The Saddleback Forum was good theater, but it was theologically naïve. The questions asked reflected an evangelical world view that is one to which educated people today cannot relate. It did reveal that evangelical Christianity is broadening in its interests to concerns about life after birth and the environment, but part of that is because the old hot button issues of abortion and homosexuality are simply fading in importance. Everyone knows that abortions can be greatly reduced by competent sex education in the public schools and by the wide distribution of safe contraceptive devices. The pity is that the same people who fight against abortion also fight against sex education, birth control and the availability of safe contraceptives. It is not a surprise, therefore, that abortions have risen rapidly during the administration of pro-life George Bush.
How rapidly this has morphed from Obama's more modest lie at Saddleback:
And so for me, the goal right now should be — and this is where I think we can find common ground — and by the way, I’ve now inserted this into the Democratic Party platform — is ‘How do we reduce the number of abortions?’ Because the fact is that although we’ve had a president who is opposed to abortions the last eight years, abortions have not gone down.
And the real facts? Perhaps not everyone, but many educated people know that abortions have gone down in the Bush administration:
The total number of abortions among women ages 15 to 44 declined from 1.3 million in 2000 to 1.2 million in 2005, an 8 percent drop that continued a trend that began in 1990, when the number of abortions peaked at more than 1.6 million, the survey found. The last time the number of abortions was that low was 1976, when slightly fewer than 1.2 million abortions were performed.
The abortion rate fell from 21.3 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 2000 to 19.4 in 2005, a 9 percent decline. That is the lowest since 1974, when the rate was 19.3, and far below the 1981 peak of 29.3.
See also the charts on pages 2, 3 and 4 of this report.
H/T Jackie at Stand Firm for drawing attention to the Spong column and Mollie at Get Religion for documenting Obama's false statement at Saddleback.