Good News Everybody!

Following this post, the awards just keep coming in for Sadly, No!:

The fact that I included the topics of teen pregnancy (not births) and abortions in my list seemed to irritate really rabid fans of abortion [that’s us! –S,N!] They did not challenge the porn statement as I’m sure many of them had to put down their magazines just to send me their heated hate mail.

There is (or are as we like to say) bad news however. The bad news is that Kevin can’t read beyond a 6th grade level. To wit:

Please note also that I did not imply that Clinton’s years set NEW records…

What Kevin originally wrote was:

It was no secret that condom use in America under her husband’s leadership was at an all time … er … high. A lot of things were: the flow of pornography, teen pregnancy, abortion

So, abortions were at an “all time high” which is totally different than “setting new records,” which, somehow, doesn’t mean what everyone else thinks it means.

Kevin also throws out this one in his defense:

It should also be noted that the majority of the drop-off in the numbers of abortions between the 91-98 comparison and the 99-2000 was mostly among white women, which experienced significant drop offs. Averages amongst African American women showed a slight drop but stayed on average quite close to previous levels, and amongst Hispanic women – the drop off was nearly immeasurable.

Kevin linked to the data he “used” when making up his facts, so we can offer these actual numbers (pages 7-11 of this PDF file):

* In 1991, the abortion rate per 1000 women (Hispanic) was 35.8 In 1999 it was 31.4. Immeasurable? (1998’s was 31.6.)
* In 1991, the abortion rate per 1000 women (Black) was 65.5. In 1999 it was 57.2. Can you not measure that?
* For white women, the 1991 abortion rate was 18.1, and in 1999 11.9.

What we see is a drop across all groups, while the drop in abortion rates for white women sinks the overall rate by a great deal, presumably on the basis of the fact that there are more of them than there are of the others. (Crazy thing that.)

Kevin went one step further and tried to play clever pants by giving average total number of abortions per year for the 1991-1998 period. Those averages are fairly constant, and we hope you can see where this is going. Given population growth, even lower rates of abortion can produce fairly stable totals. [Besides, who the fuck adds total numbers of abortions over a 7-year period to give a bizarro average? Could it be because we would see lower totals with every passing year? We don’t know, but we wouldn’t put it past Kevin to do just that.]

Kevin’s response also added a lot of stuff about how the CDC and the FDA [?] do bad things, a link to a newspaper article that offers an unsourced claim that abortions were at an all time high, sorry “experienced their peak” in 1994-1995, and, knowing that he he has been beaten (senseless) threw this in at the end:

All of this to get to the ultimate point of the column.

Sure sounds like someone is trying to play the Besides That Game.?

Besides the fact that there is no factual basis for the assertions in my column, my point remains valid.


PS: Bonus Wanker Points: Kevin links to an op-ed written by a fellow at Concerned Women for America and, because it was published in the Knight Ridder-owned Tallahassee Democrat, states:

On top of that (according to Knight-Ridder/Tribune) Teen Births (not pregnancies) experienced their peak in 1994-95.

There are, (or is as we like to say,) no words for that.


Comments: 15


The problem, Seb, is that you’re a member of the reality-based community. You think facts actually mean something.

The wingers don’t have that problem. If the facts don’t support their position, they lie. If they’re caught out, as this guy was, they’ll Distort (the meaningless yearly averages), Attack (the claims that the CDC’s figures aren’t reliable), and Distract (the ad hominems and the Besides That Game?).

Haven’t we learned by now that you can’t respond to a simple, powerful argument (the Clintons are evil, Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat, Social Security will be bankrupt in three weeks) with a set of numbers and a detailed explanation?

Demagogues, that’s what we need! Where have all the left-wing demagogues gone?


Ah, good point, Janice, actual facts aren’t going to impress anyone anymore. Per Lakoff, when you have a framework for seeing the world, and you come across some facts that challenge that framework, the facts bounce off and the framework stays. The tinfoil hats help, no doubt…

Still, if we all keep referring to W as The Abortion President at every available opportunity… if we can get the three progressives who can still get their face on TV for five seconds to keep hammering the point home… then maybe, just maybe, we’ll get, shit, six or seven people to reconsider their positions. Factor that down through the Diebold shredder and that’s a four-vote swing in our favor!!

Re-Elect Kerry-Gore!!!


Kevin concludes: On some level I must have made my point because the obsession over the passing sarcastic comment of what was “high” under Hillary’s husband broke the spirit of those who believed in the Condom King.

Yes, Kevin indeed made his point, which was that if we all clap our hands and really BELIEVE, then Bill Clinton can be the Condom King and George Bush can be the Virgin King, and we can all live in a golden age where nobody has sex and babies appear under cabbage leaves. Damn you, Seb, for not believing hard enough.


“They didn’t challenge the porn statement”? As I recall several of us did, despite the fact that the phrase “flow of pornography” is too squishy to walk on.


What makes this so pathetic is that his deceptions are so obvious, yet he clearly seems to think that he’s being clever. I’ve never heard of him before, so I’m not sure if he’s a smart guy who’s become overly accustomed to fooling easy marks, or if he’s an idiot who could rise up the right-wing ranks because it’s so easy. Either way, it makes me feel better knowing that the enemy is made of guys like him. Rove I worry about. This guy is a putz. It’s like looking across the battlefield and seeing Jerry Lewis and Ernest P. Worrell leading the charge. Almost makes you feel bad when you blow em away.

I like his “proof” that the drop in abortion was solely due to the last two years of Clinton’s term, which was achieved by comparing an average of the seven year period (which included Bush Sr’s term) with the last two years. But if something is a trend, the last two years will CERTAINLY be better than the preceding 6. If it’s a trend, the last two years should be better than the TWO preceding years. That’s what’s so great about trends. And if there was a trend of lower abortions…

Also, that he gave a chart comparing abortions over a 32 year period. But, for no apparent reason besides deception, he decided to break these years up into periods of 8 years, 4 years, 4 years, 7 years, and 2 years. Who in the hell can judge anything over those oddball periods? I suppose it would make sense if the data suggested that those particuarly periods have similar trends, but they don’t. His periods don’t reflect trends or presidential terms, they were organized to decieve. In fact, the only reason he used the pre-90’s number was to clutter up his chart and make it seem like he’s comparing periods of equal value. Yet it is SO OBVIOUS! What a dummy.

And the thing is, I don’t give a shit if he lies to me. I expect that. It’s that he had to work the numbers so hard to prove his point that he MUST HAVE KNOWN it was wrong. He MUST know it. But he has to continue to fool the rubes, as they’re his only target. He knew that his numbers wouldn’t fool us, he wrote that crap to fool his readers. I just hope he gets paid well.


What a dope — who looks at porn in magazines anymore? We get our boobies through the Internets.

And how do you measure the “flow of pornography” anyway? Money shots per capita? G.D.P. (Gross Double Penetration)?


Classically, the flow of porn would be the rate of change of porn particles (magazines, videos, dvds, dirty decks of cards, erotic massage books, novelty swizzle sticks, etc) in a given space over a given period of time.

However, with the rise of the internets, and the astounding flow of pornography over internet lines, this definition has to be updated.


Seb–yes, indeed, abortions were trending down throughout the Clinton Adminsitration. You can see it in handy graphical format here:


What a deeply ridiculous man. But you’ve got to love his last incoherent words as he sinks beneath the surface of his own sea of spittle:

On some level I must have made my point because the obsession over the passing sarcastic comment of what was “high” under Hillary’s husband broke the spirit of those who believed in the Condom King.

Glug, glug, glug, Kevin.


I thought the flow of porn was measured in cubic litres per second/per second, at least, that’s how it’s measured in the federal states of metric land. The old imperial scale was penises per Anne Coulter per second/per second, rounded down to the nearest ladyboy, of course.


The reasoning behind Kevin’s claims, I think, is as follows:

1. Bill Clinton is the walking embodiment of evil. (This is axiomatic, and requires no proof or elucidation.)

2. Since Bill Clinton is the walking embodiment of evil, the fact that he was allowed to be president for eight years was an unrelieved catastrophe for our great nation.

3. Since Clinton’s presidency was so unremittingly awful, this fact will obviously be reflected in every conceivable social indicator, such as abortion rates, teen pregnancy rates, cubic liters of porn per capita, etc.

4. Now just give me a minute while I figure out how to make the actual numbers fit my assumptions.


Where have all the left-wing demagogues gone?

They’re fat.
And I’m sure I read somewhere that they lie constantly, although I’m not sure exactly how…


George “Walks-on-Water” Bush, unlike “Ba’al” Clinton, has clearly enacted initiatives designed to cut down on Cubic Liters of Porn per Capita; to wit, reclassifying the measure to Cubic Gallons of Porn per Capita; resulting in a reduction of almost 75%!


really rabid fans of abortion [that’s us! –S,N!]

Oh no you don’t, Sadly! I saw abortion back when they were nobody, still playing shitty little dive bars. And I own every vinyl release, right down to those UK import 7″ singles that have been out of print for years! I bow to NO ONE in my rabidity! You’re just frontin’!


In pre-democratic Romania, they had a leader named Ceausescu, a Soviet style Communist dictator, who decided it was the duty of every Romanian woman to bear five children so they could build the Romanian State. So they eliminated birth control, they eliminated sex education, and they outlawed abortions.

Once a month, Romanian women were rounded up at their workplaces. They were taken to a government-controlled health clinic, told to disrobe while they were standing in line. They were then examined by a government doctor with a government secret police officer watching. And if they were pregnant, they were closely monitored to make sure you didn’t do anything to that pregnancy.

If a woman failed to conceive, her family was fined a celibacy tax of up to 10 percent of their monthly salary. The terrible result was that many children who were born were immediately abandoned, and left to be raised in government-run orphanages.

Now go to the other side of the world and the opposite side of this debate. In China, local government officials used to monitor women’s menstrual cycles and their use of contraceptives because they had the opposite view — no more than one child. If you wanted to have a child in China, you needed to get permission or face punishment. After you had your one allotted child, in some parts of China, you could be sterilized against your will or forced to have an abortion.

So whether it was Romania saying you had to have children for the good of the state, or China saying you can only have one child for the good of the state, the government was dictating the most private and important decisions we make as families and as women. Now with all of this talk about freedom as the defining goal of America, let’s not forget the importance of the freedom of women to make the choices that are consistent with their faith and their sense of responsibility to their family and themselves.

I heard President Bush talking about freedom and yet his Administration has acted to deny freedom to women around the world through a global gag policy, which has left many without access to basic reproductive health services.

This decision, which is one of the most fundamental, difficult and soul searching decisions a woman and a family can make, is also one in which the government should have no role. I believe we can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women. Often, it’s a failure of our system of education, health care, and preventive services. It’s often a result of family dynamics. This decision is a profound and complicated one; a difficult one, often the most difficult that a woman will ever make. The fact is that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

As many of you know, I have worked on these issues throughout my career and I continue to work on them in the Senate. One of the most important initiatives I worked on as First Lady and am proud to continue to champion in the Senate is the prevention of teen pregnancy. I worked alongside my husband who launched the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy in the mid-1990s. This organization, which has proven to be a tremendous success, was really was born out of my husband’s 1995 State of the Union address, which declared teenage pregnancy to be one of the most critical problems facing our country. We set a national goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies by one-third over the decade. We knew, though, that this goal could not be reached with a government-only effort. That’s why we invited private sector sponsors to join the board and use their organizations to send a powerful message to teens to be responsible about their futures.

Now back when the National Campaign was getting off the ground, I actually came to New York City and gave a speech before high-profile members of the media — essentially challenging the media to embrace this issue and use its power to send strong, clear messages to teenagers to be responsible. Back then I used the phrase “teenage celibacy” over and over. Of course, no one talks about “teenage celibacy” anymore, but the message remains relevant and necessary today. I think it’s a synonym for abstinence.

The good news is that the National Campaign, which has nourished many new and fruitful partnerships like those with Time Warner and with the faith community, has helped achieve the goal that my husband set in his State of the Union in 1995. Between 1991 and 2003, the teen birth rate fell 32.5 percent to a record low. The National Campaign has also conducted and disseminated some critical research on the important role that parents can play in encouraging their children to abstain from sexual activity.

So I’m very proud of the work of the National Campaign. We’ll be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and I will continue working with them to keep the number of unwanted pregnancies among our teenagers falling until we get to zero. But we have a long road ahead.

Today, even with the recent decline, 34% of teenage girls become pregnant at least once before their 20th birthday, and the U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any industrialized country. Children born to teen moms begin life with the odds against them. They are more likely to be of low-birth weight, 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade, and significantly more likely to be victims of abuse and neglect. And girls who give birth as teenagers face a long, uphill battle to economic self-sufficiency and pride. Clearly we do have our work cut out for us.

Research shows that the primary reason that teenage girls abstain is because of their religious and moral values. We should embrace this — and support programs that reinforce the idea that abstinence at a young age is not just the smart thing to do, it is the right thing to do. But we should also recognize what works and what doesn’t work, and to be fair, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of abstinence-only programs. I don’t think this debate should be about ideology, it should be about facts and evidence — we have to deal with the choices young people make not just the choice we wish they would make. We should use all the resources at our disposal to ensure that teens are getting the information they need to make the right decision.

We should also do more to educate and involve parents about the critical role they can play in encouraging their children to abstain from sexual activity. Teenagers who have strong emotional attachments to their parents are much less likely to become sexually active at an early age.

But we have to do more than just send the right messages and values to our children. Preventing unwanted pregnancy demands that we do better as adults to create the structure in which children live and the services they need to make the right decisions.

A big part of that means increasing access to family planning services. I have long been a strong supporter of Title X, the only federal program devoted solely to making comprehensive family planning services available to anyone interested in seeking them. Each year, approximately 4.5 million people receive health-care services at Title X-funded clinics. Nearly two-thirds of Title X clients come from households with incomes below the poverty level. And just to remind you, the poverty level is currently set for a family of three at $15,620. So where do these two-thirds of Title X clients go to receive the services they need? Unfortunately, despite the Clinton Administration working to obtain a 58% increase during the 1990s, the Bush Administration proposed level funding for Title X at $265 million for the 2003 and 2004 budgets, and Congress appropriated only $275 million in 2003. So even as our population has grown and the need has increased, the funding has remained stagnant. In fact, if Title X funding had increased at the rate of inflation from its FY 1980 funding level of $162 million, it would be at approximately $590 million now, but because its been held flat and we don’t even know yet what the next budget holds for Title X funding. Title X cannot keep pace with basic services, let alone meet the growing cost of diagnostic tests and new forms of contraception.

It’s also important that private insurance companies do their part to help reduce unwanted pregnancies. That is why I am a proud co-sponsor of the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage — the so-called EPICC. The legislation would require private health plans to cover FDA-approved prescription contraceptives and related medical services to the same extent that they cover prescription drugs and other outpatient medical services. This bill simply seeks to establish parity for prescription contraception. Thanks to so many of the people in this room and the advocates, the EPICC law is now in effect in New York State having been passed and signed in 2002. It’s a real role model for the nation. And it’s about equal rights and simple justice. After all, if insurance companies can cover Viagra, they can certainly cover prescription contraceptives.

Contraception is basic health care for women, and the burden for its expense cannot fall fully on all women, many who after all live below that poverty rate, and in many instances above it, but not by very much and have a hard time affording such prescriptions. Just think, an average woman who wants two children will spend five years pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and roughly 30 years trying to prevent pregnancy. As I said earlier, and you know so well, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancy in the industrialized world. Each year, nearly half of the six million pregnancies in this country are unintended, and more than half of all unintended pregnancies end in abortion.

The use of contraception is a big factor in determining whether or not women become pregnant. In fact, this is a statistic that I had not known before we started doing the research that I wanted to include in this speech, 7% of American women who do not use contraception account for 53% of all unintended pregnancies. So by preventing unintended pregnancy, contraception reduces the need for abortion. Improving insurance coverage of contraception will make contraception more affordable and reduce this rate of abortion. And expanding coverage and resources for Title X will do the same.

Another form of family planning that should be widely available to women is “Plan B,” Emergency Contraception. I agree with the scientists on the Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Panel who voted overwhelmingly that Plan B is safe and effective for over the counter use. And I worked to launch a GAO investigation into the process of denying Barr Laboratories’ application because I believe the decision was influenced more by ideology than evidence.

I am hopeful that the FDA will come to its senses and announce a new policy making Plan B available. Information about Plan B should be available over the counter, which is exactly what the FDA’s Advisory Committee recommended. It should also be made available — automatically — to women who are victims of sexual assault and rape. I have to confess that I never cease to be surprised but last week, I joined with 21 of my colleagues in sending a letter to the Director of the Office on Violence Against Women — that’s the name of the office at the Department of Justice — urging the Director to revise the newly-released first-ever national protocol for sexual assault treatment to include the routine offering of emergency contraception. Right now, this 130-page, otherwise comprehensive document fails to include any mention of emergency contraception, a basic tool that could help rape victims prevent the trauma of unintended pregnancies, avoid abortions, and safeguard their reproductive and mental health. Every expert agrees that the sooner Plan B is administered, the more effective it is. Once a woman becomes pregnant, emergency contraception obviously will have no effect.

Yet nowhere does the DOJ Protocol mention emergency contraception or recommend that it be offered to sexual assault victims. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, there are 15,000 abortions a year from rape. How is it possible that women who have been so victimized by violence can be victimized again by ideology? And how can we expect to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies if we lose this most obvious opportunity to help women who may have had an unwanted pregnancy physically forced upon them?

I hope that whatever one believes or whatever side of the aisle one is, in either the NY State Legislature or the Congress, or anywhere in our country, we all at least agree that the Department of Justice must immediately revise its protocol to include strong recommendations about emergency contraception.

And the final building block of our effort to increase women’s health includes ensuring that once women become pregnant, they have access to high-quality pre-natal care so that they can bring healthy children into the world.

One bill that provides a comprehensive approach to the problem of unintended pregnancies encapsulates many of these efforts. It’s called “The Putting Prevention First Act.” It provides a roadmap to the destination of fewer unwanted pregnancies — to the day when abortion is truly safe, legal, and rare. The Putting Prevention First Act, which I was proud to co-sponsor in the last Congress, increases funding for Title X; expands Medicaid family-planning services to provide access for more low-income women; ensures that health plans that cover prescription drugs also cover prescription contraceptives; funds emergency contraception public-education campaigns for doctors, nurses and women; ensures that hospital emergency rooms offer emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault; and establishes the nation’s first-ever federal sex-education program.

A very similar version of the Putting Prevention First Act is being introduced today, one of the first bills introduced by Minority Leader Harry Reid, to lay out the Democratic plan for women’s reproductive healthcare. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this bill and I will work very hard to see that it is enacted. Because I know we can make progress on these issues; the work of the Clinton Administration and so many others saw the rate of abortion consistently fall in the 1990’s. The abortion rate fell by one-fourth between 1990 and 1995, the steepest decline since Roe was decided in 1973. The rate fell another 11 percent between 1994 and 2000, from about 24 to 21 abortions for every 1,000 women of childbearing age.

But unfortunately, in the last few years, while we are engaged in an ideological debate instead of one that uses facts and evidence and commonsense, the rate of abortion is on the rise in some states. In the three years since President Bush took office, 8 states saw an increase in abortion rates (14.6% average increase), and four saw a decrease (4.3% average), so we have a lot of work still ahead of us.

I think it’s important that family planning advocates reach out to those who may not agree with us on everything to try to find common ground in those areas where, hopefully, emergency contraception, more funding for prenatal care and others can be a point of common ground.

As an advocate for children and families throughout my life, as a lawyer who occasionally represented victims of sexual assault and rape, as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, I know the difference that good information, good education, and good health care can make in empowering women and girls to make good decisions for themselves.

So in addition to the work that lies ahead of us here at home I would just put in a word for the work that we should be doing around the world. It has been tragic to see so much of the good work that provided family planning assistance and resources to physicians and nurses to deliver to women in places where there was no family planning, where in fact abortion was the only means of contraception. But during the 90’s we reached out to women and girls in other parts of the world. When my husband rescinded the global gag rule we began to work on behalf of women’s health, though the infant mortality and maternal mortality rate is way too high in so many parts of the world. When I was in Afghanistan last year, I met with a group of women and their number one plea was what can the United States Government do to help save the lives of Afghan women who have one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world? Is there some way that more education could be brought in so that women could possibly have more control over their own lives? In places I’ve traveled I’ve cut the ribbons on clinics – that were partially funded by money from our government and money from private givers in our country — that for the first time would provide the full range of health services to women and girls. Because of the reinstatement of the global gag rule under President Bush that work has stopped. Those resources have dried up. The lives of so many women and girls have been put at risk. We can do better not only here at home but around the world.

Yes we do have deeply held differences of opinion about the issue of abortion. I for one respect those who believe with all their hearts and conscience that there are no circumstances under which any abortion should ever be available. But that does not represent even the majority opinion within the anti-abortion community. There are exceptions for rape and for incest, for the life of the mother. Those in the pro-choice community who have fought so hard for so many years, not only to protect Roe v. Wade and the law of the land, but to provide the resources that would effectuate that constitutional right, believe just as strongly the point of view based on experience and conscience that they have come to. The problem I always have is what is the proper role of government in making this decision? That is why I started with two stories about Romania and China. When I spoke to the conference on women in Beijing in 1995 — ten years ago this year — I spoke out against any government interfering with the reproductive rights and decisions of women and families.

So we have a lot of experience from around the world that is a cautionary tale about what happens when a government substitutes its opinion for an individual’s. There is no reason why government cannot do more to educate and inform and provide assistance so that the choice guaranteed under our constitution either does not ever have to be exercised or only in very rare circumstances. But we cannot expect to have the kind of positive results that all of us are hoping for to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions if our government refuses to assist girls and women with their health care needs, a comprehensive education and accurate information.

So my hope now, today, is that whatever our disagreements with those in this debate, that we join together to take real action to improve the quality of health care for women and families, to reduce the number of abortions and to build a healthier, brighter more hopeful future for women and girls in our country and around the world.


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