The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ok, so what do these numbers really mean?

In a post below I challenged Bob Ellis
on his assertion that the above numbers
prove, "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that
the majority of women who get abortions
in South Dakota do so as a "casual method
of birth control (Mike Sanborn's words —
Mike thinks they don't.)

I persists with this because I think Ellis
in his fervor is being intellectually dishonest
at worst, or overly presumptuous at best.

So, without going into the whole report
like we did on the last go-round, let's
just focus on this chart and see what we
can glean (some might say cherrypick)
from it, shall we?

First, add up all the "Percent" columns
from year to year and notice that they
all total more than 100%.

What gives?

The only sensible answer is that the
people being interviewed gave more than
one reason.

Maybe it's a multiple choice question?

Who knows? Maybe Bob Ellis does.

Boy, it sure looks to me like they do,
pretty dramatically actually...especially
the one Ellis says represents the
"casual birth control" women.

The surprising thing to me here is that if Ellis
is right, why is that number not 100% every year?

Didn't everyone who answered the question
"not desire to have the child?"

Do the numbers mean that a significant % of women
each year really wanted to have the child but decided
to have an abortion anyway? I don't know.

Does it mean that most women didn't want to discuss
the deepest reasons for their decision figuring that it
was none of anyone else's business? I don't know.

My only point is, I don't believe that Bob nor
anyone else but the women who gave the answers
knows what these numbers mean.
There's no way to tell.

And that's as it should be.

Finally, I'm not going to get into the overall abortion
debate on this thread. My interest here is honesty and
education. Read the SDDoH report. Think about it, think
about whether you agree with me that's it's no one's
business but the woman involved, or whether you agree
with Carl LaFong that it's an issue society at large should
concern itself with and make law accordingly.

And on the off chance, you still agree with Ellis that
anyone takes this issue or their abortion lightly, well...
what can I say? I haven't yet heard anyone yet say that.
But I suppose it's possible. Maybe they should ask that
question in the interview, huh?

The floor is yours, friends.

I'm staying out of the comments this time. I promise.

Note: There will be no poll accompanying this post,
at least not one created by me. I'm just trying to finish
up this old business before moving on.


Carl LaFong said...

As to multiple reasons, the report explains (relative to the chart at issue):

"In 2005, 24 percent of mothers gave more than one response while in 2006 14.4 percent of mothers gave more than one response."

As to the meaning of the data, it appears that an overriding number of abortions were not related to pregnancies that would threaten the mother and were committed as a method of birth control.

Regardless the variety of reasons for the abortions, the outcome was identical for each of the victims of the reported abortions.

lexrex said...

ya, i don't get why 100% don't answer that they didn't desire to have the child. that's obvious.

but, carl's right. what we DO know is that very few abortions -- year after year -- are done because of rape, incest, or substantial health risks.

donna said...

Wow- such manly responses.

Lex you are correct- there are many pregnancies terminated for reasons other that rape and incest. These are known only to the woman. It's really nobody's business but hers. And certainly should not be decided by persons who are in no way responsible for raising the child.

In reality, not desiring the child is probably the least of the real reasons a woman would make this decision. I think you both have some strange notion that this is something that is easy for a woman to do, and done and forgotten. That couldn't be any farther from the truth.

Carl LaFong said...

I don't believe for a minute that the decision to have an abortion is easy - for any woman. I've written nothing that would indicate otherwise.

Yet, regardless the difficulty of the decision for the mother, the procedure is far more damaging to the victim.

If an ER staffer sees evidence of repeated abuse on a child should he say nothing to the authorities because he's not responsible for raising that child? Just let the kid suffer?

Donna said...

I like the second definition of rhetoric "artificial eloquence"

Your references to "casual" abortions, and utilizing them for birth control reasons, led me to believe that you thought they were of minimal consequences to the woman.

Our differences are obviously in when the embryo becomes a life. We will never agree on this.

Carl LaFong said...


I don't know about artificial eloquence. Evidently, you like making artificial claims and unfounded charges as I made no reference to casual abortions. Under an earlier post I quoted other's references. But, I have never described an abortion as casual.

In any case, I assume we will never agree. That's why, despite my participation in these discussions, I am confident these discussions are futile.

As I noted in an earlier post, I believe our society is a couple generations away from having the intellect or the honesty to recognize abortion for the evil it is and from outlawing the barbaric practice of killing the unborn as we outlawed slavery and as we rejected the genocide of Hitler and others.

In that same comment I indicated I was going to withdraw from these discussions. I was interested to hear other's views of Dr. George's ideas and to know when and why others believe humans become persons. That came a cropper. So, I'll try again.

Les said...

Carl, I would love to see some discussion from those with a more casual regard to abortion than you and myself among others as to when life begins! That question seems to go unanswered, at least to my satisfaction. I also understand that for most women getting an abortion is not an easy decision and from my relationship with a Rachel's Vineyard director, the wound never completely heals. I find it very interesting to see the reaction to your words. You are touching some hot buttons.

Bob Newland said...

The question of when life begins is irrelevant to this discussion. The question is: "Does a woman own herself?" If she doesn't, does the state?

If the state owns her, or me, then the state can legitimately do what it wants to either her or me.

If the state can ban abortions, it can force abortions. Either is repugnant to the moral philosophy of those who favor a state with limited power.

Les said...

Yes Bob the state owns you. At least for a year? ""Donna Said"" Our differences are obviously in when the embryo becomes a life. We will never agree on this."" You state forcing prohibition on abortion could bring as well forced abortion. Explain how protecting a beating heart compares to silencing a beating heart. Bob the cancer of our government should be repugnant to all, more so from a moral standpoint than a limited government view. BTW Bob, very few of us are less owned by the state than yourself. Take a look at Harry Browns, How To Live Free In An Unfree World.