With the Supreme Court gearing up to hear arguments over what will be an historic decision on same-sex marriage later this month, a group of 100 conservative “scholars” filed a last-ditch attempt to convince the Court to put a stop to all this sin once and for all. Their argument, in short: legalizing same-sex marriage would directly lead to 900,000 more abortions in 30 years.
The logic—to use the term loosely—goes as follows: Legalizing same-sex marriage “undermines” traditional marriage. If traditional marriage loses its value, men and women are going to have less incentive to get married in the first place. Once that happens, similarly traditional values (like monogamy and waiting until marriage to have children) “will likewise crumble.” And everyone knows how much unmarried women love their abortions.
Except, try as they might, correlation will still never prove causality. Even Gene Schaerr, the former clerk of Justice Antonin Scalia who officially filed the brief, admitted to the Washington Post that “it is still too new to do a rigorous causation analysis using statistical methods.” And yet! Schaerr and co. trudge forth.
For instance, [Schaerr and his colleagues] say that declining marriage rates in a handful of states that have legalized same-sex marriage — Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa — are proof of the harmful effects of gay marriage. That evidence seems to ignore the fact that marriage rates have declined in places like Texas and Utah as well, or that the overall U.S. marriage rate has been on the wane for decades
This false causality alone would be one thing, but the assertion that this would all result in the abortions of “nearly 900,000 more children of the next generation” is based on absurd and even (willfully?) incorrect assumptions. The brief argues that it “conservatively [assumes] that half of the decline in marriages over the next generation would come from women who permanently never marry as opposed to delaying marriage.” A statistic it cites as coming from this Pew study. Except that the study actually claims that only 25% (not half) of child-bearing-age adults will have never married by 2030—which is about as far as it’s comfortable going.
Image via AP.