The Corner

Abortion Rates Under Rudy

An email:

Is it really fair to hold it against rudy that abortions in NYC were [higher] than the statewide average? Of course it’s higher!   Isn’t it to be expected that in the largest urban metropolis of a largely rural and suburban state, the abortion rate will be much higher in the urban area?  I bet women from all over that state, and even from other states, came to NYC for abortions,  driving up the citywide avg compared to the rest of the state.  Not to mention that urbanites are probably more likely to abort than non-urbanites anyway.  The positive of bringing down the abortion rate should be commended, not sneered at because he’s held to an impossibly high standard.

I don’t really hold it against Giuliani that abortion rates in New York City were and are so high. I just think it’s absurd to give him credit for “bringing down the abortion rate” in the city faster than it went down in the country, which is what his supporters do, while ignoring other statistics that are less helpful to them. I don’t think anything Giuliani did caused the abortion rate to fall more slowly in the city than in the state. But I also don’t think anything he did caused it to fall faster than in the country at large–or to fall at all. The abortion rate dropped in the city, the state, and the country, at different rates, and there’s no evidence that Giuliani, Pataki, or Clinton had much to do with it.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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