Study: Pro-Life Parental Notification Laws Reduce Abortions 15%

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 28, 2011   |   7:21PM   |   Washington, DC

Michael New, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Alabama, recently published a study on abortion in State Politics and Policy Quarterly demonstrating the effectiveness of pro-life laws. 
The study, “Analyzing the Effect of Anti-Abortion U.S. State Legislation in the Post-Casey Era,” evaluated abortion data from nearly every state over a span of 21 years, from 1985 to 2005 – a longer period than nearly any other peer-reviewed study. It contributes to a substantial body of social science research which finds that parental involvement laws and public funding restrictions are effective.
New found in his study that data from both the Centers for Disease Control and the Guttmacher Institute provide solid evidence that Medicaid abortion funding restrictions, parental involvement laws and informed consent laws effectively lower abortion rates. His findings included that parental involvement laws reduce in-state abortion rates for minors by approximately 15 percent. This is among the first peer reviewed studies which shows that informed consent laws have an effect.

“Planned Parenthood and many groups on the Catholic Left often argue that pro-life laws are ineffective,” New told “They claim that contraception spending and more generous welfare benefits are the best ways to reduce abortion rates. In reality, however, there is virtually no peer reviewed research, analyzing actual abortion data, which finds that more spending on either contraception or welfare has any effect on the incidence of abortion.”

“Conversely, this study adds to the sizeable body of peer reviewed research which finds that legal protections for the unborn are effective at lowering abortion rates,” he said.
The study is now part of a substantial body of academic literature showing that such laws are effective in cutting abortions — and back up the anecdotal evidence seen in states like Mississippi, Michigan, South Carolina, Missouri and others where abortions have been cut by half from their previous highs thanks to the passage of several pro-life measures limiting abortions.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins commented on the latest study in remarks to LifeNews.
“Dr. Michael New’s research tells us that parental involvement laws more effectively get parents involved in their kids’ lives, and reduce the number of abortions,” he said. “Almost invariably it is a parent, not a government employee or business entity, who cares most about a daughter’s well-being. This is why we strongly support commonsense laws that reaffirm parents’ unique role as the decision-makers in the life of their child.”
“Politicians can talk about ‘reducing abortion rates,’ but if they truly want to do so they will support parental-involvement legislation and defund such organizations as Planned Parenthood that perform or promotion abortions,” Perkins added.
Dr. New issued a previous study in 2008 showing parental involvement laws reduce abortions anywhere from 19-31 percent for teenagers. 
He also issued a prior study looking at 1985-1999 finding pro-life laws cut teen abortion rates by as much as 50 percent. Parental involvement laws were part of the reason for this decline but not the only reason. 
State Politics and Policy Quarterly serves as the official journal of the state politics and policy section of the American Political Science Association and is one of the top state politics journal in the country.