Recap: SPL at the Democrats for Life of America Conference

Many of our followers know by now that SPL is run by three atheist women: Monica the conservative, Kelsey the independent, and me (Terrisa), the flaming liberal. Naturally, when Democrats for Life of America cleverly sought out a secular speaker for their national conference in Lansing, Michigan, I was happy to fulfill the role!

I work full-time in the pro-life movement and have been to countless pro-life conferences. The first thing that is noticeably different about the DFLA National Conference is just how much resistance it inspires from pro-choice groups. This year, a local groups took out three (yes three!) expensive billboards with the MSU specific message “Go Green, Go White, Go Home Dems for Life!” Little did they know that DFLA Executive Director, Kristen Day, is MSU alumna! In addition, they dropped off flyers at the conference venue in the days leading up to the event. Similarly, last year at the 2018 conference in Denver, Colorado, a billboard was taken out exalting that “Abortion access is a Progressive Value” and NARAL hosted a press conference outside the venue to address the event!

I find these efforts kind of shocking considering what a relatively small pro-life effort we are. I’ve rarely if ever encountered anything similar at a more traditionally conservative event. Pro-life Dems are often referred to as unicorns, like we’re so rare were a myth. But it’s this effort to counter us that reminds me: Democrats who want to see abortion more restricted than it is today-contrary to the party platform-are actually in the majority. The abortion industry almost exclusively maintains political power through the financial relationship they have with our party. Pro-life Dems pose a unique threat to the future of that relationship.

The conference was lively, fun, diverse, and welcoming. Sure, it skewed a little older and more religious, but the topics and speakers were timely and engaged with topics relevant to us left-leaning types like protecting the life and dignity of immigrants, those who are incarcerated, death row inmates, the LGBT community, enemy combatants, and so much more. It’s pretty cool to be in a room full of people who align so closely in ideology to your own. Especially since being a pro-life activist alone can be so isolating.

I presented a talk that Kelsey, Monica, and I developed together earlier this year, discussing the relationship between millennials, secularists, and leftists, why it matters, and what we can do about it to effectively win hearts and minds for life! Due to the nature of the conference it has a bit more of a left take on the concept but be assured, SPL is nonpartisan and welcome to all! Check it out here.

Then on Tuesday, DFLA hosted a press conference outside the Democratic Presidential debate in nearby Detroit, Michigan. They have created a political action committee to compel a qualified pro-life Democratic candidate to come forward and run for President of the United States in 2020! I spoke about the need for someone to represent the majority of Democrats and even Millennials by supporting abortion restrictions. Kristen Day urged the party not to ignore the 1 in 3 Democrats who are pro-life.

It’s an interesting time for being a pro-life Dem. Our party platform is as extreme as it gets, even calling for an end to the Hyde Amendment, which has saved more than 2 million lives. If you’re left-leaning and pro-life, now’s the time to be heard! Pro-life Dems are uniquely equipped to reach the next generation and replace the abortion influence with a culture of life. And together with our right leaning pro-life fam, we can end the abortion regime in America forever.

Recap: SPL at the Democrats for Life of America Conference

Many of our followers know by now that SPL is run by three atheist women: Monica the conservative, Kelsey the independent, and me (Terrisa), the flaming liberal. Naturally, when Democrats for Life of America cleverly sought out a secular speaker for their national conference in Lansing, Michigan, I was happy to fulfill the role!

I work full-time in the pro-life movement and have been to countless pro-life conferences. The first thing that is noticeably different about the DFLA National Conference is just how much resistance it inspires from pro-choice groups. This year, a local groups took out three (yes three!) expensive billboards with the MSU specific message “Go Green, Go White, Go Home Dems for Life!” Little did they know that DFLA Executive Director, Kristen Day, is MSU alumna! In addition, they dropped off flyers at the conference venue in the days leading up to the event. Similarly, last year at the 2018 conference in Denver, Colorado, a billboard was taken out exalting that “Abortion access is a Progressive Value” and NARAL hosted a press conference outside the venue to address the event!

I find these efforts kind of shocking considering what a relatively small pro-life effort we are. I’ve rarely if ever encountered anything similar at a more traditionally conservative event. Pro-life Dems are often referred to as unicorns, like we’re so rare were a myth. But it’s this effort to counter us that reminds me: Democrats who want to see abortion more restricted than it is today-contrary to the party platform-are actually in the majority. The abortion industry almost exclusively maintains political power through the financial relationship they have with our party. Pro-life Dems pose a unique threat to the future of that relationship.

The conference was lively, fun, diverse, and welcoming. Sure, it skewed a little older and more religious, but the topics and speakers were timely and engaged with topics relevant to us left-leaning types like protecting the life and dignity of immigrants, those who are incarcerated, death row inmates, the LGBT community, enemy combatants, and so much more. It’s pretty cool to be in a room full of people who align so closely in ideology to your own. Especially since being a pro-life activist alone can be so isolating.

I presented a talk that Kelsey, Monica, and I developed together earlier this year, discussing the relationship between millennials, secularists, and leftists, why it matters, and what we can do about it to effectively win hearts and minds for life! Due to the nature of the conference it has a bit more of a left take on the concept but be assured, SPL is nonpartisan and welcome to all! Check it out here.

Then on Tuesday, DFLA hosted a press conference outside the Democratic Presidential debate in nearby Detroit, Michigan. They have created a political action committee to compel a qualified pro-life Democratic candidate to come forward and run for President of the United States in 2020! I spoke about the need for someone to represent the majority of Democrats and even Millennials by supporting abortion restrictions. Kristen Day urged the party not to ignore the 1 in 3 Democrats who are pro-life.

It’s an interesting time for being a pro-life Dem. Our party platform is as extreme as it gets, even calling for an end to the Hyde Amendment, which has saved more than 2 million lives. If you’re left-leaning and pro-life, now’s the time to be heard! Pro-life Dems are uniquely equipped to reach the next generation and replace the abortion influence with a culture of life. And together with our right leaning pro-life fam, we can end the abortion regime in America forever.

Thoughts on Oregon Measure 106

There are many pro-choicers who I have heard accusing pro-lifers of incrementalism—saying that they can’t give into something like a national third trimester ban, because pro-lifers wouldn’t stop at that. Once pro-lifers attained that, they would keep pushing for more and more, until the right to end the life of a fetus was completely lost. I do think that if this country could attain European-style limits on abortion (i.e. a limit somewhere mid-second trimester) the pro-life movement would lose its critical mass to be effective; mild pro-lifers just don’t get as riled up when the humans in question for extermination don’t look very much like a baby. But I don’t think these accusations are without merit. I certainly would still be politically anti-abortion, and I know many other activists would be as well.

But I think what doesn’t get talked about so much is the incrementalism of pro-choicers as well. The conversation among pro-choicers is often cast in the veneer of protecting Roe v. Wade, but that’s not all it is about these days. It is about pushing for more and more on the side of being able to kill your offspring in fetus form. Nowhere was this more evident in the recent decision by the Democratic Party to include in its platform, an effort to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions.

I feel like this incrementalism is apparent even more so on the state level. In some states, we see forces like planned parenthood decrying “anti-choice” for requiring clinic regulations that would ultimately likely result in the closure of those non-complying clinics. A common refrain from pro-choicers is that it’s not like the government pays for abortions, so the pro-life movement should just back down and let people do what they want.

But that is not what is being said in my state of residence. Oregon, one of the few states to allow abortion up to the moment of birth, also has the distinction that state funds most certainly can be used to pay for these abortions. For whatever reason.

Enter Measure 106. This measure would put an end to all state funding of elective abortions. (Medical allowances would remain.) It’s been tried before and failed. Twice.

In this extreme pro-abortion rights state, this is what counts as where the battle line is drawn. Not requirements of hospital access. Not term limits. Not parental consent. There are none of those laws here. The battle line is drawn about whether or not a person should be compelled to pay for the killing of someone else’s unborn child.

Dear pro-choicers, of whom, I feel so many do mean well,

Not forcing your opposition to pay for the thing they are so strongly against, I feel like, is the tiniest, most basic of bones you could toss them. It is the very least you could do to try to get over this huge rift in our country and get to something to quell the useless moralistic outrage on both sides. The people against Measure 106 are my friends and neighbors of course, so it kills me when I can chat with them about how we don’t want to fund the next blood-for-oil war, and that it is unjust that we should do so, only to then have them later justify their opposition of 106 with a shrug and an “everyone has to pay for things they don’t believe in”. It so completely demonstrates to me how pro-choice activism ratchets up to pro-abortion through incrementalism.

So to me, I have come to a new frame of mind as a result of this local conversation. While I to believe it to be unjust, I personally have less political will to fight policy about RU-486, or super early term abortions. But I know we in the pro-life movement must treat those causes with as much seriousness as elective third trimester abortions. Because once the pro-choice side wins on that, they won’t clap their hands and go home. Next up, they will be demanding abortion up to birth in every state, then that every tax payer pay on demand for anyone to kill their child for any reason.

[Today’s guest post by KB is par of our paid blogging program.]

Thoughts on Oregon Measure 106

There are many pro-choicers who I have heard accusing pro-lifers of incrementalism—saying that they can’t give into something like a national third trimester ban, because pro-lifers wouldn’t stop at that. Once pro-lifers attained that, they would keep pushing for more and more, until the right to end the life of a fetus was completely lost. I do think that if this country could attain European-style limits on abortion (i.e. a limit somewhere mid-second trimester) the pro-life movement would lose its critical mass to be effective; mild pro-lifers just don’t get as riled up when the humans in question for extermination don’t look very much like a baby. But I don’t think these accusations are without merit. I certainly would still be politically anti-abortion, and I know many other activists would be as well.

But I think what doesn’t get talked about so much is the incrementalism of pro-choicers as well. The conversation among pro-choicers is often cast in the veneer of protecting Roe v. Wade, but that’s not all it is about these days. It is about pushing for more and more on the side of being able to kill your offspring in fetus form. Nowhere was this more evident in the recent decision by the Democratic Party to include in its platform, an effort to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions.

I feel like this incrementalism is apparent even more so on the state level. In some states, we see forces like planned parenthood decrying “anti-choice” for requiring clinic regulations that would ultimately likely result in the closure of those non-complying clinics. A common refrain from pro-choicers is that it’s not like the government pays for abortions, so the pro-life movement should just back down and let people do what they want.

But that is not what is being said in my state of residence. Oregon, one of the few states to allow abortion up to the moment of birth, also has the distinction that state funds most certainly can be used to pay for these abortions. For whatever reason.

Enter Measure 106. This measure would put an end to all state funding of elective abortions. (Medical allowances would remain.) It’s been tried before and failed. Twice.

In this extreme pro-abortion rights state, this is what counts as where the battle line is drawn. Not requirements of hospital access. Not term limits. Not parental consent. There are none of those laws here. The battle line is drawn about whether or not a person should be compelled to pay for the killing of someone else’s unborn child.

Dear pro-choicers, of whom, I feel so many do mean well,

Not forcing your opposition to pay for the thing they are so strongly against, I feel like, is the tiniest, most basic of bones you could toss them. It is the very least you could do to try to get over this huge rift in our country and get to something to quell the useless moralistic outrage on both sides. The people against Measure 106 are my friends and neighbors of course, so it kills me when I can chat with them about how we don’t want to fund the next blood-for-oil war, and that it is unjust that we should do so, only to then have them later justify their opposition of 106 with a shrug and an “everyone has to pay for things they don’t believe in”. It so completely demonstrates to me how pro-choice activism ratchets up to pro-abortion through incrementalism.

So to me, I have come to a new frame of mind as a result of this local conversation. While I to believe it to be unjust, I personally have less political will to fight policy about RU-486, or super early term abortions. But I know we in the pro-life movement must treat those causes with as much seriousness as elective third trimester abortions. Because once the pro-choice side wins on that, they won’t clap their hands and go home. Next up, they will be demanding abortion up to birth in every state, then that every tax payer pay on demand for anyone to kill their child for any reason.

[Today’s guest post by KB is par of our paid blogging program.]

The Democratic Party Needs Pro-Lifers

In the 45 years since Roe v. Wade,
the Democratic Party has never had less control in Washington D.C. than it does now. Interestingly, the Democratic Party has also never had a more radical
position on abortion. The
official Democratic Party platform
states:

Every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe
and legal abortion… We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to
defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health
services to millions of people. We will continue to oppose—and seek to
overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to
abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.

In short, the
platform advocates for taxpayer-funded abortion throughout all nine months of
pregnancy for any reason whatsoever. The policy could not be more extreme than
that. Democrats for Life
of America (DFLA) believes the DNC’s radical position on abortion is largely
responsible for the recent decline of the Democratic Party.

In DFLA’s position paper titled, “Open the Big Tent,” they note that 25 state legislatures are currently under complete GOP
control, but only six are under complete Democrat control. The DFLA report also
notes that the Democrats do not control a single legislative chamber in the South.

However, there is
a lone bright spot for southern Democrats. John Bel Edwards, the governor of
Louisiana, is a pro-life Democrat who recently signed a bill banning abortion after 15 weeks gestational age. As DFLA notes, Democrats have completely lost control of the South, but
pro-life Democrats like Edwards prove this does not have to be the case.
Democrats could win more elections in the South, but they need pro-life
candidates to appeal to the South’s pro-life voters. The success of Governor
Edwards and the failure of pro-choice Democrats in the rest of the South confirms
this. 
Furthermore, the
DNC’s position on abortion fails to reflect the views of their own voters. According to the Washington Times, 61 percent of Democrats support limiting legal abortion to the first
three months of pregnancy. The New York Times “Abortion Memo” from February notes that only 24 percent of young voters support
abortion under all circumstances. And earlier this month, the
Washington Post stated
Democrats must change to
appeal to the overwhelming majority of Americans who oppose late-term abortion,
noting that “armies don’t shrink their way to victory.” 
The DNC party platform
is terribly out of touch with American beliefs on abortion, and Democrats have
suffered massive losses because of this. If the Democratic Party wants to gain
political power, they must appeal to more voters by “opening the big tent” and
welcoming pro-life candidates
[Today’s guest post by Pat Thomas is part of our paid blogging program.]

The Democratic Party Needs Pro-Lifers

In the 45 years since Roe v. Wade,
the Democratic Party has never had less control in Washington D.C. than it does now. Interestingly, the Democratic Party has also never had a more radical
position on abortion. The
official Democratic Party platform
states:

Every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe
and legal abortion… We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to
defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health
services to millions of people. We will continue to oppose—and seek to
overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to
abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.

In short, the
platform advocates for taxpayer-funded abortion throughout all nine months of
pregnancy for any reason whatsoever. The policy could not be more extreme than
that. Democrats for Life
of America (DFLA) believes the DNC’s radical position on abortion is largely
responsible for the recent decline of the Democratic Party.

In DFLA’s position paper titled, “Open the Big Tent,” they note that 25 state legislatures are currently under complete GOP
control, but only six are under complete Democrat control. The DFLA report also
notes that the Democrats do not control a single legislative chamber in the South.

However, there is
a lone bright spot for southern Democrats. John Bel Edwards, the governor of
Louisiana, is a pro-life Democrat who recently signed a bill banning abortion after 15 weeks gestational age. As DFLA notes, Democrats have completely lost control of the South, but
pro-life Democrats like Edwards prove this does not have to be the case.
Democrats could win more elections in the South, but they need pro-life
candidates to appeal to the South’s pro-life voters. The success of Governor
Edwards and the failure of pro-choice Democrats in the rest of the South confirms
this. 
Furthermore, the
DNC’s position on abortion fails to reflect the views of their own voters. According to the Washington Times, 61 percent of Democrats support limiting legal abortion to the first
three months of pregnancy. The New York Times “Abortion Memo” from February notes that only 24 percent of young voters support
abortion under all circumstances. And earlier this month, the
Washington Post stated
Democrats must change to
appeal to the overwhelming majority of Americans who oppose late-term abortion,
noting that “armies don’t shrink their way to victory.” 
The DNC party platform
is terribly out of touch with American beliefs on abortion, and Democrats have
suffered massive losses because of this. If the Democratic Party wants to gain
political power, they must appeal to more voters by “opening the big tent” and
welcoming pro-life candidates
[Today’s guest post by Pat Thomas is part of our paid blogging program.]

More evidence that abortion restrictions decrease abortion rates.

As a follow up to our previous post (Pro-life laws stop abortions. Here’s the evidence.) here in chronological order are more studies suggesting that abortion restrictions do decrease abortion—and not just legal abortion, but abortion in general. Note how many of the studies focus on how abortion policy affects birth rates rather than only the abortion rate itself.

“If all states observed the Hyde Amendment restrictions, many thousands of Medicaid-eligible women who would have obtained abortions under the 1977 funding policy would not receive them.” The impact of restricting Medicaid financing for abortion. Family Planning Perspectives, June 1980

“Analysis of statewide data from the three States indicated that following restrictions on State funding of abortions, the proportion of reported pregnancies resulting in births, rather than in abortions, increased in all three States.” Trends in rates of live births and abortions following state restrictions on public funding of abortion. Public Health Reports, December 1990

“The data show that 13% fewer had abortions in August through December than would have been expected on the basis of the number who had abortions in January through July.” The Effects of Mandatory Delay Laws on Abortion Patients and Providers, Family Planning Perspectives, October 1994

“A maximal estimate suggests that 22 percent of the abortions among low-income women that are publicly funded do not take place after funding is eliminated.” State Abortion Rates: The Impact of Policies, Providers, Politics, Demographics, and Economic Environment, Journal of Health Economics, October 1996.

“Access variables, including the restrictiveness of state laws regulating abortion, state funding of abortions for poor women and the availability of hospital abortions, affect abortion rates directly.” The role of access in explaining state abortion rates, Social Science & Medicine, April 1997

“The incidence of abortion is found to be lower in states where access to providers is reduced and state policies are restrictive.” The effects of economic conditions and access to reproductive health services on state abortion rates and birthrates. Family Planning Perspectives, April 1997

“The decline in geographic access to abortion providers during the 1980s accounted for a small but significant portion of the rise in the percentage of women heading families.” State abortion policy, geographic access to abortion providers and changing family formation. Family Planning Perspectives. December 1998.

“States legalizing abortion experienced a 4% decline in fertility relative to states where the legal status of abortion was unchanged.” Roe v. Wade and American fertility, American Journal of Public Health, February 1999

“The Texas parental notification law was associated with a decline in abortion rates among minors from 15 to 17 years of age.” Changes in Abortions and Births and the Texas Parental Notification Law, The New England Journal of Medicine, March 2006

“Our results indicate that much of the reduction in fertility at the time abortion was legalized was permanent in that women did not have more subsequent births as a result.” Abortion Legalization and Lifecycle Fertility, The Journal of Human Resources, 2007

“The empirical results find that increases in the price of an abortion and the enforcement of a Parental Involvement Law decrease the number of infants available for adoption in a state. States that do not fund Medicaid abortions do not have higher rates of infant relinquishment.” The effect of abortion costs on adoption in the USA, International Journal of Social Economics, 2008

“Overall, the results show that laws that increased minors’ access to abortion in the 1960s and 1970s had a larger impact on minors’ birthrates than laws that increased oral contraceptive access.” Fertility Effects of Abortion and Birth Control Pill Access for Minors, Demography, November 2008

“Approximately one-fourth of women who would have Medicaid-funded abortions instead give birth when this funding is unavailable.” Restrictions on Medicaid Funding for Abortions: A Literature Review, Guttmacher Institute, June 2009

“Robustness tests supported the association between access to abortion and decreased birthrates, while the relationship between access to the pill and birthrates received less support.” Abortion or Pill Access Is Associated with Lower Birthrates Among Minors, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, March 2009

“Minors in states with mandatory waiting periods were more than two times as likely to report an unintended birth.” How Are Restrictive Abortion Statutes Associated With Unintended Teen Birth? Journal of Adolescent Health, August 2010

“A series of regressions on a comprehensive time series cross-sectional data set provides evidence that several types of state-level anti-abortion legislation result in statistically significant declines in both the abortion rate and the abortion ratio.” Analyzing the Effect of Anti-Abortion U.S. State Legislation in the Post-Casey Era, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, March 2011

“[If Roe v. Wade were overturned] abortion rates would fall by 14.9 percent nationally, resulting in at most, 178,800 additional births or 4.2 percent of the U.S. total in 2008. A ban in 17 states would result in a 6.0 percent decline in abortions and at most, 1.7 percent rise in births.” Back to the Future? Abortion Before & After Roe, National Bureau of Economic Research, August 2012

“The empirical results add to the substantial body of peer-reviewed research which finds that public funding restrictions, parental involvement laws, and properly designed informed consent laws all reduce the incidence of abortion.” Analyzing the Effect of Anti-Abortion U.S. State Legislation in the Post-Casey Era – A Reassessment, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, July 2014

“We estimated that each year more than 4000 US women are denied an abortion because of facility gestational limits and must carry unwanted pregnancies to term.” Denial of Abortion Because of Provider Gestational Age Limits in the United States American Public Health Association August 2014

“I estimate an increase in the birthrate of 4% to 12% when abortion is restricted. In the absence of anti-abortion laws, fertility would have been 5% to 12% lower in the early twentieth century.” The Effect of Anti-Abortion Legislation on Nineteenth Century Fertility, Demography, June 2015

“Counties with no facility in 2014 but no change in distance to a facility between 2012 and 2014 had a 1.3% (95% CI, −1.5% to 4.0%) decline in abortions. When the change in distance was 100 miles or more, the number of abortions decreased 50.3% (95% CI, 48.0% to 52.7%).” Change in Distance to Nearest Facility and Abortion in Texas, 2012 to 2014 Journal of the American Medical Association, January 2017

“Increases in distance have significant effects for women initially living within 200 miles of a clinic. The largest effect is for those nearest to clinics for whom a 25-mile increase reduces abortion 10%.” How Far is Too Far? New Evidence on Abortion Clinic Closures, Access, and Abortions National Bureau of Economic Research, May 2017

“This law caused an increase in viewing rates and a statistically significant but small increase in continuing pregnancy rates.” Evaluating the impact of a mandatory pre-abortion ultrasound viewing law: A mixed methods study PLoS One July 2017

“We estimate that over the past 25 years, parental involvement laws have resulted in half a million additional teen births.” Did Parental Involvement Laws Grow Teeth? The Effects of State Restrictions on Minors’ Access to Abortion, Institute for the Study of Labor, August 31, 2017 (See the SPL blog post about this specific paper here.)

“Trends in sexual behavior suggest that young women’s increased access to the birth control pill fueled the sexual revolution, but neither these trends nor difference-in-difference estimates support the view that this also led to substantial changes in family formation. Rather, the estimates robustly suggest that it was liberalized access to abortion that allowed large numbers of women to delay marriage and motherhood.” The Power of Abortion Policy: Reexamining the Effects of Young Women’s Access to Reproductive Control, Journal of Political Economy, November 2017

“Participants were asked if they had considered abortion for this pregnancy and, if so, reasons they did not obtain one…more participants who had considered abortion in Louisiana than Maryland reported a policy-related reason (primarily lack of funding for the abortion) as a reason (22% Louisiana, 2% Maryland, p < 0.001).” Consideration of and Reasons for Not Obtaining Abortion Among Women Entering Prenatal Care in Southern Louisiana and Baltimore, Maryland, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, October 2018

“Existing estimates suggest 10% of Louisiana pregnancies end in abortion. If Medicaid covered abortion, this would increase to 14%.” Estimating the proportion of Medicaid-eligible pregnant women in Louisiana who do not get abortions when Medicaid does not cover abortion BMC Women’s Health, June 2019

“Greater exposure to ARs [abortion restrictions] was associated with increased risk of UIB [unintended birth].” Implications of Restrictive Abortion Laws on Unintended Births in the U.S.: A Cross-Sectional Multilevel Analysis APHA’s 2019 Annual Meeting and Expo, November 2019

“We examine characteristics and experiences of women who considered, but did not have, an abortion for this pregnancy….Interviewees who considered abortion and were subject to multiple restrictions on abortion identified material and instrumental impacts of policies that, collectively, contributed to them not having an abortion.” Complex situations: Economic insecurity, mental health, and substance use among pregnant women who consider – but do not have – abortions PLOS ONE January 2020

Further reading:

More evidence that abortion restrictions decrease abortion rates.

As a follow up to our previous post (Pro-life laws stop abortions. Here’s the evidence.) here in chronological order are more studies suggesting that abortion restrictions do decrease abortion—and not just legal abortion, but abortion in general. Note how many of the studies focus on how abortion policy affects birth rates rather than only the abortion rate itself.

“If all states observed the Hyde Amendment restrictions, many thousands of Medicaid-eligible women who would have obtained abortions under the 1977 funding policy would not receive them.” The impact of restricting Medicaid financing for abortion. Family Planning Perspectives, June 1980

“Analysis of statewide data from the three States indicated that following restrictions on State funding of abortions, the proportion of reported pregnancies resulting in births, rather than in abortions, increased in all three States.” Trends in rates of live births and abortions following state restrictions on public funding of abortion. Public Health Reports, December 1990

“The data show that 13% fewer had abortions in August through December than would have been expected on the basis of the number who had abortions in January through July.” The Effects of Mandatory Delay Laws on Abortion Patients and Providers, Family Planning Perspectives, October 1994

“A maximal estimate suggests that 22 percent of the abortions among low-income women that are publicly funded do not take place after funding is eliminated.” State Abortion Rates: The Impact of Policies, Providers, Politics, Demographics, and Economic Environment, Journal of Health Economics, October 1996.

“Access variables, including the restrictiveness of state laws regulating abortion, state funding of abortions for poor women and the availability of hospital abortions, affect abortion rates directly.” The role of access in explaining state abortion rates, Social Science & Medicine, April 1997

“The incidence of abortion is found to be lower in states where access to providers is reduced and state policies are restrictive.” The effects of economic conditions and access to reproductive health services on state abortion rates and birthrates. Family Planning Perspectives, April 1997

“The decline in geographic access to abortion providers during the 1980s accounted for a small but significant portion of the rise in the percentage of women heading families.” State abortion policy, geographic access to abortion providers and changing family formation. Family Planning Perspectives. December 1998.

“States legalizing abortion experienced a 4% decline in fertility relative to states where the legal status of abortion was unchanged.” Roe v. Wade and American fertility, American Journal of Public Health, February 1999

“The Texas parental notification law was associated with a decline in abortion rates among minors from 15 to 17 years of age.” Changes in Abortions and Births and the Texas Parental Notification Law, The New England Journal of Medicine, March 2006

“Our results indicate that much of the reduction in fertility at the time abortion was legalized was permanent in that women did not have more subsequent births as a result.” Abortion Legalization and Lifecycle Fertility, The Journal of Human Resources, 2007

“The empirical results find that increases in the price of an abortion and the enforcement of a Parental Involvement Law decrease the number of infants available for adoption in a state. States that do not fund Medicaid abortions do not have higher rates of infant relinquishment.” The effect of abortion costs on adoption in the USA, International Journal of Social Economics, 2008

“Overall, the results show that laws that increased minors’ access to abortion in the 1960s and 1970s had a larger impact on minors’ birthrates than laws that increased oral contraceptive access.” Fertility Effects of Abortion and Birth Control Pill Access for Minors, Demography, November 2008

“Approximately one-fourth of women who would have Medicaid-funded abortions instead give birth when this funding is unavailable.” Restrictions on Medicaid Funding for Abortions: A Literature Review, Guttmacher Institute, June 2009

“Robustness tests supported the association between access to abortion and decreased birthrates, while the relationship between access to the pill and birthrates received less support.” Abortion or Pill Access Is Associated with Lower Birthrates Among Minors, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, March 2009

“Minors in states with mandatory waiting periods were more than two times as likely to report an unintended birth.” How Are Restrictive Abortion Statutes Associated With Unintended Teen Birth? Journal of Adolescent Health, August 2010

“A series of regressions on a comprehensive time series cross-sectional data set provides evidence that several types of state-level anti-abortion legislation result in statistically significant declines in both the abortion rate and the abortion ratio.” Analyzing the Effect of Anti-Abortion U.S. State Legislation in the Post-Casey Era, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, March 2011

“[If Roe v. Wade were overturned] abortion rates would fall by 14.9 percent nationally, resulting in at most, 178,800 additional births or 4.2 percent of the U.S. total in 2008. A ban in 17 states would result in a 6.0 percent decline in abortions and at most, 1.7 percent rise in births.” Back to the Future? Abortion Before & After Roe, National Bureau of Economic Research, August 2012

“The empirical results add to the substantial body of peer-reviewed research which finds that public funding restrictions, parental involvement laws, and properly designed informed consent laws all reduce the incidence of abortion.” Analyzing the Effect of Anti-Abortion U.S. State Legislation in the Post-Casey Era – A Reassessment, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, July 2014

“We estimated that each year more than 4000 US women are denied an abortion because of facility gestational limits and must carry unwanted pregnancies to term.” Denial of Abortion Because of Provider Gestational Age Limits in the United States American Public Health Association August 2014

“I estimate an increase in the birthrate of 4% to 12% when abortion is restricted. In the absence of anti-abortion laws, fertility would have been 5% to 12% lower in the early twentieth century.” The Effect of Anti-Abortion Legislation on Nineteenth Century Fertility, Demography, June 2015

“Counties with no facility in 2014 but no change in distance to a facility between 2012 and 2014 had a 1.3% (95% CI, −1.5% to 4.0%) decline in abortions. When the change in distance was 100 miles or more, the number of abortions decreased 50.3% (95% CI, 48.0% to 52.7%).” Change in Distance to Nearest Facility and Abortion in Texas, 2012 to 2014 Journal of the American Medical Association, January 2017

“Increases in distance have significant effects for women initially living within 200 miles of a clinic. The largest effect is for those nearest to clinics for whom a 25-mile increase reduces abortion 10%.” How Far is Too Far? New Evidence on Abortion Clinic Closures, Access, and Abortions National Bureau of Economic Research, May 2017

“This law caused an increase in viewing rates and a statistically significant but small increase in continuing pregnancy rates.” Evaluating the impact of a mandatory pre-abortion ultrasound viewing law: A mixed methods study PLoS One July 2017

“We estimate that over the past 25 years, parental involvement laws have resulted in half a million additional teen births.” Did Parental Involvement Laws Grow Teeth? The Effects of State Restrictions on Minors’ Access to Abortion, Institute for the Study of Labor, August 31, 2017 (See the SPL blog post about this specific paper here.)

“Trends in sexual behavior suggest that young women’s increased access to the birth control pill fueled the sexual revolution, but neither these trends nor difference-in-difference estimates support the view that this also led to substantial changes in family formation. Rather, the estimates robustly suggest that it was liberalized access to abortion that allowed large numbers of women to delay marriage and motherhood.” The Power of Abortion Policy: Reexamining the Effects of Young Women’s Access to Reproductive Control, Journal of Political Economy, November 2017

“Participants were asked if they had considered abortion for this pregnancy and, if so, reasons they did not obtain one…more participants who had considered abortion in Louisiana than Maryland reported a policy-related reason (primarily lack of funding for the abortion) as a reason (22% Louisiana, 2% Maryland, p < 0.001).” Consideration of and Reasons for Not Obtaining Abortion Among Women Entering Prenatal Care in Southern Louisiana and Baltimore, Maryland, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, October 2018

“Existing estimates suggest 10% of Louisiana pregnancies end in abortion. If Medicaid covered abortion, this would increase to 14%.” Estimating the proportion of Medicaid-eligible pregnant women in Louisiana who do not get abortions when Medicaid does not cover abortion BMC Women’s Health, June 2019

“Greater exposure to ARs [abortion restrictions] was associated with increased risk of UIB [unintended birth].” Implications of Restrictive Abortion Laws on Unintended Births in the U.S.: A Cross-Sectional Multilevel Analysis APHA’s 2019 Annual Meeting and Expo, November 2019

“We examine characteristics and experiences of women who considered, but did not have, an abortion for this pregnancy….Interviewees who considered abortion and were subject to multiple restrictions on abortion identified material and instrumental impacts of policies that, collectively, contributed to them not having an abortion.” Complex situations: Economic insecurity, mental health, and substance use among pregnant women who consider – but do not have – abortions PLOS ONE January 2020

Further reading:

Permanently Protect Our Conscience Rights and Support Student Mothers: Oppose Senate Bill 320

Following the tumultuous social events of summer 2017, San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian sought to reassure San Jose State students during her opening semester address stating, “As a civilized, caring community, we condemn this outrageous, indefensible behavior while affirming our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and respect for individual differences.” A new law being considered at this very moment in our state capital challenges the spirit of Pres Papazian’s call for “respect for individual differences.” This law, Senate Bill 320 or SB 320, would require on-campus student health insurance plans offered by California State University, the California Community Colleges and the University of California to include coverage of the abortion pill, which can be taken up to 10 weeks after a woman’s last period. And without additional safeguards for conscience, SB 320 may one day require all SJSU students, including pro-lifers, to directly fund chemical abortions. The bill will also turn our collectively used Student Health Center into an on-campus abortion center.

This law is deeply offensive to the conscience rights of many SJSU students and is bad policy for the women and community of SJSU. A 2016 poll “found that 53 percent of college aged Americans believe abortion should be illegal in at least most circumstances… That is up 9 percentage points from a 2012 survey conducted by Students for Life, which found 44 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds tended to back pro-life policies and 44 percent pro-choice policies.” These gains in pro-life support come even as these same young voters are overwhelmingly liberal on social issues such as same-sex marriage and drug legalization. Assuming SJSU is representative of college age opposition to abortion, over 15,000 pro-life SJSU students may be forced to fund abortions on campus through required student fees. Abortion advocates constantly argue that abortion is a decision between a woman and her doctor. Why, then, should the law require the student body to become involved?

San Jose State University students protest SB 320

Some supporters of SB 320 contend that these concerns are unwarranted because amended language in SB 320 states that “private moneys” will fund the program. Pro-life students have several issues with this. First, the original language of SB 320 did not include any such provision; the “private moneys” amendments were only added after political pressure from pro-life activists. Second, even this particular language of the bill does not provide for permanent conscience protections. The exact language states: “Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted as requiring public universities to support implementation of abortion by medication techniques with General Fund appropriations or student fees” (emphasis mine). Therefore, nothing in SB 320 guarantees protection of student fees from forthcoming additions to SB 320 which may alter the funding mechanism, or from overzealous pro-abortion university administrators who wish to divert student fees toward the SB 320 program. Lastly, pro-life students contend that student fee funding for the student health centers is inseparable from the provision of the implementation of SB 320. The overarching infrastructure and employees that will be used to distribute the abortion medication is paid for by student fees, regardless if the medication itself is privately funded or not. Money is fungible and therefore student fees can still be used even indirectly in the implementation of SB 320.

Bills such as SB 320 directly and intentionally circumvent federal conscience protections against the funding of abortion and invent out of whole cloth a positive right to state- or university-funded abortions. The Supreme Court has twice ruled in favor of taxpayer conscience protections like the Hyde Amendment, ruling in favor of the constitutionality of restricting public funding for abortions. In the 1979 case Maher v. Roe, the Court ruled that Roe v. Wade does not establish a woman’s right to a free abortion, holding that Roe v. Wade “did not declare an unqualified ‘constitutional right to an abortion’” and “implies no limitation on the authority of a State to make a value judgment favoring childbirth over abortion, and to implement that judgment by the allocation of public funds.” The court reiterated that position the following year in Harris v McRae, stating: “The funding restrictions of the Hyde Amendment do not impinge on the ‘liberty’ protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment held in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 168, to include the freedom of a woman to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy.”

In essence the Court ruled that “regardless of whether the freedom of a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy for health reasons lies at the core or the periphery of the due process liberty recognized in Roe v. Wade, it does not follow that a woman’s freedom of choice carries with it a constitutional entitlement to the financial resources to avail herself of the full range of protected choices.”

Despite the Hyde Amendment protections and the aforementioned judicial rulings, 17 states including California use taxpayer funds to fund abortion. According to a September 2016 report, California’s Medicaid program (Medi-Cal) spent more than $27 million on more than 83,000 induced abortions in 2014. According to California’s Department of Health and Human Services, Medi-Cal provides abortions “regardless of the gestational age of the fetus” and, furthermore, “medical justification and authorization” are “not required.”

The move toward bills such as SB 320, which lack strict explicitly articulated conscience rights of students, is the latest attempt to circumvent the Hyde Amendment’s conscience protections and is yet another indicator that the abortion lobby is moving away from their slogan of “safe, legal, and rare,” to a policy of “any time, for any reason, at no cost.” We at Spartans for Life believe abortion is never void of costs. Abortion is an act of violence which costs a child a lifetime of potential, costs a mother and father the joys of parenthood, and costs our campus community a proper respect for life.

SB 320 offers no choice for a campus pro-life community and no real choice for our pregnant students. SB 320 offers a choice between choosing between one’s education and one’s child. This is not “choice,” this is not “empowering,” this is not “feminist,” and this is certainly not “respecting our differences.” We at Spartans for Life believe California can do better. We believe that women can do anything they set their minds to. We believe all student fees would be better served aiding our pregnant Spartans in being both mothers and students. We believe this policy represents real choice for all our students. As such, we respectfully ask our campus community to make their voices heard and vocally oppose SB 320’s implementation across our state.


[Today’s guest post is by Nick Reynosa. He is a student at San Jose State.]

Permanently Protect Our Conscience Rights and Support Student Mothers: Oppose Senate Bill 320

Following the tumultuous social events of summer 2017, San Jose State University President Mary A. Papazian sought to reassure San Jose State students during her opening semester address stating, “As a civilized, caring community, we condemn this outrageous, indefensible behavior while affirming our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and respect for individual differences.” A new law being considered at this very moment in our state capital challenges the spirit of Pres Papazian’s call for “respect for individual differences.” This law, Senate Bill 320 or SB 320, would require on-campus student health insurance plans offered by California State University, the California Community Colleges and the University of California to include coverage of the abortion pill, which can be taken up to 10 weeks after a woman’s last period. And without additional safeguards for conscience, SB 320 may one day require all SJSU students, including pro-lifers, to directly fund chemical abortions. The bill will also turn our collectively used Student Health Center into an on-campus abortion center.

This law is deeply offensive to the conscience rights of many SJSU students and is bad policy for the women and community of SJSU. A 2016 poll “found that 53 percent of college aged Americans believe abortion should be illegal in at least most circumstances… That is up 9 percentage points from a 2012 survey conducted by Students for Life, which found 44 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds tended to back pro-life policies and 44 percent pro-choice policies.” These gains in pro-life support come even as these same young voters are overwhelmingly liberal on social issues such as same-sex marriage and drug legalization. Assuming SJSU is representative of college age opposition to abortion, over 15,000 pro-life SJSU students may be forced to fund abortions on campus through required student fees. Abortion advocates constantly argue that abortion is a decision between a woman and her doctor. Why, then, should the law require the student body to become involved?

San Jose State University students protest SB 320

Some supporters of SB 320 contend that these concerns are unwarranted because amended language in SB 320 states that “private moneys” will fund the program. Pro-life students have several issues with this. First, the original language of SB 320 did not include any such provision; the “private moneys” amendments were only added after political pressure from pro-life activists. Second, even this particular language of the bill does not provide for permanent conscience protections. The exact language states: “Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted as requiring public universities to support implementation of abortion by medication techniques with General Fund appropriations or student fees” (emphasis mine). Therefore, nothing in SB 320 guarantees protection of student fees from forthcoming additions to SB 320 which may alter the funding mechanism, or from overzealous pro-abortion university administrators who wish to divert student fees toward the SB 320 program. Lastly, pro-life students contend that student fee funding for the student health centers is inseparable from the provision of the implementation of SB 320. The overarching infrastructure and employees that will be used to distribute the abortion medication is paid for by student fees, regardless if the medication itself is privately funded or not. Money is fungible and therefore student fees can still be used even indirectly in the implementation of SB 320.

Bills such as SB 320 directly and intentionally circumvent federal conscience protections against the funding of abortion and invent out of whole cloth a positive right to state- or university-funded abortions. The Supreme Court has twice ruled in favor of taxpayer conscience protections like the Hyde Amendment, ruling in favor of the constitutionality of restricting public funding for abortions. In the 1979 case Maher v. Roe, the Court ruled that Roe v. Wade does not establish a woman’s right to a free abortion, holding that Roe v. Wade “did not declare an unqualified ‘constitutional right to an abortion’” and “implies no limitation on the authority of a State to make a value judgment favoring childbirth over abortion, and to implement that judgment by the allocation of public funds.” The court reiterated that position the following year in Harris v McRae, stating: “The funding restrictions of the Hyde Amendment do not impinge on the ‘liberty’ protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment held in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 168, to include the freedom of a woman to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy.”

In essence the Court ruled that “regardless of whether the freedom of a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy for health reasons lies at the core or the periphery of the due process liberty recognized in Roe v. Wade, it does not follow that a woman’s freedom of choice carries with it a constitutional entitlement to the financial resources to avail herself of the full range of protected choices.”

Despite the Hyde Amendment protections and the aforementioned judicial rulings, 17 states including California use taxpayer funds to fund abortion. According to a September 2016 report, California’s Medicaid program (Medi-Cal) spent more than $27 million on more than 83,000 induced abortions in 2014. According to California’s Department of Health and Human Services, Medi-Cal provides abortions “regardless of the gestational age of the fetus” and, furthermore, “medical justification and authorization” are “not required.”

The move toward bills such as SB 320, which lack strict explicitly articulated conscience rights of students, is the latest attempt to circumvent the Hyde Amendment’s conscience protections and is yet another indicator that the abortion lobby is moving away from their slogan of “safe, legal, and rare,” to a policy of “any time, for any reason, at no cost.” We at Spartans for Life believe abortion is never void of costs. Abortion is an act of violence which costs a child a lifetime of potential, costs a mother and father the joys of parenthood, and costs our campus community a proper respect for life.

SB 320 offers no choice for a campus pro-life community and no real choice for our pregnant students. SB 320 offers a choice between choosing between one’s education and one’s child. This is not “choice,” this is not “empowering,” this is not “feminist,” and this is certainly not “respecting our differences.” We at Spartans for Life believe California can do better. We believe that women can do anything they set their minds to. We believe all student fees would be better served aiding our pregnant Spartans in being both mothers and students. We believe this policy represents real choice for all our students. As such, we respectfully ask our campus community to make their voices heard and vocally oppose SB 320’s implementation across our state.


[Today’s guest post is by Nick Reynosa. He is a student at San Jose State.]