Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Another Medal for Carter

The New York Review of Books has a good review of Jimmy Carter’s latest book, Our Endangered Values: American’s Moral Crisis. And the review takes on even more meaning after reading about the anti-abortion protestors that marched through Washington yesterday.

In his book, Jimmy Carter talks about how anti-abortion advocates care about making abortion illegal without also being willing to make abortions more rare. A perfect example of this is a t-shirt on one of the protestors, "Sex is good, the pill is not."

While I can understand someone’s aversion to abortion, I don’t understand how they also try to limit access to contraceptives and sex education. Here is a great quote from Jimmy Carter’s book as published in the NYRB:

Canadian and European young people are about equally active sexually, but, deprived of proper sex education, American girls are five times as likely to have a baby as French girls, seven times as likely to have an abortion, and seventy times as likely to have gonorrhea as girls in the Netherlands. Also, the incidence of HIV/ AIDS among American teenagers is five times that of the same age group in Germany.... It has long been known that there are fewer abortions in nations where prospective mothers have access to contraceptives, the assurance that they and their babies will have good health care, and at least enough income to meet their basic needs.

I don’t get the impression from pro-life activists that they actually feel much compassion towards the unborn, and even less compassion once the child is born. And I am not just talking about crude jokes referring to coat-hangers. There are rarely calls to increase funding for child services but many calls to end, or reduce funding for, welfare programs like WIC. If this movement encompassed a whole spectrum of improving the lives of the innocent, then maybe I could see their cause as just.