Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Esther Kaplan's Nation article about the Bush administration's efforts to channel money to far-right organizations (while defunding "radical" "left-wing" organizations such as the Audubon Society and Planned Parenthood) points out something I didn't know:

... Bush has sent ... $6.1 million in grants--some as large as $800,000--to "crisis pregnancy centers," which counsel young women not to abort. These abstinence grants have taken small, volunteer-run organizations and turned them into substantial institutions; one crisis pregnancy center in Boston, A Woman's Concern, received a $488,000 grant that allowed the group to bump its staff up from two to twelve. (By contrast, one lone federal abstinence grant has gone to a Planned Parenthood clinic during Bush's reign, for $127,000.) "Basically, they have created an industry," says SIECUS spokesperson Adrienne Verrilli.

A Woman's Concern has a pretty slick Web site -- so slick you might not spot the agenda at first (which is clearly the point). In addition to steering women away from abortion (and warning women about something called Post Abortion Stress Syndrome -- a link is provided to this "fact sheet" on the syndrome, sponsored by Heritage House, purveyor of religious-conservative products such as little rubbery-looking fetal model sets), A Woman's Concern also spreads lies about STDs ("Condoms only protect against HIV/AIDS 85% of the time," a "fact" even the Bush-era CDC debunks).

Meanwhile, Alas, a Blog and Body and Soul recently quoted this recent op-ed piece -- by Glen Harold Stassen, an abortion opponent -- which notes that the number of abortions has actually increased in the presidency of W., God's Other Son:

In the decade before Bush became President, the number of abortions in the United States fell from 1,610,000 to 1,330,000. That is a decline of 17.4 percent over the 1990s, an average decrease of 1.7 percent per year. (The data come from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.)

Enter Bush in 2001. One would expect the abortion rate to continue its course downward. Instead, the opposite happened.

Three states have posted several years of recent statistics through 2003: Kentucky, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Here's what happened to their abortion rates: Kentucky's increased by 3.2 percent from 2000 to 2003. Michigan's increased by 11.3 percent from 2000 to 2003. Pennsylvania's increased by 1.9 percent from 1999 to 2002.

I found 13 other states that reported statistics allowing comparison of abortion rates in 2001 and 2002. Here's what happened: Eight states saw an increase in their abortion rates: Arizona (+26.4 percent), Colorado (+67.4 percent), Idaho (+13.9 percent), Illinois (+0.9 percent), Missouri (+2.5 percent), South Dakota (+2.1 percent), Texas (+3.0 percent), and Wisconsin (+0.6 percent). Five states saw a decrease: Alabama (-9.8 percent), Florida (-0.7 percent), Minnesota (-4.4 percent), Ohio (-4.4 percent), and Washington (-2.1 percent).

In total numbers, 7,869 more abortions were performed in these 16 states during Bush's second year in office than previously. If this trend reflects our nation, 24,000 more abortions were performed during Bush's second year in office than the year before (or three years before in the first three states). Had the previous trends continued, 28,000 fewer abortions should have occurred each year of the Bush era. All in all, probably 52,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than expected from the earlier trends. ...

What's up? More poverty, more joblessness, less health care. And more abortions follow? That's Stassen's theory, and I agree.


Kaplan's Nation article cites a lot of far-right organizations that have received federal funding on Bush's watch (Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation got a sex-education grant? Yup), but she apparently wrote before this happened:

The State Department has awarded an explicitly anti-feminist U.S. group part of a US$10 million grant to train Iraqi women in political participation and democracy.

The group, the Washington-based Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), will help implement the administration’s “Iraqi Women’s Democracy Initiative” ...

The organization was founded in 1991 by a number of prominent right-wing Republican women to act as a counterpoint to what they called the “radical feminism” of the National Organization for Women (NOW)...

Among the founders were Lynne Cheney, the spouse of Vice President Dick Cheney and former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities; Labor Secretary Elaine Chao; Kate O’Beirne, Washington editor of the right-wing “National Review” and a former senior vice president at the Heritage Foundation; and Midge Decter, the former co-chair with Donald Rumsfeld of the Committee for the Free World and one of the founders of neo-conservatism along with her spouse, former “Commentary” editor, Norman Podhoretz...

(More on IWF at the story link and also here and here. If you want to watch a recipient of your tax dollars engage in Kerry-bashing, try this and this. Thanks to Robert Sam Anson at the New York Observer for the tip.)

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