Religiosity doesn’t influence abortion rates

(Strangely enough, this girl is more likely to have an actual abortion than her secular counterpart.)

If you’ve ever wondered just why the religious right hates abortion so much, maybe this new study published in LiveScience can shed some light. According to the June issue of The Journal of Health and Social Behavior, young unmarried women graduating from private religious schools are actually more likely to get abortions than their secular counterparts.

This study isn’t really all that surprising. Women going to religious private schools are more likely to engage in risky sex, having lacked the proper sexual education needed to make adult decisions about contraception. Rather than learning about condoms, the pill, or the myriad products available that allow humans the opportunity to carefully control their reproductive systems, these girls get the laughable ‘education’ that waiting until marriage is the best way to avoid pregnancies.  Because the religious right basically absconds from their duty of teaching women about all of their options, a large number of them will have no other choice than to terminate their unwanted pregnancies. If you hate abortion so much guys, you might want to take another look at your sexual education policy. Clearly, it’s making the problem worse.

I suspect this study will simply be ignored; after all, it’s not as though religions have a good track record of listening to reality. They would much rather live in their little insular bubbles where good Christians girls still have virtue, still wait until marriage to have sex, and spend their lives barefoot and preggers. It doesn’t matter that this is an obvious lie. It’s a comforting one, and that’s all they need.

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Comments (9)

  • avatar

    kim

    i worked for about six years in an organization that served women and children escaping domestic violence. in that role, i once accompanied a woman who had left her batterer when she was 2 months pregnant and she chose to terminate the pregnancy. a huge group from the catholic church was protesting outside when we arrived. they didn’t know about the ex-boyfriend who held a gun to her head, literally, and raped her. they didn’t know about the threats he had made. the dog he had killed in front of her. the failure of the police in her locality to do anything. they saw her as a baby killer. it was terrible. having an abortion was not an easy decision for her, but it was HER decision. funny enough, as i waited in the seating area during her initial exam, i spoke with the VERY kind and friendly people who worked at the clinic. i asked what was most surprising about their jobs. the woman at the desk, without skipping a beat, said: “the number of catholics who come in for abortions.” that’s right. catholics. on the anonymous questionnaire that the clinic gives its patients, the majority (she guessed 80%) identified as catholic. hmmmmm.

  • avatar

    Aaron

    Jake this is the second article today where you used the word ‘worst’ instead of ‘worse’, and it was in the title of the other!

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    thanks for the heads up. It’s a common mistake on my part.

  • avatar

    truth finder

    Some visitors to this site might be skeptical about Christianity or might have left Christianity due to some reasons. In response to your quest for the truth, here I post an article on “why I keep Christianity”. If you as a believer or nonbeliever feel abandoned, disappointed, angry, burdened, weary, guilty and afraid, you are missing the most important point of a truly fulfilled life. You were born for much better than who you are now. You were born for a butterfly instead of a caterpillar which you may live now. You are missing the full potential as a true free human being created and loved by God. “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)”, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32)”. As I have read most your articles from the beginning to the end with patience, I hope you would also have enough patience to read mine to the end to be a fair deal. Although I have not taken any formal courses on theology, my personal experiences with God would be helpful for you to understand some key aspects of true Christianity. As you will see soon after reading my article, true Christianity is not about keeping man-made rules, rituals and traditions out of duty or out of fear of punishment. Christianity is also not about seeking peace, comfort and happiness through wishful thinking. Christianity is all about a loving relationship with the Creator of the universe and our very souls, experiencing explosive joy, thanks and freedom here and for eternity.

    I became a Christian in my late twenties during my graduate study in theoretical physics. Before then I was an atheist and believed in myself. To set a stage for the whole story, let me start my story by discussing a fundamental difference between human beings and animals. I think the difference between them is more than just higher intelligence. Human beings ask self-awareness questions such as “Who am I? Where am I from and where am I going? What is the meaning of my life?” I do not think animals ask these kinds of questions to themselves. If you think that they do and that we just do not know it, that is your belief. If you think human beings and animals are about the same except higher intelligence, it is your belief. But my belief is that there is a fundamental difference between them. As science and technology advance further, future supercomputers could solve problems much faster and efficiently than the smartest person in the world and their IQ (Intelligent Quotient) could reach 1000 or 10000. No matter how intelligent those supercomputers could be, still they will not be able to ask themselves “Who am I (computer)? Where am I (computer) from and where am I (computer) going? What is the meaning of my (computer’s) life?” Self-awareness and intelligence are quite different matters. What makes this self-awareness that human beings have but animals do not? I believe that human beings have a soul while animals do not. Where did it come from? I believe that it is from God, because apparently it is not from materialistic things. Since a soul is a spirit, there is no way to prove or disprove its existence by a scientific way for which everybody agrees. You may argue that a soul appears by random chance or does not even exist in the first place. Just like I cannot prove its existence beyond several pieces of circumstantial evidence by a scientific way, you cannot also disprove its existence by the same way. If you think it does not exist, it is not a fact but your belief. But my belief is that there is a fundamental difference between human beings and animals because the former have a soul but the latter do not, and that the soul is from God.

    Because a soul, God and heaven are all spiritual matters, it appears impossible to know and experience the spiritual world by the same way as we do for materialistic things such as science. In science we do the appropriate experiments to prove or disprove a proposed theory or hypothesis. But because the spiritual matters do not exist in the materialistic world, they can be known and experienced in ways other than scientific ones. As just one of many examples in our everyday life, think about the unconditional love of a mother for her child. How would you know or measure her unconditional love for her child before observing or experiencing its effects yourself? By studying the structure of her heart or of her neurons in the brain? I do not think you can do it this way. Although we cannot detect or measure its presence by scientific ways, we are sure there exists that kind of special love in a mother. The list goes on such as honesty, hope and integrity. Science has done a lots of things for human beings, but there are still some areas we cannot understand and approach by scientific ways because they do not exist in the materialistic world. Due to its nature, the presence of the spiritual world can be known by its effects or its fruits, or in other words by interactions with other beings. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the spirit (John 3:8)”.

    Then can we know how the spiritual world works? Many people try to understand and approach it by speculation. They theorize, conjecture and guess it. They think that God should be the way they want it or do things the way they want it. On one hand, some group of people create their own Genie whom they worship and fear according to their man-made rules, rituals and traditions. On the other hand, other group of people are disappointed with their Genie because their Genie does not answer their prayers the way they want it. But there is an alternative to speculation about the knowledge of the spiritual world. Revelation through the Bible. I believe the Bible is God’s words written by the hands of people who were inspired by God. Because it was written and transcribed by human hands over many years, there could be some mistakes in words and phrases. But the core message, who God really is and what he has done such as the salvation of human beings from sin through faith in the Messiah, remains the same. If you think the every word of the Bible is a fabrication by human beings for controlling other human beings, this is again your belief. I advise you to visit http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/authenticity.html for more objective information about the Bible. Since the true characters of a being are revealed only through interactions with other beings, in the old testament God chose a particular group of people (Israel) as an object lesson to show the whole world who he really is. Through the relationship of God with the people of Israel, we come to know and understand the true characters of God, which could be quite different from your Genie whom you might have created by speculation. God is the creator of the universe including our souls, unconditionally loves human beings created in his image, at the same time he is also just and righteous. But the loving relationship between the creator and creatures was broken by our sin of disobeying God and following the evil suggestions of Satan. As a result sin entered into the hearts of human beings and we were separated from the love of God, because God and sin are completely incompatible. But God still desired to have a relationship with human beings so he devised an animal sacrifice where the blood of animals (without defect) was shed to pay the penalty of our sins in our behalf. Since God is just and righteous, the consequence of sins must be paid for complete forgiveness. Here is an easy example to understand the justice and righteousness of God.

    Suppose a thief stole a billon dollars from a bank, spent all of them, and later was caught. Is it just and right for the judge to release the thief if he confesses his crime with sincere remorse? No, then the justice would not be exercised the way it should be. The appropriate consequence for his sin must be paid by the thief or somebody else, and that is the justice everybody agrees. The animal sacrifice devised by God reveals the characters of God, both his righteousness (The consequence of our sins must be paid) and his love (The consequence of our sins is paid by animals instead of us who committed the sins). In spite of God’s continuous forgiveness of their sins through the animal sacrifice, God’s people (Israel) again returned to the sin and rebellion after a short moment of remorse, revealing the persistent nature of sin in human beings. Temporarily restored relationship through the animal sacrifice lead again to their separation from the love of God. After the great fall human beings could not get out of the bondage of sins on their own in spite of their desire and effort. Despite the original intention of God (“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”: Matthew 19:26), the people of Israel continued trying to keep all the rules and rituals on their own in order to prove their righteousness before God. As I mentioned before, the old testament is a shadow of what would be fulfilled in the future by the Messiah for the whole human beings. If you have read the Bible, you may remember that there were numerous prophesies about the coming Messiah (Jesus Christ). Because some of them are so obvious even to Jews who still deny Jesus is the Messiah, they just skip reading those sections of the old testament such as Isaiah 53. Eventually the (incomplete) animal sacrifice in the old testament was replaced by the sacrificial death of Jesus to pay the penalty of all our sins once and for all. When we accept Jesus Christ into our heart as our Savior and Lord, we are completely liberated from the bondage of sin once and for all by the help of God (not on our own) because God comes into our heart to reside as the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32)”.

    There are two important features in our salvation from sin. First, it is a gift of God for all human beings. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)”. Our God of love and compassion is just like a loving mother jumps into the water to save her drowning child regardless of the fact that the child is obedient or disobedient to her. Her loving heart for the child is far from the petty conditional love (If you will obey me, then I will save and love you. Otherwise I will not save you). This unconditional love is possible because she shed her own blood with pain when delivering the child. The love of a mother for her child is just a shadow of the love of God for all human beings. Second, it is obtained by faith, not by works. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9)”. Our salvation from sin is so precious that even selling all our possessions to give them to the poor would not be enough to earn it, although this is a good thing to do. This is what the people of Israel had done to earn righteousness by trying to literally and legalistically observe all the rules and rituals to be perfect before God. It is impossible to attain the high standard of righteousness by our own works (Matthew 19:26) so God provided for us another way of salvation, salvation by faith in Jesus Christ who fulfilled the whole righteousness on our behalf. Because salvation comes from faith in Jesus Christ who died to pay the penalty of our sins in our place, we are 100% sure of our eternity in heaven, free from the fear of our uncertain eternal future. So we do not really fear about
    death, because it is just one time horizon in our eternal loving relationship with God. The salvation by faith may not be the way you expected from your common sense (by speculation), but this is the way according to the revelation of God. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 16:25)”. Then you may ask what is the point for good works. We do good works out of thanks for the grace we have received from our God, namely, the gift of the fulfilled life here and the eternal life in heaven which we do not deserve. Now you can see the difference. We do good works out of thanks to God, but not to compensate for our sins in order to earn salvation.

    Have you ever experienced the joy of freedom from the bondage of sin with the help of the words of God? I will give you just three examples. First, on one occasion I arrived at a free pornographic site while surfing on the internet. Seeing a few dozens of free pornographic images was very enticing because it was free and nobody was watching me. There was nothing to lose. Seeing them or not was just my finger tip away. Then I was reminded of two verses in Psalm (119:9,11). “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”. With the words of God I resisted the temptation successfully. What a joy of freedom from the bondage of my sinful desires of self-indulgent lust! The joy and freedom was hundred times greater than my temporary pleasure of seeing the images. Have you ever experienced this kind of joy and freedom? If not, you are missing your full potential as a true “free” human being. With the words of God now I am 100% free from this kind of temptation whether in secret or in public. Second, on another occasion on the way to my work I passed a beggar asking for money. Although I already passed him a while ago, God’s words kept telling me inside my heart “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36)”. I could not resist God’s words asking me for compassion on the beggar I had passed. I had nothing but to return to the station where the beggar worked and give him a few dollars together with handshakes. What a joy of freedom from the bondage of my sinful desires of selfishness! Third, yet on another occasion one of my colleagues started to spew several insulting remarks on me during the lunch time. Considering the circumstance and context, it was obvious that they were intentionally directed toward me. I was tempted to get revenge on him by finding faulting with his weaknesses which could be as humiliating to him as possible. Then I was reminded of the words of Jesus “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also (Matthew 5:39); Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44)” What a joy of freedom from the bondage of my sinful desires of hatred and getting even!

    Overwhelmed by the mighty love and grace of God, I am 100% satisfied with and thankful for everything, absolutely everything. I even thank God for the cancer I struggled with recently. Because of the disease, I learned to love and trust my God more, learned to be more thankful for everything, learned to have more compassion for other people, learned to resist better the temptation of lust and selfishness! Overwhelmed by the unconditional love of God, my joy, thanks and freedom have exploded like a volcano everyday. Why do I leave Christianity? Why do I abandon my God who has made me what a true human being is meant to be? If some of you may argue that all my wonderful experiences are just from wishful thinking and self-motivation, you are free to think whatever you want. Although you might have left God due to some unpleasant reasons, you can come back to him anytime. We live in a free and democratic society. Nobody in your current community should not criticize or condemn your decision to return to the love of God again. God always loves you no matter who you are now or no matter what you have done, just like a loving mother who does not hesitate to jump into the water to save her drowning children.

    Some of you might be skeptical about Christianity because some Christians are hypocrite, selfish, arrogant and ungraceful. I became a Christian because of the love of Jesus Christ for me, not because of good behaviors of other Christians. I admit there are some believers who tear down people around them instead of building up out of immaturity. Please do not be distracted by their behaviors although it may not be so easy to you. I do admit that our spiritual forefathers did many cruel things to humanity in the name of God through such as the Crusades and the Inquisition, indicating the danger of institutionalized beliefs. They were in stark contrast to the unconditional love of Jesus for all human beings. On behalf of our spiritual forefathers I sincerely apologize to all humanity. Many of you including even some Christians might suffer from negative psychology. Students study hard to learn new things, not for fear of dropping out of the school. We eat food to stay health, not for fear of starving to death. We do some Christian activities (worship, fellowship, prayer and Bible study) to enjoy here and for eternity what our God of love is offering us (joy, thanks, freedom and so on). We do not and should not do them for fear of something. Some Christian leaders may use the fear of hell or punishment to get their messages across to others more effectively, but this is not a healthy approach and is absolutely wrong! Fear is the opposite of love which is all about the whole message of Christianity. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18)”. If you feel hurt or offended by them, I am sorry and truly apologize you on their behalf. Many of you may see the salvation with the eyes of negative psychology. Because we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), the entire human beings were doomed to the eternal separation from God and that was our destiny in the first place. But through our faith in Jesus Christ we were rescued by God from the eternal condemnation. On the other hand, the negative psychology says that we were doomed to the eternal separation because of not believing in Jesus. Now you can see the difference. The eternal condemnation was caused by our sinful nature, not by our rejection of Jesus as the Savior and Lord. We do not need to be a slave to constant negativism for advances in our knowledge of everything. If you have left Christianity, it is not based on a fact but on your own belief.

    If you are skeptical about Christianity due to some unpleasant reasons, I kindly ask you to come close to God to enjoy his unconditional love and grace. If you do not come close to your Creator, you could end up being the older son in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, who kept grumbling and complaining due to some petty reasons without enjoying the true love of God. About a few years ago I was going through difficult times and about to leave Christianity because God did not answer my earnest prayer for more than 10 years. My anger and bitterness kept building up to the point that I shouted to my God, “You are only interested in bringing me into your family. After then you do not take care of me any more!”, “In contrast to your promise that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope (Romans 5:3-4), I am getting more angry, disappointed and sour toward you instead of getting closer to you as a result of the current trial!”, “Those who are far less qualified than me get a better job and faster promotion. Surely this world is not fair!”. Although I went to the church every Sunday and read the Bible regularly, I did not really come close to God in order to know and meet him personally. I myself was the older son in the parable of the prodigal son. I kindly ask you to come close to God to know and experience how good and gracious our God is.

    I admit that I still do not understand several things about God and the Bible such as the literal interpretation of the first few chapters in Genesis and some bloody scenes in the old testament. How can I, a tiny creature, understand every detail of what the Creator of the universe has been doing? God has no obligation to tell his creature every detail of his world. God is not my personal Genie. Of course we should avoid this kind of rigid attitude: “Because A said B, B must be the absolute truth. Period. Do not ask any question”. By the way, have you ever heard about the cosmological constant problem in physics and astronomy? According to the most recent observation of the universe, the expansion of the universe is accelerating contrary to our perception. The universe does not show any sign of slowing down of expansion, but instead expands indefinitely. To be consistent with this observation, the Einstein’s field equation should include the cosmological constant of the order of 10^(-120) in reduced Planck unit. However, the calculated value with the best theory available now is of order of unity in the same unit, in other words, 10^(120) larger than the observed value! This is the greatest disaster in the history of physics which has been known and praised as accurate science. As a former theoretical physicist, I do not want to easily give up the best theories physicist have developed so far. I believe that there would be still some things we do not understand, with a hope that someday we may be able to put all pieces together to get the complete picture. If you are considering leaving or have left Christianity for similar reasons with some unanswered questions, I kindly advise you to exercise more patience instead of giving it up easily. In spite of our efforts to know all the answers, there could be still some unanswered questions about God and the Bible. How can mere creatures demand the Creator to explain every detail of his world? How can we declare there is no God, simply because we do not have a full understanding of his world? How can an ant claim that there is no internet, simply because it does not make sense to him or it is not logical to him? Let us not jump to a conclusion in haste!

    In summary, Christianity is not about keeping man-made rules, rituals and traditions out of duty or out of fear of punishment. Christianity is also not about seeking peace, comfort and happiness through wishful thinking. Christianity is all about a loving relationship with the Creator of the universe and our very souls, experiencing explosive joy, thanks and freedom here and for eternity. Thank you very much for reading my long article.

  • avatar

    AW

    I know this is an old post, but this guy’s mistakes need to be corrected.
    For a computer to ‘take an IQ test’ is meaningless. It would get absurdly high scores, simply due to its ability to calculate quickly.
    In terms of raw processing power, however, supercomputers have to match (much less surpass) the number of neural connections (transistors) contained in the human brain. Therefore, to expect self-awareness in a machine at this stage is silly.
    Give it another 50 years, then we can talk.

    I didn’t read the rest. Anyone think this guy really studied physics?

  • avatar

    just another stupid "religous" girl

    If you honestly want to state that we, the religous, don’t listen to reality you should know this. Women who have abortions are four times more likely to die within a year than those who go through with the pregnancy. The risk of breast cancer almost doubles; and continues to increase with a greater number of abortions. then there is the increased risk of cervical,ovarian, and liver cancer. There’s also the increased chance of placenta previa. (look it up) this, if they do decide to eventually have children. Of course if they do, there will be an increased chance of complications with labor. There’s an increased chance of handicapped newborns with later pregancies. Not to say there is something wrong with being handicapped, it’s just sometimes that’s a reason for abortion in the first place. There’s PID, other immediate complications, increased miscarrages for later pregnances…etc. Oh and lets not forget depression. Have you heard of post abortion syndrome? Not every woman is as severe as the other, every women WILL experience guilt at some point. As for risks with having children; well, lets first establish that it’s actually healthy for a women to have a child. Those who don’t are at risk of medical problems….ok i can’t find a good site, point proven i guess. What little i found was basicly health risks for the child, not the mother. I know one of the arguments of abortion is if the mother is already facing health problems and is at risk of dying if to give birth…we already discussed the risks of abortion however; so how would this be more beneficial to someone unhealthy? would it not make matters worse? at least with the birth of the child, you’re bringing a new life into the world to replace the lost one. I knew of the complications of abortion. We were having an in class debate about abortion the other day. There are about three or for christians in this class of about 30. Only two students knew of the risks of abortion. We’re both christians. So I do not think it’s fair to say that the religous don’t listen to reality. Sure, there are hipicritical christians, but it’s hipicritical to imply that we are naive when the non believers are naive themselves. the only decent argument pro choice had was that it was the women’s body…i rebuttled with the risks associated with abortion that cause harm to their beloved bodies. By the way, those hipicritical christians i mentioned before disgus me. No offense, but you remind me of many of the hipicrits I knew amongst a church i used to attend, but disagreed with. Just thought i’d throw that out there.

  • avatar

    Daniel Knight

    You’re claim is misleading, there is different data:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_fact4.htm

    You are also, conveniently and forgetfully leaving out that mass murders done by atheists in China, who drown their female babies. You are also lumping in all Christians together, as if all Protestants were the same and by doing so committing the same error as Mormons and Catholics and all such cults who use the lumpem’ together fallacy. You doing that, shows that you are stupid when it comes to religion and careless with the truth. You are not good at all, just like the God says. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” That’s another massive fail.

  • avatar

    Peter Teske

    It may sound naive – but can somebody explain to me why atheists are supposed to be pro-choice and Christians pro-life? For Christians, life on earth is a filtering process (dividing people into those who will go to heaven and those who will go to hell), so if a child dies early, he/she hasn’t sinned and should theoretically go straight to heaven (unless I’m confusing things and that’s the Islamic approach). Yahwe had no problem wiping out the totally innocent babies of some Middle Eastern settlements (Jericho, Sodom & Gomorrah etc.)

    From an atheist point of view, the possibility of existing at all is infinitely small. There is no pre-defined pool of souls, each of which will eventually get a body, but each person is absolutely unique, and the existence of each person is an incredible coincidence. I for example have to (absurdly, I know) be grateful for Adolf Hitler surviving childhood (unlike many other kids in those days) – had it not been for him, there would not have been a population migration post WWII, and my parents (from different eastern, but effectively isolated, german regions, Danzig vs. East Prussia), would never have met in the refugee camps of the Western Allied zones when the Red Army pushed westwards. Impossible coincidences like this one go all the way back to early microbial life, and nonetheless I exist.

    Really, I think that a shitty life is still a trillion times better than not to have existed at all, and I wouldn’t want to keep that from anybody, even if that person is the child of a rapist or is totally retarded. They were among the winners of this incredible lottery, so why shortchange them and not give them a chance to see all this – but abort them instead, as if they never existed? In religious circles, it’s the pressure from the family and community not to have a child out of wedlock, obviously nobody wants to have their good name blemished. Explain to me how this is not one of the most evil sins imaginable? In non-religious circles, it might be the inconvenience of having to put the career on hold – hey, who gives a shit, there’s nothing glamorous about a working life!? Both reasons are bullshit, but it’s not the womans’ fault, the community/society are responsible for not being more welcoming of the new person and for not supporting the woman with absolutely everything they’ve got.

    I think that there’s not a single society on the planet that gets this right. The religious people are dishonest, and the non-religious people are religiously opposed to what the religious ones are up to, without switching on their brains and thinking about how we could actually improve things. When I look at my little daughter – I’m so infinitely glad she’s here, even if this has made things impossibly complicated for me. It’s simply not me (or my peers) who should be the centre of attention.

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