Thursday, July 18, 2019

The City of Lorain is slow-walking my public records request. Correction: It looks like their reasons were valid.


The City of Lorain is slow-walking my public records request. correction: the reasons for the delay were valid. I'm leaving the full correspondence online anyway.


_____________________________________

Mon 6/10/2019 3:43 PM
Re: Request for Use of Force Reports

Chief Rivera,

This is Rob Loftis, from the Police Use of Force Monitoring Team of the northeast Ohio chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice. Previously you had provided us with your updated use of force policy. Thank you again for that. Another part of our mission is to track ongoing use of force incident reports. Pursuant of that, we are requesting all use of force reports for your department since January 9, 2017. Thank you very much for your time.

J. Robert Loftis

_____________________________________

Tue 6/25/2019 8:51 AM
Re: Public Records Request

Mr. Loftis,

We are in receipt of your records request.  I am estimating it will cost $40.00 to complete the request. We would need payment prior to starting the request.

Sincerely,

Captain Michael Failing


_______________________________________

Sat 6/29/2019 5:50 AM
Re: Public Records Request

Sure. Where do I send the check and whom do I make it out to?

Rob

_________________________________

Sent: Friday, July 12, 2019 10:01 AM
Subject: Record Request

Professor Loftis,
 
Your records request is ready.  The final bill is $48.  Please make the check out to the City of Lorain
 
You can pick up the request from out records division.

Captain Michael Failing
Lorain Police Department


____________________________________________________

Sent: Sat 7/13/2019 5:21 PM

Chief Failing, 

Thank you for your reply. Section (B)(6) of the Ohio Public Records Act (149.43) says I can request the format of the records are duplicated in and gives a range of options. One of the options is "the same medium upon which the public office or person responsible for the public record keeps it." I assume you keep your records electronically, so I would like to request .pdf copies of your documents. 

Also, I assume your request for a fee to receive these records is based on Section (B)(1) of the act, which says you are to make copies the records available "at cost." I do not believe that the cost of emailing .pdf files should add anything to the $48 you are already charging me. 

Thank you very much for your time 

Rob


_______________________________________________________

Sent: Wed 7/17/2019 2:20 PM

Prof Loftis,

The records you requested are stored in paper copy.  The your request is completed and available in our records department for you to pick up.


Captain Michael Failing
Lorain Police Department

______________________

Captain Failing,

Are the records *only* kept as paper copies?

I've received records from your office in .pdf form before, including your current Use of Force Policy and your response to the 2012 Justice Department report on your department. I don't understand why, in 2019, a government office would keep public records in paper form only. 

The Ohio Public Records act (Ohio Revised Code Section 149.43) says I can request documents in electronic form, and you are only supposed to charge me for the cost of reproducing the documents. The ACLU of Ohio has plenty of information online about how I am supposed to request these records and you are required to respond.

http://www.acluohio.org/assets/issues/OpenGovernment/PublicRecords.pdf

So again, I'm asking, if any copies of these records exist in electronic form, please send them to me as .pdf files. 

Rob
_______________________

Update: this is the last email I received from Captain Failing. A person at the ACLU who has been kindly advising me says that this believable, given her experience with police record systems, and since they aren't required to create a new record, this is a legitimate response.


Professor Loftis,

The Lorain Police Department has thousands of reports per year in our database.  There is no way to determine whether a report involved a use of force which is specifically what you requested.  The only way I am able to complete your request is my office maintains a paper file of every use of force.  That is how I compiled your requested data.

The reports are still available in our records department.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Letter to Councilperson Baker about the most recent suicide attempt at the jail


Councilperson Baker,

Another inmate has attempted suicide at the Cuyahoga County Jail and is now on life-support (http://tinyurl.com/y58h7sz6). There is a chance that he will become the tenth death at the jail in little over a year. Last year 69 inmates attempted suicide last year, which is about triple the number that attempted suicide in 2016, according to Clevaland.com (http://tinyurl.com/yx92ahkv).

The county has put itself in the horrific position of actually having an incentive to make staying in the jail as traumatic as possible. As in many places, most cases in Cuyahoga Cuyahoga county are decided by plea bargain. As one judge told Sarah Koenig of the Serial podcast, “plea bargaining isn't part of the criminal justice system, it is the criminal justice system” (http://tinyurl.com/y2bhbyxf). The prosecutor stacks on charges with the goal of inducing the suspect to plead guilty to a lesser charge. (One might say “coercing” the suspect to plead guilty.) Suspects are far more likely to accept this kind of bargain if they are stuck in a jail that is tormenting them psychologically.

A lot of factors are causing the spike in suicide attempts and deaths at the county jail. There is the practice of overcharging. There is the practice of asking for unreasonably high amounts of cash bail. And there is also just plain old corruption: Someone is making money smuggling drugs into the jail and selling them to addicts who overdose and are left to die on the floor by the guards. I’m certain you’ve seen the video of the death of Joseph Arquillo in the jail (http://tinyurl.com/yy4oqs8u). Maybe you should watch it again.

Cuyahoga County switched to a form of government that includes a county council, the goal was to stop exactly this sort of corruption. That means dealing with this is your job.

Rob Loftis   

Thursday, May 02, 2019

On a Quote Attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King

"Every condition exists because someone profits by its existence. This economic exploitation is crystallized in the slum." -- Rev. James Bevel (probably)
On page 305 of Matthew Desmond's amazing book, Evicted he gives the above quote and attributes it to Martin Luther King. If you look at his footnote, though, he is citing a secondary source. Given that King is a magnet for misattributed quotes, I decided to look this one up. It turns out it is from "A Proposal by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for the Development of a Nonviolent Action Movement for the Greater Chicago Area," which is just what it says it is, a planning document for the Chicago Freedom Movement. I can't find a facsimile of the original document, but this is a .pdf version of that that was created for educational purposes. The .pdf has typos, but I'm not sure if they are carried over from the original or introduced.

The document is unsigned, at least in the form I found it, But according to this site and this footnote and a few other things like that, the document was drawn up by Rev. James Bevel. Bevel isn't a really good name to put with a powerful quote you want to use to motivate action. Later in life, Bevel became a LaRouchie and was revealed to be a pedophile who molested his daughter. I suppose if I were to use the quote in an inspirational context, I might just attribute it to the SCLC.

In any case, I spent 45 minutes trying to track down the quote, so I thought I'd put information out her in a form that Google can index to spare other people the trouble. Real scholars of the Civil Rights era I'm sure have more detailed information, but none of that comes up easily on Google right now.

(Actually, I'm a little miffed that there isn't a facsimile version of this document available on line. You can get a facsimile of a Plato manuscript from 895 but you can't get a facsimile of an SCLC document from 1966?)

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Marsy's law

Ohio and California friends, your input is needed!

Ohio has a ballot measure to amend the state constitution with a version of Marsy's law, a victims' rights measure modeled after a California constitutional amendment with the same name and backed by the same people. My basic instinct is to vote against it and I'm not encountering many reasons to go against that instinct.

The main reason my initial reaction is negative is that the current criminal justice system is basically designed to make it easy to railroad black male defendants. Any expansion of victims' rights will mostly just add to the mass incarceration of black men. And, in fact, one of the major impacts of Marsy's law in California has been to increase the amount of time people spend in prison (http://tinyurl.com/yakny32c).

There are some more superficial reasons to distrust the law. It is named after an individual and only refers to them by their first name. It was originally backed by a billionaire philanthropist, a class of person I distrust. (How much of a philanthropist can you be if you are still a billionaire?) The ACLU is opposed to it (http://tinyurl.com/y7kovdy7), and all but one newspaper in California was opposed to the California version (http://tinyurl.com/ycjpv5jo).

Still, many of the specifics of the law seem quite reasonable. It says that victims need to be notified about court proceedings and prosecutors must hear victims' inputs before offering plea deals (http://tinyurl.com/y9zptx3r).

It is also not clear to me how much to look at this through racial justice lens and how much to look at it through a gender violence lens. One of the measures in the law would make it harder for defense council to interview or depose victims, which could make it harder for defense attorneys to slut-shame victims of sex crimes. The law itself was originally developed in response to a case where a woman was stalked and killed by an ex-boyfriend. Changes that increase legal protection for women dealing with violent men are certainly needed. Women should know when their stalkers are up for parole.

In thinking about a law like this, you have to take into account the fact that it will be implemented in a biased way. It probably will make things more fair in cases of white-on-white crime. But as soon as you have a black defendant, everything is going to get worse. Anything that increases jail time goes against a lot of the other activism I am engaged in.


Anyone have any opinions? Come on, you are the internet. I know you have opinions.   

Friday, June 02, 2017

Gov. Kasich, Uphold the Paris Climate Agreement!

Dear Governor Kasich,

Please announce publicly that Ohio will join The United States Climate Alliance in pledging to honor the Paris Agreement. President Trump, by withdrawing the federal government from the agreement, has alienated the rest of the world and put the well being of future generations at risk. The global community needs to know that Ohio cares about its relationship to the rest of the world and the health of the planet.

The Plain Dealer reports that 100,000 Ohioans are now directly employed by the renewable energy industry. As technology shifts, that number is only going to grow, while the number of people employed by coal is only going to shrink. You did a great favor to renewable energy last December by vetoing a freeze on renewable energy standards, allowing mandates to fall back in place this year. More actions like this will help ensure Ohio clean energy companies are competitive in the global economy.

You can also show that Ohio cares about global climate change by reinvesting in public transportation. One of your first actions as governor was to kill a $400 million dollar high speed rail project. Now is the time to undo that mistake.

Let the world know that Ohio does not agree with President Trump's reckless actions on climate change.

Sincerely,
J. Robert Loftis

Bay Village, Ohio

Saturday, January 28, 2017

It's starting

Trump's most recent order blocks people with green cards who were abroad when the order was signed from re-entering the US. Green card holders are permanent residents---that was the promise we made when they were given their green cards. Darcy James Argue helpfully provides a picture below of the of the brochure you get welcoming you.

Pro-Publica reports that there are 500,000 permanent residents from the countries that are now banned all of these people have effectively had our promise to them broken. http://tinyurl.com/jqlmkcv.

Colleges and Universities are already recommending that students and faculty from the effected countries cancel plans to travel abroad because they may not be able to return home. A Yale Ph.D. student from Iran has already been stranded. (Chronicle of Higher Ed: http://tinyurl.com/j3at4nv, via Meanwhile in higher ed)

Protests are launching!

Cleveland peeps: Emergency Rally and March for Refugees and Sanctuary. Monday January 30, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Market Square, West 25th St. and Lorain Ave. (http://tinyurl.com/hrq3s99)

New York! Today 6PM protest at JFK to support the folks who are now stranded at the airport because of Trump's order: https://www.facebook.com/events/623562661169807/

Finally, Mike Malz of Same Facts has advice for government workers who are ordered to do unethical things. Rachel Ann McKinney suggests academics need similar plans. http://tinyurl.com/zb4886x

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Did Retailers Who Start Playing Christmas Music Too Early Tip The Election for Donald Trump?

Did Retailers Who Start Playing Christmas Music Too Early Tip The Election for Donald Trump?

A thinkpiece by J. Robert Loftis

Social media and old media have both been on fire recently with people searching for the exact right way to place blame for the election of Donald Trump. Popular targets so far include the Clinton campaign, white women with less that two years college education, Jill Stein, and El NiƱo. People who like to overtly blame "The Jews" for things are, of course, overjoyed at Trump's victory, and not looking for scapegoats. However, many Trump opponents blame "The Media" and "Coastal Elites," which are generally code words for Jews. Actual Trump voters invariably rank low on people's blame lists, because this game is about expectations, not personal responsibility.

But what if everyone is wrong? Think about it. Most targets of blame since the election results have come in were actually targets of hypothetical blame before the vote. You remember all those posts from September saying "If Clinton loses this election, the fault will lie squarely with The Democratic Establishment/Stein Voters/The Polar Vortex." If we haven't changed scapegoats in light of the new information the election has given us, can we really say we are a reality based community?

What if no one we've talked about so far is really to blame for Trump's victory? What if the real people responsible are retailers who started playing Christmas music too early?

This theory has a lot of merit. For starters, no one likes those people. Also, there is a plausible narrative we can develop about how they tipped the election. Anyone playing Christmas music before November 8 this year was clearly playing Christmas music too early. And what kind of emotions does Christmas music evoke? Nostalgia. Comfort. Love of tradition. All the sorts of things that ignite the reactionary mind. Could it be that retailers in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania playing Christmas music during election season were a crucial factor in energizing Trump's base? Who can say? The research hasn't been done, nor will it be done. So the plausible narrative stands, ready to channel all the resentment people feel toward retailers who start playing Christmas music too early.

This theory has one last crucial advantage: retailers who start playing Christmas music too early won't be an important part of any coalition resisting Trump in the future. It doesn't matter if our blame alienates them.

So I say fuck those guys.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

More on Lorain PD use of force

While I wasn't paying attention, the dashcam video was released for the arrest of Pele Smith. Smith is suing the Lorain Police Department for smashing his head against a cruiser windshield.

Pele Smith was stopped for jaywalking, apparently after there were numerous complaints from neighbors about him selling drugs. He appears to have done something to resist arrest and possibly swallow drugs he was carrying. The video picks up with Smith already cuffed and on the ground. The police walk him to the cruiser whose dashcam we are looking through. Smith is yelling something repeatedly, possibly "Mom!" It doesn't look like he is physically resisting, though. When he reaches the cruiser, the police slam his head into the windshield of the cruiser hard enough to crack the glass. One of the officers says "Shut the fuck up. Do you have any weapons on you?"

During the ride to the hospital one of the arresting officer sits next to him and they argue about what happened. It is clear that they have had frequent interactions in the past. At various times during the argument, Smith admits to using drugs and carrying enough for his own use. Other times he says he didn't do nothing. At all times he strenuously denies dealing and denies resisting arrest, saying "I didn't fight you." The arresting officer, for his part, says that Smith brought all these problems on himself, and does this every time he gets in trouble.

There is also a video of a press conference with community leaders that I haven't watched yet.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pele Smith Sues the Lorain PD.

Researching use of force by the Lorain Police Department. Most of what I'm seeing fits the Justice Department's 2012 findings that there was a serious problem in the past, but it began to taper off after 2008, when the DoJ investigation began but before they released their final report.
There is, however, this case, where a guy named Pele Smith was stopped for jaywalking, but wound up having his face slammed into a patrol car hard enough to crack the windshield. As his lawyer notes, this fits one of the patterns mentioned in the DoJ report: excessive force for completely trivial stops.
The case has fits another pattern you see a lot: Smith eventually plead guilty (perhaps part of a plea bargain) to a bunch of charges involving resisting arrest and obstructing police business, without any mention of an underlying crime that might have triggered the stop to begin with. The police claim he tried to hide drugs by swallowing them, but no actual drug charges are filed.

http://www.chroniclet.com/Local-News/2016/08/12/Lorain-police-sued-over-excessive-force-claim.html

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Showing Up For Racial Justice North East Ohio has a project going where we study use of force policies for area police departments. I've been assigned the Lorain PD.


Dear Chief Rivera,

I am with SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice, Northeast Ohio Chapter), and we are conducting research into use of force policies at local police departments, in conjunction with the efforts of the Cleveland Community Police Commission. On April 29, 2015 the governor's Ohio Task Force on Community-Police Relations released its final report with a number of recommendations including that "all law enforcement agencies adopt, at a minimum, policies including, but not limited to, the use of deadly force, with the goal of enhancing the protection of all lives".  Subsequently, the Ohio Collaborative Community Police Advisory Board was created to establish more detailed guidelines concerning use of force as well as the establishment of a certification process for local law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

Searching the LPD website, I was not able to find a publicly available use of force policy. I did find the 2012 Justice Department letter to the city and police department, and the accompanying Technical Assistance Report. I was very glad to see that it found that the LPD did not have a continuing "pattern or practice of use of excessive force." However, I also saw that it made a lot of recommendations for changes to section 4 of your Standard Operating Policies and Procedures on "Aggression Response."

I am requesting that you provide us a copy of your policies regarding the use of force. I am also interested in learning if it has been updated in accordance with the Justice Department's recommendations.  This information will be quite helpful in reviewing the use of force policies of Northeast Ohio police departments.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

J. Robert Loftis


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Videos of the Allegory of the Cave [updated]

There are myriad videos of the allegory of the cave available, but most are not very good. Searching for videos mostly yields student projects, adaptation of classroom lectures, and videos that are using the allegory of the cave to push a religious or conspiratorial agenda. There are, however, some very good videos out there was well, suitable for classroom use. Three are listed below.

Weiss, Sam (Director). 1973. The cave: a parable told by Orson Welles Stephen Bosustow Productions. Animated. Time: 8:13


Comments: I highly recommend this. The script is a slight editing of the Jowett translation, read compellingly Orson Welles. The visuals are animations of evocative drawings by the illustrator Richard Oden, who among other things did some very striking illustrations for medical textbooks and ran the drawing program at Cal State University Long beach. Oden’s drawings can give the student a clear image of what is going on in the allegory and pack an emotional punch without being distracting. The music by soundtrack composer Larry Wolff is haunting.

The editing done to the Jowett translation is very slight. Mostly, they cut out Glaucon’s replies, sometimes working a few words into Socrates’s speech. A few words are changed here and there. The one major edit is at the end, right before 517b, after Socrates notes that anyone caught trying to free the prisoners would be put to death, the narration skips to a rougher paraphrase of 519d where Socrates says that the enlightened person is obligated to return to the people of the cave “partake of their labors and honors, whether they are worth having or not.”

Credits: Narrator: Orson Welles; Animator: Dick Oden; Music: Larry Wolff; Producers: Nick Bosutow, C.B. Wismar.

Publication and availability: As of this writing, an ok-quality copy video is readily available online (e.g. https://youtu.be/d2afuTvUzBQ), however it is not clear who the rights holder is. The sound in the version shared online is a little muddy and the picture a little grainy. The original production company seems to be Stephen Bosustow Productions, and education film company founded by one of the creators of Mr. Magoo. At some point, the movie may have been owned by McGraw-Hill Films, but it does not show up on the website for the current McGraw-Hill companies. VHS copies also show up in the catalogues of various libraries, but it is not clear that any of these would be higher quality than the version currently being shared online.



Ramsey, Michael (Writer, director, producer). 2007. The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato's Allegory in Clay Bullhead Entertainment. Claymation. Time: 3:10


Comments:This is a well done Claymation version, using an original script that is true to the parts of the text that it covers. The main problem, that because it is only three minutes long, it leaves out a lot of important elements, including the important multiple levels of representation, with the shadows representing the objects on the walkway and the objects on the walkway representing the objects outside, etc. It also leaves out all sorts of detail about the return of the cave. Instead, when the freed man returns to the cave, his friends do not recognize him, because he now appears as a shadow on the wall. The clip ends with the narrator emphasizing that the things outside of the cave are “not less real” than the shadows. He doesn’t say that the things outside are more real than the shadows, and he there is no depiction of attempts to free the other prisoners.

Credits: Claymation Artist: John Grigsby, Voice: Kristopher Hutson; Producer Tim Schultz; Photographed by Michael Ramsey and John Grigsby; Editors: Bruce Rudolph and John Grigsby; pyrotechnics: Jack Spivak; PA: Meaghan Lamond.

Publication and availability:Posted to YouTube by the production company that made it, also available at its official website http://platosallegory.com/
ETA:
Gendler, Alex. (Writer). Undated. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. TED Conferences, LLC.
Comments: Gendler is a TED-ed regular who has presentations on topics ranging from how Tsunamis work to logic puzzles. Gendler simplifies the presentation of the cave by eliminating the raised walkway and the puppets that cast shadows on the wall. Instead, the shadows are cast directly by the objects on the outside. This ruins the parallel with the divided line. However, there is still a sense of layering of representation, because he does talk about the escaped prisoner first only looking at reflections of objects in the water. The video concludes with a quick sketch of the theory of the forms. The animation is cute and accompanied by snappy sound effects. Animated. Time: 4:33

Credits: Alex Gendler: Writer/educator; Narration: Addison Anderson; Director: John R. Dilworth; Animator: Pilar Newton/Stretch films; Sound Designer: William Hohauser;

Publication and availability: The video is produced by the TED spin-off TED-Ed, and is covered by a creative commons (BY-NC-ND) license. There is also an online platform that comes with discussion forums and quiz questions and the possibility of creating further lessons that remain under the control of TED-ed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mount St.Mary's targets students with depression for pressure to leave the school.


The survey asked students whether the following statement applied to them during the last week: "I felt that I could not shake the blues, even with the help of family and friends." Students were told there would be no repercussions for their answer, when in fact, their answer would be used to determine whether they would be pressured to leave the school early in order to boost the school's retention numbers.

Every time a lie like this is perpetrated, people with depression become more distrustful of people who seem to be offering help. "I feel terrible all the time. This person might be trying to see if I need help, or they might be trying to identify me as weak so they can shun me." This survey contains the kind of lies that drive people to suicide.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fury Road is feminist in the exact same way Apocalypse Now is anti-war.

Last night while Joey Mined and Crafted, I watched Mad Max: Fury Road, so I can now finally weigh in on the "is it feminist or misogynist" debate. Vague spoilers follow.

Fury Road is feminist in the exact same way Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket are anti-war films. Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket were intended as anti-war films and received when they came out as anti-war. But check out what Anthony Swofford says in his memoir Jarhead:
We watched 'Apocalypse Now' and 'Full Metal Jacket' before we went to war. It was pornography for us. They opened up this historical and psychological narrative. This is what men do when they go to war, we thought. It's a received image of war through film.
also this
All Vietnam War films are all pro-war, no matter what the supposed message, no matter what Kubrick or Coppola or Stone intended. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson in Omaha or San Francisco or Manhattan will watch these films and weep and decide once and for all that war is inhumane and terrible...[we] watch the same films and are excited by them, because the magic brutality of the films celebrates the terrible and despicable beauty of (our) fighting skills. Fight, rape, war, pillage, burn.”
 The parallels to Apocalypse Now are especially deep, because both Apocalypse Now and Fury Road are about confronting militarized cults. Immortan Joe is Colonel Kurtz. In fact the Wikia for Fury Road tells me that before he was a warlord Immortan Joe was known as Colonel Joe Moore. I'm certain the reference is deliberate. Fury road is the Nung River. Apocalypse Now was a slow journey up the Nung River into the heart of darkness. In Fury Road we flee away from the heart of darkness down Fury Road, but then turn around and return.

People called Fury Road feminist because it is about women resisting sexual exploitation. It was intended to be feminist and received by some audiences as feminist, just as Apocalypse Now was intended to be anti-war and received as anti-war. However, some people called Fury Road anti-feminist because it seemed to be itself a form of sexual exploitation, where the suffering of women is used for titillation. But the titillation is only there for viewers like Swofford and his comrades. Most people are going to see the brutality and be horrified, and then find the victory over brutality cathartic. Some people, however, are going to see the brutality and be excited. The movie doesn't cater to this audience, they way some slasher films are said to cater to the audience that sympathizes with the killer. But it doesn't matter. It is still pornography to people who want to experience it as such.

Having made this comparison, you might think I believe Fury Road to be a bad movie, or shouldn't have been made. I don't. I think it is destined to be a classic on the level of Apocalypse Now. I think we need art that makes us confront the horror of these insane military cults, if only because the real world is full of them. The Khmer Rouge, The Lord's Resistance Army, the so-called Islamic State, David Koresh's Branch Davidians: these groups are real and can crop up anywhere. We confront them on the level of fiction so that we can tame our fear of them. We use the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Abortion FAQ, continued: reasons for abortion

As one who is "pro-life", I believe that 99% of abortions are uncalled for under any circumstance.
That's a really high number. Let's think about that a bit more. In this 2005 study, 1% of women seeking abortion said one reason they wanted an abortion because they had been raped. If this is the only justification you allow, then you have your 99%.

But most people also say abortion is justified if it is necessary to save the life of the mother. This makes sense, especially when you are look at situations like ectopic pregnancies, where often your choice is to continue with the pregnancy, and have both the mother and the fetus die, or abort the fetus, and at least save one life. The survey above doesn't list cases where the mother's life is at stake, but it does say that 12% of women list concerns for their own health as reasons for abortion. Of these, 4% listed a physical problem with their health as the "most important" reason they were having an abortion. It is not clear, however, how many of these cases are cases where the mother's life is in danger.

There are also cases where the health of the fetus can motivate an abortion. We've already looked at one case like that in this class: Tay-Sachs disease. A baby born with Tay-Sachs disease will live normally for about a year, but after that, their brain will begin to degenerate, and what follows are seizures, blindness and death by age 5. Many people would say that it is better to have not been born than it is to have such a brief life filled with suffering. Again with these studies, we don't have clear number for cases of abortion that are like the Tay-Sachs case. The 2005 study says that for 13% of the women seeking abortions, the future health of the fetus as a motivation, and for 3% of women it was the most important reason.As with the question of the mother's health, it is not clear what medical problems are being considered here.

So it looks like somewhere between 8% and 25% of abortions are in situations that people commonly view as legitimate reasons to have an abortion. (Gallup reports that 70% of Americans believe that abortion is acceptable in some or all circumstances, and rape and health of the mother are the most common exceptions.) Given this information, do you stand by the 99% number?