The pious frauds in the Indiana legislature have once again displayed their utter lack of self-awareness or integrity.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the World’s Worst Legislature–or at least the Senate portion of that embarrassing body–has passed a measure that will criminalize “coerced abortion.”
The Indiana Senate approved new abortion regulations on Tuesday by a 38-10 vote in an attempt to limit “coerced” abortions.
Supporters say it’s a necessary layer of protection to prevent Hoosier women from being forced into an unwanted abortion and to catch human traffickers, while opponents say the requirements just further stigmatize abortions without actually helping women.
Now, I will grant you that the Indiana legislature is not known for exercises in logic or for considering that pesky thing called “evidence,” but if they were so inclined, they would discover that such coercion is far less likely to be exercised by a parent or male partner than by the reality of poverty.
Data compiled by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops–a very pro-life organization–is unequivocal:
Surveys indicate that low-income women are more against abortion than other women. Yet economic realities pressure many to act against their convictions. This has been a disturbing reality for a long time, and is getting worse.
In a 2005 study, 73% of women undergoing an abortion said not being able to afford a baby now was a reason for the abortion. That number rose to 81% for women below the federal poverty line. And while the abortion rate for American women declined by 8% between 2000 and 2008, among poor American women it increased by 18%.
It occurred to me that Catholic social teachings about poverty might have incentivized the bishops to cherry-pick the data. But no–research conducted by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute has come to the same conclusion, as has a study published in 2017 by the American Journal of Public Health.
Studies have determined that most women having abortions– fifty-nine percent of them in 2014 –had had at least one previous birth. But three-fourths of them were low income—49% living at less than the federal poverty level, and 26% living at 100–199% of the poverty level. Many also lacked health insurance, and in the U.S., even an uncomplicated childbirth is very expensive.
Bottom line, readily available data confirms that not being able to afford a child–or another child–is what impels (coerces) a large number of women to abort. So clearly, it’s the lawmakers who consistently vote for public policies that operate to keep women impoverished who are really guilty of “coercing” women to terminate their pregnancies.
The piety police in our legislature have chosen to ignore such “inconvenient” data. To the contrary; the GOP super-majority has doggedly pursued policies intended to keep all Hoosiers–especially female Hoosiers–poor. I’ve written previously about the ALICE reports issued by the Indiana United Ways. Those meticulous reports should embarrass lawmakers sufficiently to motivate change. But this is Indiana, so… no.
The same lawmakers who purport to be concerned about “coercion” of abortion have steadfastly refused to raise Indiana’s minimum wage, which has remained at 7.25/hour since 2008, despite copious evidence that full-time minimum wage work doesn’t even rise to the level of subsistence–and despite data from places that have raised the wage that convincingly rebuts the old argument that a higher minimum wage translates into fewer jobs.
Worse still, In Indiana, lots of folks don’t even get that 7.25 an hour–they’re exempt from the requirement. Employees who are exempt from this minimum wage include:
Tipped employees must be paid a cash minimum of $2.13 per hour, with a $5.12 tip credit to earn $7.25 an hour (including tips).
A special training minimum wage of $4.25 per hour can be paid to workers under 20 years of age for the first 90 days of employment.
Full-time high school and college students can be paid 85 percent of Indiana minimum wage ($6.16) if they are participating in a work-study program or working 20 or fewer hours per week.
And don’t even whisper about providing expanded or universal health care…why, in Indiana, that’s commie talk.
Genuinely “pro-life” lawmakers would support policies making it easier for low-income pregnant women to afford birthing and feeding the child they’re carrying. But that might cost money better spent on tax cuts and/or the priorities of their donors–so these phonies opt to vote for meaningless performative policies.
If this piece of garbage legislation becomes law, the “coercers” who should be criminally charged are the members of Indiana’s GOP super-majority. But thanks to gerrymandering, most of them won’t even lose their seats…