Study: New York Times Wrong, Parental Involvement Abortion Laws Work

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 6, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Study: New York Times Wrong, Parental Involvement Abortion Laws Work Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 6, 2006

New York, NY ( — The New York Times is claiming in an article written Monday that parental involvement laws on abortion have little or no impact in terms of reducing the number of abortions. The claim goes against evidence from one researcher who shows they do contribute to reducing the number of teen abortions.

The Times evaluated six states that introduced parental involvement laws in the past decade and claimed to be the first that has looked at parental notification and consent laws introduced after 1999.

The Times says the abortion rate in Tennessee, for example, went down when a federal court blocked the law and went back up when the court allowed it to go into effect. In Texas, the Times reports the abortion rate fell after a notification law went into effect but not as fast as it fell beforehand.

Seemingly contradicting it’s analysis, the Times noted that a Virginia notification law had no effect on the abortion rate but that a parental consent law prompted a sharp decline in abortions.

Mary Spaulding Balch, director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee, told the Times that such laws have become "a key for lowering the abortion rate."

Balch explained that "the laws have a significant impact on the number of abortions minors have."

More comprehensive analysis proves her right and contradicts the Times’ theory.

In January, Dr. Michael New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama, analyzed abortion data from nearly every state for every year from 1985 to 1999.

In 1992, only 20 states were enforcing parental involvement statutes. By 2000, 32 states were enforcing these laws.

New said that pro-life laws of all kinds "all correlated with declines in the abortion rate" and the analysis showed the laws prompted an 18 percent decline in the number of abortions during the 1990s.

New indicates that when a parental involvement law is enacted, the abortion rate decreases by 16.37 abortions for every thousand live births and the abortion rate decreases by 1.15 abortions for every thousand women.

New also studied laws that were allowed to go into effect versus those nullified by the courts.

"The results indicate that enacted laws are correlated with abortion declines, whereas nullified laws have little effect," New explained. "This provides additional evidence that state-level legislation has been effective at reducing the incidence of abortion."

Furthermore, parental involvement laws that are nullified by the courts result in "modest increases in the abortion rate." That expands the benefit of having a parental involvement law on the books and in force.

The Times eventually admitted that when comparing "the first full year after a state began enforcing a parental law with the last full year before the law, it found that abortions among minors dropped an average of 9 percent."

That was four percent more than the drop in abortions among 18 and 19 year-olds who are not subject to parental involvement laws.

Ultimately, according to New, abortions were on the rise in the 1970s and 1980s. During the 1990s and 2000s, states passed hundreds of pro-life laws that have resulted in many states as diverse as Washington, Wisconsin, Kansas and Mississippi having their lowest abortion totals since Roe v. Wade.

Related web sites:
Michael New study on abortion laws –