Regarding “Go nonpartisan,” Jan. 22, Page 31:

This editorial made the assertion that “the abortion rate in America decreases under Democratic presidents and policies, while the rate remains essentially stagnant under Republican administrations,” attributing this phenomenon to the wise policies of the Democrats regarding education, health care, and economic insecurity.

I have never heard of such a claim and checked the website of the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research foundation formerly associated with Planned Parenthood. According to the information I saw on that website the abortion rate in the USA has declined steadily since the late 1970s under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

No doubt the reasons for this steady decline are complex and independent of the policies of either political party. What is clear, or should be clear, to all of us, is that the present administration seeks to promote abortion. President Biden plans to work to end the Hyde Amendment, which since about 1976 has prevented federal Medicaid dollars from being used to cover abortions. Further, he has committed to codifying Roe v Wade and appointing federal judges that uphold that infamous Supreme Court decision of 1973 that legalized abortion in all 50 states. He has already ended the Mexico City policy that prevented U.S. dollars going to international organizations that perform or promote abortion.

On an ideological level, this Democratic administration refers to abortion as health care and a woman’s right. Imagine, according to that thinking killing a baby is good health care. Are we really supposed to believe that with such an ideological stance and with such policies that abortion will decline under this Democratic administration? If it does decline it will do so despite the strenuous efforts of our president and his administration to promote the grave injustice of abortion in every way possible.

Gerald McAfee


Reporter’s note: Indeed abortion rates have been declining for decades. My figures were drawn from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which show: Under George H.W. Bush there was a 0.20% average annual decrease in the number of reported legal abortions; under Bill Clinton a 5.23% average annual decrease (or a 2.34% average annual decrease if 1998, an outlier with a 25.44% decrease, is excluded); under George W. Bush a 0.46% average annual decrease; and under Barack Obama a 3.44% average annual decrease. The CDC has not published figures for all years Donald Trump was in office.

There no doubt are complex factors contributing to the declines, and there are some limitations with the CDC figures. Nevertheless, there is a steeper decline during Democratic administrations. Therefore, instead of promoting one party or another, Catholics should promote the full range of policies that can reduce abortions.