Wednesday, January 19, 2005



I subscribe to an email newsletter, "Best of the Web Today," by James Taranto at Mr. Taranto has frequently discussed what he dubs "The Roe Effect"

Regular readers of this column know that for some time we have been pushing a pet theory about the political effect of abortion. We refer not to the issue of abortion but to the practice, and our theory is that abortion is making America more conservative than it otherwise would be.

We base this on two assumptions. First, that liberal and Democratic women are more likely to have abortions. Second, that children's political views tend to reflect those of their parents--not exactly, of course, and not in every case, but on average. Thus abortion depletes the next generation of liberals and eventually makes the population more conservative. We call this the Roe effect, after Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.
Today, Mr. Taranto has a very interesting account of how Planned Parenthood, "'the nation's most frequent provider of abortions, is performing more of the procedures than ever . . . and relying increasingly on the revenue generated from abortions, according to its Fiscal Year 2004 annual report.'"

Taranto cites a story by CNS News, which observes that "a survey of newspaper stories regarding the closing of 11 of the organization's clinics during Fiscal Year 2004 revealed a common cause," which is that demand for abortions in certain areas, Texas, Ohio and Indiana (all of which, Taranto notes, were carried by President Bush) is declining. Here's the money quote from the CNS article (emphasis added):
"While we recognize the need for affordable family planning services in the Copper Country," said Scott Blanchard, executive director of PPNM [Planned Parenthood of Northern Michigan], "our Houghton center simply hasn't served enough clients to justify the monthly costs to keep it going."

Closing the facility was a difficult decision, Blanchard noted in a press release, in part because "those who oppose Planned Parenthood's presence in Houghton will undoubtedly see this as a victory.

"However, this was strictly a business decision," he said.
Dwell on that for a moment. Planned Parenthood has a vested financial interest in performing abortions. I wonder how much Planned Parenthood gets from adoptions.

Taranto concludes: "This suggests that the demand for abortion is becoming more concentrated in areas that vote Democratic. In other words, the Roe effect is accelerating." I hope so.