SHOCKER: Pro-life legislation reduces the number of abortions

So says an MIT researcher writing for the Heritage Foundation:

The research, by Harvard-MIT Data Center post-doctoral fellow Michael J. New, is published by the Heritage Foundation ( It explains the key role of life-affirming state laws in the substantial decline in the number of abortions during the 1990s– after a rise in abortions during the 1970s and 1980s.

“Dr. New’s research shows that when politicians and judges decide against life-affirming legislation, they are like lifeguards turning their backs to the water,” said Denise Burke, staff counsel with Americans United for Life (AUL).

Using regression analysis, New’s research shows that, by the end of the 1990s, four common types of state pro-life legislation were effective at reducing the number of abortions. Looking at state abortion data for every year from 1985 to 1999 (while holding a variety of economic and demographic factors constant), the Heritage study examines the impact of parental-involvement laws, Medicaid-funding restrictions, informed-consent laws, and partial-birth-abortion bans.

I’m not mocking the study (well yes, in a way I suppose I am) because it does provide some worthwhile information regarding a direct link between pro-life legislation and abortion ratios in the United States. So the next time someone asks you the direct relationship, you can point to this study rather than rely on correlation. Still, in an instance where common sense prevailed, you just have to sit back and wonder sometimes why studies like this are necessary.

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