Polling off the Deep End

The anti-choice folks have come up with an amazing new strategy to win over the Democratic party. Having failed to change national polling numbers over the past quarter century on the abortion issue by their religious/moral arguments, they are now appealing to the self interest of the Democratic party: in short, their argument is that the Democrats are aborting themselves out of existence.

The prime mover behind this new ananity is Larry L. Eastland, the managing director of LEA Management Group LLC, a self described public policy research organization. The article appears at: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005277.

Eastland argues that since Democrats are more likely to have abortions than Republicans, these unborn children who aren’t alive to vote would have voted like their Democratic parents, thus hurting the Democrats at the polls, especially in close elections like 2000.

Eastland concludes:

“As liberals and Democrats fervently seek new voters and supporters through events, fund-raisers, direct mail and every other form of communication available, they achieve results minuscule in comparison to the loss of voters they suffer from their own abortion policies. It is a grim irony lost on them, for which they will pay dearly in elections to come.”

A critical examination of Eastland’s piece can be found at: http://www.churchofcriticalthinking.com/index.shtml.

Basically, Eastland’s “methodology” (if one can call it that) and analysis don’t hold water for a variety of reasons, including that his abortion research is flawed as to who exactly in a political sense are having abortions and whether children do vote like their parents. There is no credible research on either topic.

Eastland also fails to take note of the fact that the criminalization of abortion will have a modest effect on the number of abortions performed in the country–perhaps the abortion rate would be reduced by up to a third. I have not seen any analysis as to which women, politically speaking, would be deterred by the criminalization of abortion. I only know that poorer women would be the most adversely affected by having to resort to back alleys as in the old days.

But more disturbing than all this that Eastland is jumping into the same trough as those “researchers” who sought to prove that legalizing abortion reduced the nation’s crime rate 18 or 21 years later. There was a flurry of research a few years ago purporting to establish that since poorer (i.e. black) women had more abortions after Roe, that those unborn future criminals were not alive to commit crimes 18 or so years later. As with Eastland, the methodology was suspect, to say the least.

But more importantly, making abortion policy a means to a social or political end is a dangerous game. In effect, abortion becomes a code word for the number of births in a society, and abortion policy becomes a hidden means towards encouraging one group to have more births than other groups. “Cradle competition” was what the critics of the eugenics movement called it. My grandmother objected to cradle competition, as do I. Parents should have the children they want to meet their reproductive needs, not those of society. When societies, or groups within society, try to out breed other groups so that they can get political control, it can only lead to civil war, genocide or other disaster.

If Eastland is joking, he isn’t funny. If he is serious, I hope everyone ignores him.

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