Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rush Limbaugh on Abortion

You probably can predict the kind of stuff he might say, but here it is:

I would only have one small nitpick with former Senator Zeller [sic] over this: How many of these 45 million children who have been aborted would be Democrats, would be the offspring of Democrats? And as such, how many of them would have jobs? As such, how many of them would even think of joining the military? I know they're some Republican liberal babes in there that [have] gone out and had abortions, too, but the vast majority of them are liberals. This way if you look at the demographics of the future, you could say liberals are aborting themselves out of the majority if current trends hold. Everybody knows that's who's having the majority of these things.

Interesting, by the way, that Rush himself has not provided us with a single known offspring. And yes, I can point that out, because he himself crossed the line first.

But then to the interesting part of the quote, the last sentence: "Everybody knows that's who's having the majority of these things." Well, I don't know that, for one example, and I can't quite see how to make a study that would come to Rush's conclusions. Whenever someone says "everybody knows" my ears perk up and my research teeth sharpen themselves and roll out from their sockets, because there are very few things that everybody truly knows. So let's see why Rush might be mistaken.

His fallacy (phallacy?) appears to be the common one of thinking that if being pro-choice is a liberal stance then most abortions will be performed on liberal women. This ignores the old saw about there being three cases where most everybody agrees that abortion should be legal: in the case of rape or incest, when the mother's life is threatened, and when it's my abortion or my wife's or girlfriend's abortion we are talking about. Add to that the possibility that liberal women might be more likely to use birth control in the first place, not being religiously constrained to aim for abstinence, and it might well be the case that liberal women have less need for abortions . Then there is the obvious fact that a woman might be for abortion rights in general without wanting to use that option herself.

I suspect that most women who have abortions are apolitical rather than politically conservative or liberal, and when that isn't the case I find it hard to imagine how to do research on the political views of the women. Would someone answer questions about voting patterns at the abortion clinic? The substitute measures for this, such as calculating abortion rates by the majority political views of the state they take place in fail to measure the number of women who come from other states with fewer abortion clinics. Interstate traffic.

Then note something very interesting. None of this tells us anything about the political stances of the men whose sperm was involved in these aborted pregnancies. It could well be that all those men were wingnut pro-lifers, and if that's the case perhaps it is the conservatives who are being made extinct. We don't know, do we?