The Dispatch ran an article on the rightward lurch in Ohio politics. It’s a good piece, but I’m taken by a quote from Ohio Right to Life director (and Kasich medical board appointee) Mike Gonidakis:

Abortion levels in Ohio are the lowest in modern history, and when lawmakers pass “common-sense, pro-life approaches, good things happen,” Gonidakis said.

I think this is the third time I’ve heard him say this, which means that it’s an ongoing talking point. That’s interesting, and also the most dishonest thing imaginable, because we have no Kasich-era data on abortion in Ohio.

Here’s the most recent ODH Induced Abortions in Ohio report. It covers calendar year 2011.

There were basically no abortion restrictions enacted in calendar year 20111!

You know what did happen in 2011? People under age 26 were able to stay on their parents’ insurance, expanding health care access among the precise population who’s likely to have an unintended pregnancy.

On top of that, the 2011 drop in Ohio’s abortion rate isn’t very noteworthy. It’s the same 3% decrease that we’ve seen every year since 2007.

If only there were some kind of Christian prohibition on bearing false witness.


So, why does Ohio Right to Life have this talking point? They see the writing on the wall.

Common sense (and research2) shows that if you offer women birth control at no cost, they’re more likely to take higher quality birth control. They’re then less likely to get pregnant, and less likely to have an abortion.

Soon, Obamacare will offer all women birth control at no charge. By the end of the decade, the abortion rate will be much lower than it is today, and it will be attributable entirely to Obamacare.

That leaves Right to Life groups with a few options.

1. Give up. Ostensibly, the Right to Life movement wants there to be as few abortions as possible. If, at the end of the decade, there are far fewer abortions, then there will be less reason to donate the movement.

Indeed, “people who want fewer abortions” should, in 2020, be donating to Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

2. Lie about what IUDs do. That’s what the Catholic Medical Association did in regards to the St. Louis study. These “doctors” aren’t happy about preventing abortions if yucky birth control is involved.

Because at no point was this debate ever about abortion.

3. Take credit. It wasn’t no co-pay birth control, it was the War on Women! The War on Women will have been so efficacious that it will make the abortion rate drop faster in California and New York than in Georgia or Alabama.

Were Gonidakis not certain that the abortion rate would fall, he wouldn’t be claiming that the War on Women reduces the abortion rate. When the 2012 figures are released–with Kasich’s first restrictions in place–he’d look pretty foolish if the rate ticked up. He would have spent an unprecedented amount of his donors’ money on a series of initiatives that increased the number of abortions.

I think that Gonidakis expects a sharp decline in the abortion rate and is prepping the media to credit his group, or at least quote him in a “the world is flat” kind of way.

After all, if the abortion rate falls due to something that Ohio Right to Life vehemently opposed, his organization will have been completely discredited3.


1 Most of the War on Women bills were signed just before Christmas in 2011 and took effect in 2012. The 2012 figures will be published later this month.

Ohio’s ban on abortions from 20-24 weeks took effect in October 2011, and likely had negligible impact on 2011 statistics; the decline was across the board.

In September, the state budget included some anti-abortion subterfuge that nobody (including the authors) understood. It didn’t come to fruition until the closures of the Toledo facilities earlier this year.

The only law that was in effect for all of 2011 was the requirement that doctors use mifepristone improperly, which resulted in most providers stopping medication abortions. There’s no indication in the numbers, though, that the women didn’t go on to get surgical abortions–which increased compared to 2010.

2 It’s only one study, sure. But a comparison to Northern Europe seems appropriate.

Northern Europe has much lower abortion rates than the US. They also have 1) universal health insurance, 2) low cost birth control, and 3) paid maternity leave.

Obamacare provides universal health insurance and low cost birth control. (I’m assuming that immigration reform will pass and all states will expand Medicaid by 2020).

That should bring American abortion rates into parity with Northern Europe, unless paid maternity leave is just a huge determinant of continuing a pregnancy.

3 Sike! Donors to Ohio Right to Life are not the most deductive thinkers. I’m sure they’ll keep giving freely.

Besides, they aren’t donating to ORTL to lower the abortion rate. They’re giving because they don’t like unapproved sexytime.