New Study Shows Texas Parental Notification Law Reduced Teen Abortions

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

New Study Shows Texas Parental Notification Law Reduced Teen Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 9, 2006

Austin, Texas ( — A new study published in this week’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine finds a Texas parental notification law approved in 2000 reduced the number of teen abortions for teenagers across the board. The study is another rebuttal to the claim by the New York Times earlier this week that such laws don’t reduce abortions.

The results find that abortions on 15 year-old dropped 11 percent, on 16 year-olds dropped 20 percent, and fell 16 percent on 17 year-olds.

The figures reflect the numbers since the law went into effect in 2000, which requires abortion practitioners to notify a parent of a teenage girl 48 hours beforehand that she is considering an abortion.

The figured are also adjusted for the fact that birth and abortion rates were already on the decline before the law was put in place.

Theodore Joyce, a professor at the City University of New York who was the lead author of the study, told Reuters the research proves parental involvement laws lower teen abortions.

"This study validates that parental notification laws are having a positive effect in reducing the number of abortions," said Wendy Wright, of Concerned Women for America. Wright said the Texas law, and similar legislation elsewhere, is just "one element of an overall cultural shift that disfavors abortion."

Danielle Tierney, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Austin, Texas, claimed the study simply showed a trend of abortions declining nationwide and had nothing to do with the law.

However, although the abortion rates fell for white and Hispanic teens, the number of abortions on black teenagers did not decline. Joyce said prior research found black teens were more likely to tell their parents about a pregnancy and therefore the law did not have as much of an effect.

The study also found that teenagers were having later-term abortions who were almost 18 at the time they got pregnant. They waited until their 18th birthday to have the abortion to avoid telling their parents.

But Wright pointed out that even older teens still had fewer abortions following the parental notice law.

The analysis is based on state records of approximately 14,000 abortions and 65,000 births per year involving 15 to 19-year-old Texan girls.