Legalize arbitrary homicide to decrease arbitrary homicide? Talk about counterintuitive!
I enjoy debating bioethics and politics online because it encourages me to think, research and tighten my arguments. I spend at least part of each day explaining and advocating for the protection of human rights, especially the right to life, or the right not to be killed. I’m not only trying to convince the people engaged in the conversation, but the “lurkers” who read but don’t post.
I endeavor to read and evaluate as many as possible of the sources and references that are used to counter my arguments. I learn and hope to be a better debater that way.
During an one such debate, I was referred to a 2020 article in the journal Lancet, “Unintended pregnancy and abortion by income, region, and the legal status of abortion: estimates from a comprehensive model for 1990–2019,” that supposedly gave proof that abortion restrictions result in higher rates of abortion.
The report proves that statistics can be manipulated based on estimates which are actually Wild-Assed Guesses. Working from an estimated 73.3 million abortions per year worldwide, the authors admit that virtually all of the data are “estimates” rather than actual numbers.
But, to strengthen their model, they threw out 62% of women at reproductive age because data from China & India, where abortion is broadly legal, “skewed” their numbers.
Besides the fact that it would be useful to know how they determine the number of illegal abortions in a country, the “findings” are reported by region & broad income. (And in a cluttered pdf at https://www.thelancet.com/cms/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30315-6/attachment/d4652ad7-9ace-425e-b907-7060ff71982f/mmc1.pdf )
Look at the Caribbean countries where countries with just about every possible combination of restrictions & income level are lumped together. ( And Cuba is reported as upper middle income.)
Which might or might not explain,
“Among middle-income and low-income countries, there was not a clear relationship between legal restrictions and abortion rates, or the proportion of unintended pregnancies ending in abortion.”
“2015–19, low-income countries had the highest unintended pregnancy rate and the lowest proportion of unintended pregnancies ending in abortion.”
If we accept the WAG numbers that the authors admit are higher than those of other researchers, there is an indication that lower income regions have more pregnancies the authors categorize as “unintended.” And, if a country starts out at an abortion rate of 30, increasing to 39 gives a higher percentage change than countries that start at 61 & go to 70.
At least the headings in the Summary are semi-truthful: “findings” & “Interpretation.” But the data doesn’t indicate that restrictions result in more abortions.