The Spectacle Blog

Zell’s Questionable Zinger

By on 3.12.07 | 6:18PM

Over at The Corner, there is some discussion of former Sen. Zell Miller's recent comments about legal abortion causing a birth dearth responsible for military shortages, Social Security's looming insolvency, and a labor market dependent on illegal immigration. In my view, these arguments are a distraction from the pro-life position that unborn children are human beings with a right not to be killed. If I did not believe that to be the case, I would not find most abortion restrictions to be justified -- even if we faced a demographic crisis like Russia's, I might explore natalist policies instead.

As it happens, Miller is wrong about the demographic impact of legal abortion in the U.S. By some estimates, 75 percent of the fetuses aborted since Roe would not have been conceived in the absence of abortion. The increase in conception rates is believed to exceed the reduction in birth rates. There isn't much reason to assume there would be 45 million more Americans if abortion were illegal. Judging from the comments thread on the post I linked above, many people who disagree with Miller on abortion aren't much better informed on the issue.

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