I know how she feels

Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee is upset that Elena Kagan once wrote, of the 1980 election,

Even after the returns came in, I found it hard to conceive of the victories of these anonymous but Moral Majority-backed opponents of Senators Church, McGovern, Bayh and Culver, these avengers of ‘innocent life’ and the B-1 Bomber, these beneficiaries of a general turn to the right and a profound disorganization on the left.

Johnson asks, “Was Ms. Kagan so dismissive of the belief that unborn children are members of the human family that she felt it necessary to put the term innocent life in quote marks, or does she have another explanation?”

I don’t know if Kagan has another explanation, but I do. Johnson would do well to read the rest of the phrase. “…these avengers of ‘innocent life’ and the B-1 Bomber,” Kagan wrote. Are B-1 Bombers incapable of killing the innocent? And are the lives of the innocent, whoever they even are, the only ones worth defending?

I’m sure that Elena Kagan doesn’t hold the belief that unborn children are members of the human family. Maybe she is unduly dismissive of that belief; I wouldn’t be surprised. But I think this quote is about contempt, not for the pro-life position itself, but for the all too narrow definition of “life” covered by that label.

Guttmacher: Abortion has become more concentrated among poor women

The US may be a nation of unimaginable wealth, but its poorest women and children are made to live in quite another country, one of constrained resources and alternatives. And here are some of the real-life results:

The proportion of abortion patients who were poor increased by almost 60%—from 27% in 2000 to 42% in 2008 […].

The growing concentration of abortion among women with incomes below the federal poverty line likely reflects a combination of factors. Between 2000 and 2008, the proportion of women in the overall population who were poor increased by 25%. And a Guttmacher study published in the Fall of 2009 showed that the deep economic recession may also have played a role, as financial concerns led more women to want to delay childbearing or limit the number of children they have.

(Guttmacher Institute, Abortion Has Become More Concentrated Among Poor Women)

Not only are poor women less likely than more affluent women to be able to afford to raise a child without assistance, they are also less likely to be able to afford health care, including both prenatal/childbirth care and access to prescription contraception. One of the key reasons that women who use oral contraceptives sometimes miss pills (and are therefore more likely to become pregnant) is that they put off filling prescriptions for financial reasons.

We hope that the health care bill recently passed by Congress can help counteract these pressures on lower-income women.

(Crossposted to All Our Lives)