President George W. Bush probably won re-election last year because of the support of the Christian right, who based their vote on moral issues such as abortion. I wonder if they would have the same opinion of the president if they knew that the abortion rate has gone up since the pro-life Bush took office from the pro-choice Clinton.

Using data from the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life and Guttmacher Institute, it can be seen that the number of abortions has increased under the Bush Administration.

When Bush first took office in 2000, the abortion rate was at a 24-year low, after declining 17.4 percent in the 1990s.

With a pro-life president in office, common sense would expect the rate to bottom out even more. Of the 16 states that reported abortion rates, 12 reported increases, including a 111 percent jump in Colorado, while only four reported a slight decrease.

The Houston Chronicle estimated that amounts to 52,000 more abortions occurring in the United States than would have if the change in direction had not occurred.

The obvious question is, how did this happen with conservatives running the government? During Bush’s terms, Congress passed laws outlawing late term abortion and making it a separate crime to kill a fetus. Needless to say, when they came to his desk, Bush signed these bills into law.

Their intentions on several bills have clearly been to limit abortion procedures as much as possible.

The first problem with Bush’s policies is that he promotes “abstinence only” education in schools, without teaching about contraceptives. It has been shown that this policy does not lower the rate of sexual activity in high schools.

Adolescents who have sex are less likely to use some form of birth control if they were educated with abstinence only curricula.

Women under the age of 20 have the highest ratio of abortions to live births, with well over 300 abortions for every 1,000 live births.

The other factor leading to more abortions under the Bush Administration is the economic situation.

Since Bush took office in 2001, the median income level has dropped, as the prosperous times seen in the 1990s have disappeared.

Unemployment levels have increased significantly.

This is a major factor, as many women who are unemployed would rather have an abortion than get married or try to support a child.

In fact, in the 16 states that have released data, there were 16,392 fewer marriages than the year before and 7,869 more abortions. People do not see raising a child as an option, as two-thirds of all women admitted that “inability to afford a child” was a reason for having an abortion.

Simply changing the law to limit the availability of abortions does not solve the problem.

Bush needs to get to the root of the problem – women in desperate situations – where they see abortion as the only solution.

Being pro-life should not mean passing laws against abortion rights, but creating programs that will help put people in situations where they can handle the responsibility of having a child.

Other issues are also related to abortion, and Bush needs to change his policies on those issues to help prevent abortions.

Daga can be reached at ndaga@campustimes.org.



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