The small and brave contingent of the University Faculty for Life was in Utah recently for their annual conference hosted this year at Brigham Young University. My presentation examined the linkages between the deconstruction of marriage as a social institution – characterized by permanence, faithfulness and complementarity – and the culture of death – symbolized by abortion on demand.
We know that married parents are the gold standard for child well-being and my argument is that this is true for unborn children as well. To take one example from the presentation:
“The percentage of ‘unintended pregnancies’ ending in abortion in 2006 were: 61 percent for women who had not married and were not cohabiting, 60 percent for those who were divorced and were not cohabiting, 39 percent for cohabiting couples and 22 percent for those who were married. Importantly, the rates of unintended pregnancies were highest among cohabitors at 152 per 1,000 unintended pregnancies, compared to 53 for those who are divorced and not cohabiting, 46 for those who’ve never married and are not cohabiting and 35 for the married.” (Source: Lawrence B. Finer & Mia R. Zolna, “Unintended Pregnancy in theUnited States: Incidence and Disparities, 2006” 84 Contraception 478, 481 table 1 & 483 table 2 (2011).)
These basic trends hold true for Utah as well, though we don’t have the data related to cohabitation. In 2009, the rate of abortions per 1,000 women was 17.8 for the married and 214.8 for the unmarried. (Source: Utah Department of Health, “Utah’s Vital Statistics: Abortions 2009” Technical Report No. 273, April 2011 (table 4).)
Utah is a pro-life state. It can become even more so as we strengthen marriage while we are doing all we can to enshrine in our laws and culture a reverence for the sanctity of life.
For those interested, many of the presentations are available online here.