Friday, April 24, 2009

Trying to "Get" Hillary Clinton, Mona Charen Contradicts Her Statistics

Conservative writer Mona Charen tries to pull a "gotcha" on Hillary Clinton, saying that Clinton could not "defend" Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood who advocated abortion, in part, on racist grounds (i.e., it could prevent more undesirables from being born). Some conservatives believe that Sanger's bigotry delegitimizes abortion rights, apparently because: Sanger = abortion = racism. I have debunked a similar argument elsewhere: Pro-Life Race Card: Anti-Choice Activists Blow a Gasket Over Lifting of "Global Gag Rule"

Well, that's "truly ludicrious" (to borrow a phrase from Charen). By that logic, celebrating Washington's birthday should offend blacks because he owned slaves. Or perhaps I should not visit the Jefferson Memorial because he owned people too. And what self-respecting black person would live in Florida, Texas or Washington, DC, when all of these places had thriving slave industries? Neither the University of Pennsylvania, Yale Law School, nor American University's law school admitted blacks when they first opened, but I attended two of these schools and teach at the third. In short: Sanger, like Penn, Yale, and Jefferson, reflected the bigotry of her era. Move on!

Anyway. . . Charen says that Clinton first dodged a question concerning Sanger and then attacked former President George Bush:
Clinton then, in good Obamanista fashion, offered a gratuitous swipe at the Bush administration. "During my time as First Lady I helped to create the Campaign against Teenage Pregnancy ... and ... the rate of teen pregnancy went down. I'm sad to report that after an administration of eight years that undid so much of the good work, the rate of teenage pregnancy is going up."

Politicians always simplify, but this is truly ludicrous. Teen pregnancy down under the Clintons but then up under Bush? Sorry, the statistics do not reflect that. According to the Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood), teen pregnancy reached an all-time high in 1988 and 1989 and began trending down thereafter, reaching its lowest recent point in 2005 — past the midpoint of the Bush years. It has been going up since then.
Earth to Charen: Clinton took office in 1993, when according to your own statistics, teen pregnancy was trending downward. You also say teen pregnancy has been trending upward since 2005, the midpoint of Bush's two terms -- which means, teen pregnancy increased during the Bush years.

I think it would be hard to link either pattern to a president, but I'll leave that to social scientists. But since Charen thinks the statistics are meaningful, they support Clinton's statement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Hutchinson: You are right, this column is well up to Mona Charen's usual standard. But the fish I want to fry is Margaret Sanger and Her Idiotic Beliefs. I don't know if you've read any of Sanger's books. There are two available at Project Gutenberg. The one I will refer to is THE PIVOT OF THE RACE, which you can read free here The titles of chapters II & IV instructive:

"Conscripted Motherhood"


"The Fertility of the Feeble Minded"

What's disturbing for today's reader is the authoritarian streak in Sanger. Sanger has no problems in ordering the lives of others for their own good, of course. This book was written
in 1922. Five years later the Supreme Court under Ollie Holmes cranked out BUCK v. BELL, a case that suited Maggie just fine with such epigrams as "Three generations of imbeciles are enough." Those who coo lyrical dithyrambs to the wisdumb of the Court for strapping the cancerous ROE v. WADE might read Holmes's opinion and think some more about the wisdumb of even the politically correct krytocrats on the High Bench.

A little while ago I mentioned that I objected to the notion of "judicial review" because the case that founded it MARBURY v. MADISON was a farrago of fraud. You smiled, said my analysis wasn't solemn enough, and stopped short of engaging my case on the merits. A common legal device. Now we have another case, ROE v. WADE with an ancestor that also should inspire dubiety to today's citizenry, being steeped in fraud. No libertarian can read THE PIVOT OF CIVILIZATION and conclude that Sanger is a friend to individual liberty. She doubtless thought she was. But the worst delusions are those you sell to yourself. Just ask Mona Charen.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster
(not of CUNY)

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