I read the other day that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of abortions in the United States fell by 5% in 2009, the largest single-year decrease in a decade.   The CDC noted that about 18% of all pregnancies in the United States end in abortion and “factors from the availability of abortion providers, state laws, the general economy and access to health services including contraception can all influence the abortion rate.”

Although the CDC could not say with certainty which factor or factors were responsible for the decline, the pro-life PR machine was quick to claim credit.  Within hours of the announcement, Americans United for Life President and CEO Doctor Charmaine Yoest called the news “a real cause for giving thanks. For more than 40 years, AUL has been working to advance a culture of life that protects women and children from Big Abortion. And today we celebrate this historic drop in the abortion rate.”  She then added that AUL had “paved the way for this historic drop in abortion by pushing pro-life legislation in the states, such as clinic regulations holding abortion providers to acceptable standards of care.”

Now, in 2009, close to 60 pro-life laws were enacted across the states, a marked increase from 2008 but how the heck can the pro-life movement prove that their laws have resulted in less abortions?  Have they found women who were thinking about having an abortion and then decided not to?   Gimme a break.

And think about this.  In most of the states where they enacted strict clinic regulations, the states required changes like wider hallways (ostensibly so the gurneys for all of those dying women could be wheeled out faster), thermostats set at certain standard temperatures,  and other miscellaneous requirements that really have nothing to do with patient safety.   How do these regulations actually stop women from getting abortions?   Say a woman in Chicago is pregnant and she wants an abortion.  She calls a few clinics, compares prices, counseling, etc. and then makes her decision.  How did the width of the hallway deter her from having an abortion?   What am I missing here?

Now  if the pro-lifers would just admit that the regulations were designed to close the clinics, then they could legitimately argue that there are less abortions because they are making access to a clinic more difficult.  But, no, that is not their reason for pushing for these laws.  They are just oh-so-concerned about those poor innocent women who are being harmed in those clinics.  How nice of them.

Spin, spin, spin.  Of course, the pro-lifers cannot even think about admitting that maybe better sex education has made women a little bit smarter about birth control.  No, we just can’t admit that one, can we?   They just gotta make up some crap so they can beat their chests.

The bottom line is that the decrease is good as long as it’s for the right reasons.  If women are having less abortions because of state law, that means they are being forced to give birth to unwanted children.  And that is not a welcome development.  But if they are just being smarter about sex, then bravo.