by Steven Ertelt
February 7, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new study finds that pro-life laws such as parental notification or consent reduced the abortion rate on teenage girls by more than 50 percent. Dr. Michael New says that parental involvement laws passed in the 1990s resulted in a "dramatic decrease in the incidence of abortion among minors."
In 1985, 13.5 abortions were performed on minors for every 1,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 17. By 1999, the abortion rate for minors had fallen by over 50 percent to 6.5 per 1,000 teenage girls ages 13 to 17.
New, a political science professor at the University of Alabama, points out that only 20 states enforced parental involvement statutes in 1992 but that number increased to 32 by 2000.
Dr. New said that a strong economy and an increase in teenagers abstaining from sexual relations likely contributed to the decline.
But, "pro-life legislation enacted during the 1990s, particularly parental involvement laws intended to influence minors, were effective in reducing abortion."
According to Dr. New’s study, parental involvement laws reduced the minor abortion rate by an average of 1.67 abortions per 1,000 females between the ages of 13 and 17.
In addition, restrictions on the use of state taxpayer funds through Medicaid reduced the minor abortion rate by an average of 2.34 abortions per 1,000 females between the ages of 13 and 17.
Specifically, the passage of a parental involvement law correlates with a 16 percent decline in the minor abortion rate, and the passage of Medicaid funding restrictions correlates with a 23 percent decline in the minor abortion rate.
"The results of two natural experiments indicate that pro-life legislation … is responsible for the declines in abortion," New said.
New said some people may be surprised that abortion funding restrictions led to a greater decline in teenage abortions than parental involvement laws.
"While at first glance the larger effect of public funding restrictions may seem surprising, it is reasonable to believe that public funding could affect the decisions of minors because minors in many states are eligible for publicly funded abortions if their parents are on Medicaid," he explained.
"In the absence of public funding, many abortion clinics may shut down or move out of state, which may reduce the abortion rate among minors," New added.
New also found that states where parental involvement laws had been overturned did not experience the same large decline in the abortion rate on minors.
"Although the decline in the overall incidence of abortion during the 1990s has been widely reported, scant attention has been paid to the more dramatic reduction in abortion rates among minors," New concluded.
"While a number of factors may have contributed to this decline, the impact of pro-life legislation on the incidence of abortion among minors cannot be overlooked."
Related web sites:
Dr. Michael New’s study – https://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/cda07-01.cfm