Uh-oh. Looks like anti-abortion political grandstanding and getting shouty at press conferences doesn't actually do anything to reduce the number of abortions in a state. Case in point: Arizona — a state chock full of lawmakers so shirt-rendingly pro-life that it just passed the country's most restrictive 20-week no-exceptions-for-rape abortion ban — has actually seen a 25% increase in abortions in the past year.
To say that the 20-week ban itself was somehow causing the increase would be disingenuous; the measure has been tied up in legal wrangling since it was signed into law by the state's governor Jan Brewer (fun fact about Jan Brewer: she doesn't have any mirrors in her house, because she doesn't have a reflection). And the state's health director, abstinence-only-education proponent Will Humble, says that the 25% jump is due to enhanced reporting techniques that the state now requires, and that his "don't do sex" method is working because the number of teen pregnancies is dropping in the state.
But state Health Director Will Humble said he cannot say for sure that really means more pregnancies were terminated in 2011 than before. He said it may just be that his agency, armed with a new law that took effect in mid 2010, is just getting a better data.
Humble said, though, that one thing is clear: The number of teens getting pregnant in the first place continues to drop.
"Hey, you cheated on me with my sister!"
"Let me make one thing clear: I am not secretly gay."
But all of this is drawing attention from what's really going on here, which is that pro-life politicians in Arizona and elsewhere have no fucking idea why women have abortions, nor do they have interest in addressing the reasons that women choose to end pregnancies. It's asinine. Trying to eliminate unplanned pregnancy and the desperation that accompanies it by outlawing abortions is like trying to fix a car's muffler by turning the radio all the way up.
You'd think that a pro-life person who thought abortion was murder would be interested in reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies in the first place, right? I mean, that just seems like a logical thing that a person wearing a thinking cap might consider doing. Except the state has cut taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood on the grounds that the organization provides abortions, even though state and federal law requires that no taxpayer money be used to finance abortions unless the mother's life is in danger. They've effectively made it more difficult for 20,000 women to access basic health care, including contraception. WHICH PREVENTS PREGNANCIES THAT ARE NOT PLANNED.
Okay, so let's say that for some reason no one told pro-life Arizona lawmakers that contraception prevents pregnancy. Let's pretend that they believe that sperm is magical and interfering with it is a crime against penis. Fine. Let's take a look at reasons women choose to abort.
According to Guttmacher, women have abortions primarily because they feel like they're not equipped to care for a child, or cannot afford to care for a child. So if you wanted to reduce abortions, you'd want to address the reasons that women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant decide to abort, right? RIGHT?
Ever mindful of avoiding hypocrisy, Governor Jan Brewer eliminated the State Children's Health Insurance Program in 2011. KidsCare was designed to provide insurance to uninsured kids whose parents made too much money to qualify for Medicare, but apparently Brewer's so pro-life that she can't be bothered to make it more feasible to raise children in the state. She's also been on the front lines of challenging Obamacare, which would mandate that all Americans be covered by insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014. The budget hawk also has fought to cut welfare, shit on public education, and generally make things more difficult for parents trying to raise families in Arizona. Is it any wonder more women would decide that raising a child, or going through a pregnancy in an openly hostile environment might just not be worth it?