Monday, March 28, 2011

'Analyzing the effect of anti-abortion state legislation'

The scholarly journal State Politics & Policy Quarterly has published a new study entitled "Analyzing the Effect of Anti-Abortion U.S. State Legislation in the Post-Casey Era."

The report, which is discussed in U.S. News & World Report, is the latest work from Dr. Michael J. New, the leading researcher on the effects of abortion legislation.

From the conclusion (citations omitted):
The number of abortions that were performed consistently increased throughout the 1970s and the 1980s. However, between 1990 and 2005, the number of legal abortions declined by 22.22 percent. ... [O]ne factor that played a role was the increased amount of anti-abortion legislation that was passed at the state level.

Indeed, the Supreme Court's decisions in both Webster and Casey and the electoral success of anti-abortion candidates at the state level resulted in a substantial increase in the number of restrictions on abortion. By 2005, more states had adopted parental involvement laws and informed consent requirements. A comprehensive series of regressions provides evidence that these laws are correlated with declines in in-state abortion rates and ratios.

Furthermore, a series of natural experiments provides even more evidence about the effects of these restrictions on abortion. States where judges nullified anti-abortion legislation were compared to states where anti-abortion legislation went into effect. The results indicate that enforced laws result in significantly larger in-state abortion declines than nullified laws. Other regression results indicated that various types of legislation had disparate and predictable effects on different subsets of the population. For instance, parental involvement laws have a large effect on the abortion rate for minors and virtually no effect on the abortion rate for adults. These results provide further evidence that anti-abortion legislation results in declines in the number of abortions that take place within the boundaries of a given state.
The upshot is this: If we want to reduce the number of abortions (a goal most pro-choice advocates claim to support), we should elect politicians who support pro-life measures, and then lobby them to enact those measures into law. That is what we have done are are continuing to do here in Minnesota in order to reduce abortions and save lives.