now these declines have not occurred due to demographic shifts or reductions in the number of childbearing age women. For the 47 states reporting data in both 1990 and 2003, the abortion ratio (abortions per thousand births) has declined from 305 to 241 and the abortion rate (abortions per thousand women of childbearing age) has fallen from 21 to 16. This means that women today are less likely to have abortions, and pregnancies today are less likely to result in abortions. Good News.

But what happened in the early 1990s that started this trend?

One factor might be the economy. There is some evidence that a strong economy slightly reduces the incidence of abortion. As such, the fact that the economy grew stronger during the 1990s might be a factor in the abortion decline. However, historical evidence tells us that the booming economy does not tell us the whole story. For instance, the strong economy during the 1980s did not result in such a dramatic abortion decline.

Indeed, the main reason for this reduction in the incidence of abortion during the 1990s was the success of the pro-life movement at passing incremental legislation at the state level. Here are some statistics.

-In 1992, 20 states had parental involvement laws (either parental notification or parental consent) on the books. In 2000, 32 states had enacted some sort of parental involvement law.

-In 1992, no states had an informed consent law on the books. In 2000 27 states had enacted some form of informed consent law.

-In 1992 no states had waiting periods. In 2000 11 states had waiting periods.

-In 1992 no states had partial birth abortion bans in 2000 12 states enacted partial birth abortion bans.

There were two factors that led to this sharp increase in state level pro-life legislation during the 1990s. The first was the Supreme Courts 1992 Casey vs. Planned Parenthood decision. Many in the pro-life movement thought that the Supreme Court would use this case as an opportunity to overturn Roe vs. Wade. The fact that the Supreme Court did not do this was a disappointment for many in the pro-life movement.

However, in the Casey decision, the Supreme Court did find many of the provisions included in Pennsylvanias Abortion Control Act to be constitutional. This gave incremental pro-life laws at the state level greater constitutional protection. Prior to Casey, the only types of pro-life legislation that consistently withstood constitutional scrutiny were parental involvement laws and Medicaid funding restrictions. After Casey pro-lifers had more options at the state level. Pro-lifers could pass informed consent laws. These are laws that require abortion providers to give women seeking abortions information about 1) the development of their unborn child, 2) public and private sources of support if the woman decides to keep their baby, and 3) health risks involved with abortion. After Casey, Pro-lifers also had the ability to enact waiting periods and in some states partial birth abortion bans received constitutional protection.

The second reason for this increase in the passage of pro-life legislation is because pro-lifers enjoyed greater electoral success in state legislative races. It is well known that in the 1994 election Republicans won majority control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 1986 and won majority control of the U.S. House for the first time since 1954. However, it is less well known that Republicans made some very impressive gains in the state legislatures as well.

Prior to the 1994 election Republicans controlled both chambers of the state legislature in only 8 states. After the 1994 election Republicans controlled both chambers of the state legislature in 19 states. These legislative gains were long lasting as by 2000, Republican still controlled both chambers of the state legislature in 18 states Since Republicans tend to be more sympathetic to pro-life legislation than Democrats at the federal level and in most states, these Republican legislative gains made it easier to pass pro-life legislation in many statehouses.

So what impact has all of this legislation had? My research and the research of other social scientists all indicate that these laws have been effective at reducing the incidence for abortion. In 2004, The Heritage Foundation released the first of my three comprehensive studies on this topic. I obtained data on both the abortion rate and the abortion ratio from the both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI). The dataset I examined included abortion data from every state from every year from 1985 to 1999. Holding constant a variety of demographic and economic variables, I found the passage of public funding restrictions, informed consent laws, parental involvement laws, and partial birth abortion bans were all correlated with reductions in the incidence of abortion.

In subsequent studies, I have been able to document the effectiveness of pro-life legislation in a number of ways.

-Separate regressions run on datasets obtained from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) both consistently indicate that the passage of pro-life legislation is correlated with reductions in the abortion rate and abortion ratio.

-Pro-life laws that are passed by a legislature but later nullified by a judge have a negligible impact on the incidence of abortion. Conversely pro-life laws that are passed and take effect are correlated with statistically significant reductions in the incidence of abortion. This shows that the legislation is having an impact and not changes in local mores and values that might be correlated with the passage of pro-life legislation.

-Consistent with my expectations, different types of pro-life laws have a greater effect on different subgroups of the population. This is consistent with the idea that laws are having an impact and not other factors that happen to be correlated with the passage of legislation. For instance, parental involvement laws have a much larger effect on the minor abortion rate than the overall abortion rate. This is unsurprising since minors are the only group directly affected by parental involvement laws.

-Similarly, my findings indicate that informed consent laws have a larger impact on adults than on minors. This is because most minors are likely seeking abortions because they wish to hide either their pregnancy or their sexual activity from their parents. Information about fetal development or public and private sources of support would be unlikely to change the mind of a minor in this situation. However, such information would have a larger impact on an adult who might be seeking an abortion due to financial pressures.

-Finally, my findings are consistent with those of other social scientists who have examined the issue. Every academic study has shown that public funding restrictions are correlated with substantial declines in both the abortion rate and abortion ratio. Furthermore, nearly every policy and academic study shows that parental involvement laws reduce the number of abortions performed on minors within the boundaries of a given states. However, social scientists are split about the extent to which in-state declines are offset by increases in neighboring states.

Overall it seems that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that incremental legislation has been effective at protecting the unborn. Furthermore, the evidence also indicates that and that the decline in the incidence of abortion since the early 1990s is in large part due to the fact that more and more states were enacting incremental pro-life legislation. One can safely say that unborn children are alive today due to the passage of these laws.

Now, the best reason for pursuing incremental legislation is its demonstrated ability to protect the unborn. However, incremental legislation serves an important educational purpose as well. Many people pay little attention to politics and are unaware of the permissive nature of abortion laws in this country. For instance, many are unaware the abortion is legal through all 9 months of pregnancy and that in some states minors do not even need to notify their parents before having an abortion. Campaigns to enact incremental pro-life legislation highlight the permissive nature of these laws and cause many people who consider themselves pro-choice to rethink their beliefs. Indeed, the campaign to ban partial birth abortions during the mid to late 1990s was effective in shifting public opinion toward a more pro-life position.

Furthermore, the pursuit of incremental legislation gives pro-life activists the real prospect of short term victories which are important for sustaining and building a large scale social movement. Indeed, a noble cause by itself is often insufficient to keep people interested and motivated. If people are going to remain active, they need to be convinced that their continued support has a good chance of making a tangible difference in the future. As such, pro-lifers would do well to highlight the success that we have had in passing incremental legislation. It clearly demonstrates how our movement has enjoyed success in the past and how progress is certainly attainable in the future.

Indeed, when I present my research at pro-life gatherings, the most important point I try to make is that the time and treasure of pro-lifers has not been wasted during the past 34 years. Superficially some people think that the pro-life movement has not been successful because we have not succeeded in overturning Roe vs. Wade. And it is true that progress has not come as fast as we would like. However, the votes cast for pro-life candidates at both the federal level and state level has led to the passage of legislation which has been effective at protecting the unborn. Overall, incremental legislation has saved lives in the past and will continue to save lives in the future if we stay the course.

Brownback, Hunter to Join Blogs For Life Conference

by Family Research Council

January 20, 2007

On Monday, January 22nd at 9:00 am, Family Research Council will host Blogs for Life, the second annual conference of pro-life bloggers. The event will be streamed live via webcast from FRC.org. (Visit the FRC homepage on the day of the conference for more details.)

Blogs for Life is scheduled to take place the day of the 34th annual March for Life, during which thousands of pro-life advocates gather in the Nation’s capitol to celebrate life and demand the reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

The conference will feature Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA). Other featured speakers include Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terri Schindler Schiavo and Ramesh Ponnuru, noted author of The Party of Death and senior editor at National Review.

A panel on new media will also be held with David All (David All Group), LaShawn Barber (LaShawn Barber’s Corner), Mary Katherine Ham (TownHall.com), Rob Bluey (Heritage Foundation), Tim Ruchti (ProLifeBlogs.com), and Peter Shinn (ProLifeUnity.com).

Blogs for Life is an excellent opportunity for individuals and organizations to network with pro-life bloggers and develop an understanding of how weblog technology can be used to strategically promote life and transform ideas into action as we move toward a post-Roe America.

Who: Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS)

Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA)

Bobby Schindler

Ramesh Ponnuru

What: The second annual conference dedicated to advancing the pro-life message via weblog technology.

When: Monday, January 22, 2007

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Where: Family Research Council

801 G. Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

RSVP: online at www.blogs4life.com

Is China becoming the boys club?

by Jared Bridges

January 12, 2007

In the past, communist states were known for periodic shortages of things like eggs, milk, and toilet paper. However, the People’s Republic of China may have an even bigger problem on their hands — a shortage of girls. If officials’ predictions are correct, within 15 years there will be 30 million less women of marriageable age than men in the country.

The gender imbalance doesn’t appear to be due to growth of the “He-Man Woman Haters Club,” but to a rise in sex-selective abortions. The government’s encouragement of one-child per family has prompted a society with a traditional preference for sons to illegally abort girls.

As China has about a third of the world’s population, a gender imbalance like this will give rise to major problems not only for China, but the world. From the AP story:

The report predicted that by 2020 the imbalance would mean men of marriageable age especially those with low income or little education would find it difficult to find wives, resulting in possible social problems.

The problem is not just a rural issue, with the newborn gender imbalance also widening in cities. In the first 11 months of 2006, there were 109 boys born in Beijing for every 100 girls.

China Daily said one way to solve the problem would be to create a proper social security system so rural couples would not feel they needed a son to depend on when they get old.

Somehow a social security system doesn’t seem quite adequate an answer. Perhaps it’s time China revisits its population control polices before they lose their feminine side altogether!

Not so Pretty Woman, or Man

by Family Research Council

January 11, 2007

600,000 prostitutes, 5.7 million with AIDS and Richard Gere sees the answer in condoms- which are not completely effective in stopping the spread of the disease and doesnt stop other STDs?

Gere dances with Indian sex workers in AIDS fight

Hollywood star Richard Gere cheered on thousands of Indian prostitutes dancing to raunchy Bollywood songs on Wednesday and urged them to refuse sex without condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

No condom, no sex. No condom, no sex. No condom, no sex,” Gere hollered into a microphone as about 10,000 prostitutes gathered at a dusty Mumbai fairground joined him in chorus.

The actor, dressed in a brown jacket and black trousers, presented awards to sex workers in recognition of their work on various HIV/AIDS intervention programmes.

You’re unique. This is amazing, an unbelievable experience,” said the star of the hit movie “Pretty Woman”, also known for his support to the people of Tibet.

This is unfathomable. This will not happen in the U.S. or Europe, or even in Asia.”

The United Nations says 5.7 million Indians are living with HIV/AIDS, the world’s largest caseload. Many of those infected are prostitutes.

Mumbai has an estimated 600,000 prostitutes, but a sizeable number of them are not in brothels which makes implementation of HIV/AIDS intervention programmes difficult.

Maybe if the house was made of brick?

by Family Research Council

January 11, 2007

Apparently the Big Bad Wolf is wanted for questioning

Three Pigs Trigger Fire in Rural Serbia

BELGRADE, Serbia — A farmer’s home in northern Serbia was destroyed in a blaze caused by three pigs that broke out of their pen, walked into the living room and knocked over the TV, police said Wednesday.

The television tube burst, starting a fire that spread through the house late Monday in Temerin, 50 miles, northwest of Belgrade, local police said.

No people were hurt, but the pigs perished. The farmer was out at the time, police said.

Only in Nancy Pelosis (D-CA-0%) home town

by Family Research Council

January 11, 2007

Yale barbershop singers recovering after ambush http://http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070110/ennew_afp/afpentertainmentus_070110163008&printer=1

Wed Jan 10, 11:30 AM ET

Members of a close-harmony group from Yale University are recovering after being ambushed and beaten up while on tour in California.

Members of the a cappella Baker’s Dozen were performing at a party in San Francisco at the new year when their rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” apparently sparked taunts and threats from fellow partygoers.

As the group left the house, they were attacked by dozens of assailants, suffering scrapes, black eyes and concussions, said Connecticut’s News Channel 8.

Besides any bruising or scrapes to the face, the main injury I suffered was I broke my jaw in two places,” one of the singers, 18-year-old Sharyar Aziz, was quoted as saying.

When Rep. Pelosi (D-CA-0%) says We will make America safer do you believe her?

by Family Research Council

January 10, 2007

US News and World Report found some interesting tidbits in the Democrats bill on 9/11 beyond what we reported on yesterday in the Update. Is it any wonder they are vulnerable to criticism they are weak on the War on Terror? The tidbits include.

TSA unionization: The country’s airport screenersa force that today includes about 43,000 people have been unable to formally unionize, which has greatly upset the Unions, who the Democrats are extremely beholden to. The House bill gives all TSA employees collective bargaining rights, including the right to strike.

Redress for watch listers: Democrats want to create a formal Office of Appeals and Redress that will handle the few cases each year of people who believe they are incorrectly on the TSA’s no-fly or special selectee list.

Funds for Muslim schoolchildren: 9/11 commission member Tim Roemer praised Democrats on Monday for introducing a bill that would ensure “progress on winning hearts and minds around the world.” Democrats plan to create an International Arab and Muslim Youth Opportunity Fund that would invest in public education in Arab and Muslim countries. No word in the bill on how much such an effort would cost.

This Day in History/Quote of the Day

by Family Research Council

January 10, 2007

The first educational television network launches on this day in 1967. Seventy independent, affiliated educational stations interconnected to show a live broadcast of President Lyndon Johnson’s State of the Union address. The network, called National Educational Television, started broadcasting regularly scheduled programs in November. It eventually grew into the Public Broadcasting System. When it was first created in 1967 it was before the Internet, satellite television, DVDs, and cable TV with hundreds of channels. A case might have been made then that there was a public benefit to subsidize other voices and programming. Now, with the media explosion of the past quarter century, there is little justification left for public subsidies that total hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

QoD: Who shot him? I asked. The grey man scratched the back of his neck and said: Somebody with a gun. Red Harvest by Dashiel Hammett, who died on this day in 1961.

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