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Study: Pro-life Laws Aid Abortion Decline

BY AMANDA KATE WINKELMAN                                                         ©2011 Baptist Press
Various state-level pro-life measures result in "statistically significant declines" in the country's abortion rate, according to a study in the State Politics & Policy Quarterly.
The report by Michael New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama, revealed a correlation between the drop in the number of abortions in the United States and the rise in state regulation of abortion, including laws requiring informed consent, waiting periods, and parental involvement.
Abortions in the United States declined by 22.2 percent between 1990 and 2005 according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. New said several factors might play a role in the decrease in abortions, but his research focused on the relation of two U.S. Supreme Court opinions to the decline--Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992).
The Casey decision allowed states to regulate abortions as long as the regulations do not pose an "undue burden" on women. In 1992, New pointed out, no states had informed consent laws or waiting periods. By 2005, however, 33 states had informed consent laws and 22 states required women to wait a specified period of time before obtaining abortions. In 2005 34 states also enforced parental involvement laws. 35008

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