Doctor: Detroit abortion stats 'like some Third World country'


True. Prosecuting an abortion as murder case would be a District Attorney’s nightmare. Getting a jury to convict a woman who had an abortion (especially a first trimester one) would be extremely difficult, indeed impossible in many jurisdictions. Jury nullification would be rampant.


Yes, I imagine it would be like those battered wife trials where the woman obviously killed the husband but pleads not guilty and the jury agrees because they feel sorry for her.


Or the juror figures that she or her daughter could someday be in that woman’s shoes. This is why people who advocate prosecuting abortion as a crime insist they only want to prosecute the Doctor/abortionist, never the woman getting the abortion (after all she was distraught, wasn’t of right mind etc.)


The Church is working overtime on that. Who cares what “some” pro-lifers think or do. That should not color our responses.


No it shouldn’t, but it does colour the abortion issue at large. For every politician who pushes through legal restrictions on abortion, how many do you hear discussing the ‘culture of death’ and how to combat it?

I applaud the Church for not simply reducing abortion to a question of law.


George Bush did it. We know where that got him. Rick Santorum did it too. Remember what Google did to him for his stand on sexual mores.


Your commentary is laughable.

Both contraception and abortion are the result of liberalizing attitudes towards sexuality and the desire to put off having children. Also, our society is much less connected than it once was. The poor and pregnant can’t rely on their communities for help anymore.

The Patheos commentary posits specifically the desire to put off children as the common cause factor. :shrug:


A nationwide ban on abortion is extremely unlikely. Even if Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow, in 5 years the abortion map would pretty much look like it does now. One or two states or territories (Louisiana?, Utah?, Guam?) might outlaw it entirely save for dire medical emergencies, or maybe severe fetal deformities, but the rest? No way. Not as long as Catholics remain a religious minority.


Is it really surprising that Detroit has stats that resemble third world countries? Detroit has been reduced to third world status by the politicians who have wrecked the city.


Cool. But they have no grounds to say that there is causation here, or that correlation automatically implies any degree of causation.

A spurious relationship is not causation. There is no grounds whatsoever to claim that birth control causes abortion. For that to be true, you would have to say that those women whose method failed them would not have had an abortion if they had used no method at all. That just doesn’t seem logical or likely.


I have to say, I’m a health scientist who looks at these statistics with a pretty keen eye. I’ve gone back and looked at the peer-reviewed literature on abortion rates in the U.S. prior to Roe vs. Wade. If you look at other threads on this forum, as late as October 2013, I was arguing the same thing you are. See here for example.

And, if you look for the decades of the 1950s and 1960s, they are generally based on “expert estimates” produced at a 1955 conference held at Arden House to discuss the issue of illegal abortion. The range you cite is based on that Arden House conference, which estimated a rate of 200,000 to “over 1 million” abortions per year in the mid-1950s. The methods that they used were, of course, highly uncertain. On a per capita or “per 1000 women aged 15-44” basis, this range overlaps with the current rate of abortion, no question. So case closed?

Hardly. The Arden House report does not adequately document their methods, but it’s not difficult to reconstruct them. The estimates are largely based on multiplying two numbers together: the rate of female mortality among women of childbearing age, diagnosed as resulting from abortion AND the rate of abortion-related deaths among women of childbearing age per 1000 abortions.

Mathematically: AIR = MMRA x AMR
AIR = Abortion incidence rate
MMRA = Maternal mortality rate - with causes of death related to abortion
AMR = Abortion mortality ratio

The first of these numbers, MMRA, the rate of abortion-related mortality among women of child-bearing age is based on observation. In the western world, the International Classification of Causes of Death (ICD) was put into effect in the year 1900 – following a conference that year. In the United States, the ICD system has been in use since then, with major revisions in 1949 (ICD-6), 1975 (ICD-9), and 2000 (ICD-10). The U.S. is still in transition between ICD-9 and ICD-10, but for the most part there is consistency here.

The second number, AMR, is the ratio of mortality among women of childbearing age to the incidence of abortion, over the the same time period. This second number is the cause of much uncertainty. When abortion was illegal, it was difficult and imprecise to measure the ratio between abortions that resulted in fatality for the pregnant woman and those that did not. In essence, the ratio had to be estimated based the estimate one had of total abortion incidence. In other words: AMR depends on your assumption of the abortion incidence rate (AIR). And measuring the aboriton incidence rate was extremely difficult. Even with anonymous surveys, women were ashamed and afraid of legal sanctions. So, the AMR is largely based on a guess by experts!

A second approach is to calculate AIR this way:
CBR = crude birth rate.
ABR = abortion / birth ratio (i.e. abortions per 1000 live births)
Again, here, when abortion was illegal, ABR was very difficult to measure.

There is now reason to doubt the validity of these kinds of studies. Koch et al. (2011), in a free open-access study online, compared the abortions in Mexico City that occurred right after Mexico City legalize abortion using the estimates produced by the Guttmacher Institute (which uses nonrandom surveys of health professionals to get estimates similar ABR or AMR) with the actual abortion surveillance data reported by hospitals (which were required to report these data) found a huge difference. The Guttmacher study based on surveys estimated between 137,145 and 194,875 induced abortions for the Mexico City region for 2006, the year before abortion was legalized there. In the next year, when abortion was legal, the total number of abortions registered in the same area was 10,137. From April 2007- April 2012, there were a total of 78,554 abortions in the region, an average of 15,710. Given extremely unlikelihood that the number of abortions would decrease in the area after abortions were legalized (the actual reported number increased over time), this suggests that the Guttmacher survey approach is simply wrong and (numerically) biased very high. I will note that the Guttmacher authors did not respond to the Koch et al. (20110 article with a letter to the editor, but instead posted a comment on the study on the Guttmacher web site. That’s not how I think science should work.

So as a health science professional who knows epidemiology, I can say that there is ample reason to doubt the validity of survey-based abortion estimates.

There is one more source that I am going to check. F.J. Taussig in a 1938 report in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that there were between 600,000 and 700,000 abortions annually in the United States. This estimate pre-dates the Arden House 1955 range, which were subsequently echoed throughout academia. If his estimates are reasonable, there might still be wind in the sails of your argument. Still, I am obliged to let science lead me here. The implications are large.


It’s true. Even Scalia, a very conservative and outspoken catholic has said that he could not let a nationwide abortion ban stand because the constitution does not allow the feds to dictate that issue to the states.


Tell that to Obama.


*]19 states have laws that could be used to restrict the legal status of abortion.
*]20 states have laws that could be used to restrict the legal status of abortion.
*]4 states have laws that automatically ban abortion if Roe were to be overturned.
*]12 states retain their unenforced, pre-Roe abortion bans.
*]8 states have laws that express the irintent to restrict the right to legal abortion to the maximum extent permitted by the U.S. Supreme Court in the absence of Roe.
*]7 states have laws that protect the right to choose abortion prior to viability or when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.


Here are some of the names of women who died from injuries from legal abortion:


To the horror of Guttmacher. From your link, this precedes what you quoted above

BACKGROUND: The current make up of the U.S. Supreme Court have led some state policymakers to consider the possibility that Roe v. Wade could be overturned and regulation of abortion returned to the states. Some state legislatures are considering banning abortion under all or virtually all circumstances; these measures are widely viewed as an attempt to provoke a legal challenge to Roe, while other states are considering abortion bans that would go into effect in the event that Roe is overturned. And a number of states still have pre-1973 abortion bans on the books—several of which, in theory, could be enforced if Roe were ever overturned. Still other states have laws declaring the state’s intent to ban abortion to the extent permitted by the U.S. Constitution.
Meanwhile, some states are moving in the opposite direction by passing laws that essentially codify the parameters of Roe. These laws prohibit any interference with a woman exercising her right to obtain an abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the life and health of the woman.


The original post reads the Detroit News quoting a doctor as to saying Detroit’s abortion rate is like a 3rd world country however, this post # 2 does not show “3rd World” countries, France, South Korea and Australia are hardly 3rd world countries.

I am not finding specific countries mentioned in the original article:

So, I think the Doctor’s view is innately ethnocentric to use a positive term and of course, worse can be said. What countries does the doctor mean? Haiti? Peru? Kenya? Viet Nam? Would countries like this have an abortion rate like Detroit according to the Doctor? I doubt it.


:rolleyes: Oh please, abortion was taken away from the states when Obama was just a kid.


Doing the multiplication, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, it still turns out that a lot of abortions would take place. The odds of banning abortion in NY, CA, MA, and several other liberal-voting states that together constitute the majority of abortion in the US is very small.

I think it’s worth looking at the literature from when abortion was illegal across the board to see what would be effective in reducing abortion today. As articles from the 1930s say (e.g., F.J. Taussig’s “Control of Abortion” published in 1937 in the New England Journal of Medicine), despite abortion being illegal, few people were willing to enforce and/or report on violations of the law because of the future possibility of wanting to get an abortion oneself in case of unintended pregnancy. Taussig definitely has a pro-life perspective, and argues that providing more support to women who take on the additional financial and time responsibilities of having a child would be a way to reduce the incidence of illegal abortion. Of course, today we have the child tax credit in the U.S., but to me, this is where the Church’s missionary activity is needed.

While abortion occurs across the spectrum of age, race, and income, the women today who get abortion are more likely to be young, black, and/or living in poverty. These patterns are the same today as they were in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. To me, it is only the missionary activity of the Church that is going to change the culture in a way that significantly reduces abortion.


Pelosi and Biden are also two very outspoken Catholics.

has said that he could not let a nationwide abortion ban stand because the constitution does not allow the feds to dictate that issue to the states.

[quote="Qui]Tell that to Obama.

Apparently there are a lot of issues that the feds can dictate to the states, just not abortion bans.

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