Sunday, June 03, 2007

How many pregnancies are really "unwanted"?

Naomi Schaefer Riley reveals a dirty little secret about the abortion debate: For the most part, unwanted pregnancies do not happen because of a lack of "sex education", or a lack of "abstinence education". In fact, a good many of these "unwanted" pregnancies are not really unwanted:

Maybe the answer is obvious: Women get pregnant because they want to have babies. As Kay S. Hymowitz, author of "Marriage and Caste in America," puts it, "There isn't really a bright line between wanted and unwanted pregnancies." There are plenty of women who become careless about birth control on purpose.

Whether they're suburban professionals with two sons who really want a daughter and hope to "convince" hubby for a third try with a "mistake", or poor inner-city women who hope their boyfriends will stay around if there is a child in the picture, women will often subvert their better judgment to fulfill a biological urge.

This is not the sort of sentiment that sits well with the leftist feminists, who have a dogma that women are *always* the ones thinking with their heads instead of their hormones. But according to the Guttmacher Institute, there are about three million unintended pregnancies in the U.S. every year, and six in 10 U.S. women having abortions are already mothers. More than half intend to have (more) children in the future. These ladies know exactly how one gets pregnant, and how one does not.

...A disproportionate number of poor women, it turns out, account for those 1.3 million abortions every year. But this is not because, as (the "sex educators") might argue, they are disproportionately uneducated when it comes to sex and birth control. It's because, having decided to "unintentionally" get pregnant, they quickly realize that having a baby is not feasible. Whereas the suburban married professional might have to stretch her family's income a bit further to make room for an unplanned third child, the poor single woman might find herself without a man in her life four months into her pregnancy and determine that raising a child by herself just isn't an option.

(The "abstinence educators") could conclude that the poor woman simply needs a stronger education in values. But that is not quite right, either. However unfortunate her decision to abort, the poor woman probably knows that it would be better for everyone involved if her child were raised in a stable two-parent household. She just hoped that she would have one in time. Education, it seems, can do only so much.

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