Thursday, June 11, 2009

Does abortion prevent child abuse?

“Does abortion prevent child abuse? In 1973, when abortion was first legalized, the United States child abuse cases were estimated at 167,000 annually. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 903,000 children were victims of abuse during 2001, a number more than 5 times greater.”

-from Life Report Podcast

Correlation is NOT causation. The population of the US increased from 211,909,000 in 1973 to 285,669,915. While those numbers are not enough to explain the difference, perhaps a shift in social attitudes can. Even just a generation or two ago, it was common to use more negative force and excessive discipline on children (for example, how common was spanking while you were growing up vs. now?). Mandated reporters (people who, due to their close work with children, are legally obligated to report suspected abuse) were not established until 1974 when the Child Abuse and Treatment Act passed. This act also begun federal funding to all 50 states to prevent, investigate and assess child abuse cases.

Further, it would be interesting to see how these statistics define “child abuse.” Unfortunately, some children deemed victims of child abuse are ultimately victims of poverty. Stories come to my mind of families torn apart due to unsafe living conditions that were a direct result of landlord neglect and the ghetto-ization of low-income people or parents who were working but poor and couldn’t afford all their bills and to put food on their table.

Lastly, any person who would claim “abortion prevents child abuse” is not clearly thinking through their pro-choice logic. Yes, in some select cases a continued pregnancy would have resulted in the child being abused, but ultimately this claim is anti-woman, assuming there are some women who just shouldn’t be parents- almost mandating abortion in certain cases. Hard to prove tangents just take away from our message. If we are to ever have a truly united force for reproductive justice, we must squarely keep the focus for abortion on the woman and what she wants for herself, her family (if applicable) and her future.

1 comment:

anti-anti said...

Also, there has certainly been a huge increase in reporting of child abuse, as it has become a huge social concern in the past two decades especially. The previous number is artificially low, clearly.

See my blog post on similar statistical faux-pas!