Thursday, March 31, 2011
The other day I took up Russell Shaw’s argument that, although most Americans now identify themselves as pro-life they do not vote that way. (See here). When they enter the ballot box they are not convinced that abortion is “the great moral issue of our times” and so cast their vote based on “something else.”
I don’t deny that this is the case. I argued, however, that the unwillingness of many to vote in a way that follows their pro-life convictions may in part be due to a belief that their efforts will be unavailing, that political action cannot make a difference in the frequency of abortion. After all, Roe is still with us thirty-eight years on.
I also argued that this belief in pro-life futility, while understandable, is profoundly mistaken, and that the efficacy of pro-life legislation can be demonstrated empirically. Here I referred to the path-breaking work of Michael New.
As it turns out, Prof. New has a new article in which he examines the effect that informed consent, parental notification, and restrictions on public funding laws passed at the state level following the Supreme Court’s decisions in Webster and Casey had on the incidnce of abortion. In the paper he compares states where judges nullified anti-abortion laws with states where such laws went into effect.
The results indicate that enforced laws result in significantly larger in-state abortion declines than nullified laws. Other regression results indicated that various types of legislation had disparate but predictable effects on different subsets of the population. For instance, parental involvement laws have a large effect on the abortion rate for minors and virtually no effect on the abortion rate for adults. These results provide further evidence that anti-abortion legislation results in declines in the number of abortions that take place within the boundaries of a given state.
Check out the entire study here.