Kaitlyn Buss: Sanitizing abortion doesn't make it pro-growth

Kaitlyn Buss, The Detroit News on

Published in Op Eds

If you can’t promise jobs, promise abortions. That seems to be the message from Michigan’s leading women Democrats for the 2024 campaign.

If the way abortion rights drove young women to the polls in 2022 is any indication, it will turn out votes. But it’s a very ironic growth strategy.

“We have to understand most people see this as a kitchen table issue,” Michigan’s Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin told PBS this week about abortion. “The decision about whether to have a child or not is the most profound kitchen table issue that we have. It’s not separate from inflation, it’s not separate from the economy.”

“If you don’t think abortion is about the economy you probably don’t have a uterus,” echoed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has made abortion rights the focal point of her second term, in an interview this week.

Moral offensiveness and vapidity aside, referring to what most parents consider the most important thing in their life, their kids, as “kitchen table issues,” reveals a lack of awareness and relatability.

They have reduced having and raising children to be on the level with the decision to buy a car.

Yet at the same time they are concerned about the state’s historically low population and workforce.

They seem to miss the connection between inputs and outputs.

What more natural way to grow Michigan’s population than to enact pro-family, pro-child policies that make this state a place where people know their kids are valued, not dehumanized?

How much better would Michigan’s economic future look if the 30,000 babies — a number equal to the population of Jackson — being aborted every year were carried to term and grew up to attend Michigan schools and settle in its communities?

The flip side of Whitmer trying to grow Michigan by vying for women who want to live in a state with a wide-open abortion environment is that the radical progressivism of her administration and approach to issues will likely chase out existing families who simply find it hostile to their values.

It was revealed Thursday the fertility rate in the United States is at a historic low — 1.62 births per woman in 2023, according to federal data.


Michigan’s fertility rate was approximately 1.57 in 2022 and is projected to decline to 1.39 by 2050, according to a new report from the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics.

The state’s population is projected to increase by 2.3% through 2034 before slowly declining by 1.3% — or 128,000 people — from 2022 to 2050.

The major factor is the decline in births. In 2022, the birth rate in Michigan was about 10 live births for every 1,000 residents, a 22% drop in the birth rate from 2002.

There is little disagreement that such drastically waning birth and fertility rates will continue to negatively affect Michigan. That’s precisely why Whitmer started a council on growing the population.

Whitmer, Slotkin and other Democrats who back Bidenomics don’t seem to see the catch-22: Abort your kids because the economy that we have helped craft is so burdensome that you shouldn’t want them anyway.

If growth is the objective, there's no surer way to add population than to help women who are considering an abortion keep their babies.

That's a much more rational solution than either Whitmer or Slotkin are willing to admit. But it requires viewing babies and kids as value-adds, not line-item costs.


(Kaitlyn Buss is assistant editorial page editor at The Detroit News.)


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