Ok, I would not like this threach to branch off in twenty different directions, so I will just write about abortion laws (It was not me who raised the issue, so I think I have the right to reply) and peasant religiosity on the eve of the Russian revolution (or about historical research methodology).
First, abortion. I am a (bad) Catholic, I am pro-life (anti-abortion, if you prefer it) and I would like to have abortion forbidden in the law of my own country and all over the world.
1. Would laws which made abortion illegal be the end of abortion? No.
2. Would pregnant women continue to look for abortion, even if it were illegal? Yes, they would (fewer of them).
3. Would some of those women die as a consequence of complications in those illegal, "backyard" abortion? Yes, a small percentage of them.
1. Laws which made abortion illegal would not be the end of abortion. No law in the long history of humankind has suceeded in completely eradicating a crime. It is not monarchists, it is progressists who think that man's nature is completely elastic, moldable, and through good laws and government intervention would be possible to create heaven on Earth. Conservatives, or anyone who accepts the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, know that man is a fallen, flawed creature. Only limited success is possible.
But law, by penalizing an act, can reduce the incidence of that kind of act. And law can (and have to) show how things should be. It cannot say that fair is foul and foul is fair. Law has to protect human life, specially when it is weaker, at the beginning and at the end.
2. Pregnant women would continue to look for abortion, even if abortion was made illegal. But fewer of them would do, compared to the situation when abortion is completely legal and available. It does not trouble me that "countries that have essentially banned legal abortion haven't seen a decline in the number of abortion "crimes" being committed", for two reasons.
- There are only a handful of countries in that category (only Chile and Nicaragua come to my mind) and "statistics" about abortion in those countries have been produced by the Guttmacher Institute (the "research" branch of Planned Parenthood) or similar organizations, whose credibility is nil.
- Common sense does not allow that the number of abortions in a country will "stay put", after passing a law banning it. Many of the women that go to an abortion "clinic" have many, many doubts about what they are going to do. And that in a country where abortion is legal, "safe" (for the mother, not for the children), widely available, and portrayed in a positive way in the media. A law banning abortion might not change the mind of those women who are decided to have an abortion, whatever, but will tilt the scales in favour of the child's life in most of the rest.
3. If abortion was made illegal, some women would die (or have their health seriously damaged) as a consequence of "backyard" (illegal) abortions. That is an unintended effect of a law banning abortion. But many children (in the USA, millions) would be saved. That's one of the intended effects of a law banning abortion. And many women would be saved, too. That's another intended effect.
Because nowadays adult women (not only the baby girls killed in abortion) DO die as a consequence of abortion, in the USA and in any country where it is legal. And many women have their health (physical and mental) seriously damaged as a consequence of legal abortion. Those women just realize what a horrible mistake they have committed, when that mistake is irreversible. Some of them look for healing (in the Catholic Church or in other religious denominations), others simply cannot cope with the guilt and either commit suicide or choose a self-destructive way of life that ends up killing them. They are also victims of abortion, but for Planned Parenthood or pro-abortion lobby groups they do not exist.
And just to end the part about abortion, I would like to consider what abortion is, in a dispassionate way, without child's body parts or women bleeding to death in backyard abortions. Pro-abortion advocates call themselves "pro-choice". But what choice they are talking about? The choice about the life or death of a human being that a woman has begot.
Pro-life advocates are called "retrogade" for wanting to return to the statu quo regarding abortion current in 1960 in all the Western world. But pro-abortion advocates defends that a woman has the right to kill the child she has begot. In the Roman Empire, the law allowed the paterfamilias, the head of the family, to kill his children or sell them into slavery. So we have progressed (with the difference that now the right of life or death is granted to the mother) to Rome, II century a.C.