NARAL's election pitch: Remember, abortion is for the children

As election pitches go, this is … a very strange one indeed. NARAL, the political action group that fights to make the right to discard offspring in the womb as widespread as possible, asks voters to remember the children. At least some of them, anyway:

The link goes to a LA Times report on a study which claims that children whose mothers are discouraged from seeking abortions in later pregnancies end up deeper in poverty. Not mentioned, of course, is the status of the children who got discarded:

When women are denied abortions, it doesn’t just affect their lives, it also affects the lives of the kids they already have, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Pediatrics.

The new work finds that the young children of women who are refused access to an abortion are less likely to hit development milestones on time, and more likely to live in poverty, than the children of women who sought an abortion and got one.

“The research here is clear,” said Diana Greene Foster, a demographer at the University of California San Francisco who led the work. “Restricting abortion access doesn’t just harm women. It harms their children as well.”

First off, the “study” hardly seems rigorous. The target sample of the study, children from mothers who didn’t get an abortion they sought, only had 55 subjects — a laughably small sample from which to get reliable results under any other circumstances, except of course in promoting abortion. The control group (mothers who did get an abortion) had 293 children, which would still be rather small for reliable reporting.

The report then claims that 77% of the children in the control group met developmental milestones, while only 73% in the target group did. “Though small,” the LAT argues, “the difference was too large to be due to chance, according to the study,” which is utter nonsense. In case you’re wondering, the difference between 73% and 77% in the target sample would be two children. For all we know, two of the underperformers might have been from the same family, or perhaps that was the case for even more underperformers.

We’ll get back to that in a moment, but their other claims are similarly threadbare:

The authors also found that the existing children of women who were denied abortions were more likely to live in poverty than those who received an abortion (72% compared with 55%) and to be in a household that does not have enough money to cover basic needs like food, housing and transportation (87% to 70%.)

Respectively, the projected differences in the target group would be nine children and ten children. While those are a little more substantive than the developmental claims, the LA Times report on the study doesn’t include any more information on other environmental differences — economic levels, location, parental involvement, family structure, or any of a number of factors that play into both development and poverty.

“Science,” it ain’t, and it’s not even good social science. Would we accept that a 4% difference was too large to be due to chance in, say, a poll with a sample of 55 people? Put it in real terms: the Times claims that 60% of women seeking an abortion have one child already. Planned Parenthood alone does around 330,000 abortions a year. A sample of 55 as predictive of the 200,000 women every year in that position would produce a margin of error of thirteen percent at a confidence level of 95% or greater. Would the Los Angeles Times endorse such a poll and report with a straight face that a 4% difference was significant?

Of course not. The only reason this silly claim gets taken at face value here is that it advances The Abortion Narrative. It’s a set-up, not a “study” — it’s a dressed-up set of talking points made to impress people who never look under the hood.

If people want to know how abortion affects children — those not getting aborted, anyway — Cassy Fiano-Chesser wrote about that subject recently at Live Action News. Maybe we should remember this more than a cooked “study,” eh?

One sibling wrote of the pain they felt after learning of their mother’s abortion.

“We let it drop and I forgot about it,” they wrote. “But I had not really forgotten. I didn’t think about it consciously for years.” They continued that years later:

Suddenly I found myself thinking about my little brother! I became disoriented and lost control of the car for a moment as I burst into tears having lost him. I was astounded by my reaction, but I couldn’t shake the sadness and longing to have known him.

Other siblings have similar feelings.

She tells me that she speaks to him sometimes, in her mind and in her dreams. She wonders about the life they would have had growing up together. Would they have fought a lot? Would he have counseled her on boy matters? Would he have scolded her for her overzealous high-school drinking?

She believes that in this other world, she is already an aunt. Her brother would have met a girl. Married her. Had babies my friend would babysit and spoil shamelessly.

She feels cheated. She feels lonelier than an only child should feel.

Feelings of survivor’s guilt are not uncommon, according to Dr. Philip Ney, who says that sibling survivors have “lifelong struggles about existing” after learning that their survival is based on arbitrary decisions on whether a child was wanted or not.

Theresa Bonopartis helped found a ministry for sibling survivors after seeing the effect that news of her own abortion had on her surviving sons.


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