No, the Mexico City Policy does not drive up international abortion rates.

[Today’s post is by guest blogger Candace Stewart.]

One of the first actions the new Biden Administration is expected to take (which has yet to happen as of this writing) is the repeal of the Mexico City Policy. The policy originated under Ronald Reagan and prevents US foreign aid funds for family planning from going to organizations that perform abortions or advocate for their legalization in developing nations, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

This policy has fluctuated since its foundation, as it has been reversed under all Democratic presidents since Clinton and then re-enacted under all Republicans since Reagan.

Pro-choice critics of the policy, labeling it the “global gag rule,” argue that restricting funds from family planning organizations in Africa harms women by making access to contraception and clinical abortions difficult or impossible. In fact, these critics point to a few studies that seem to confirm this (one in 2011, one in 2018, and the latest in 2019). The 2019 study, published in Lancet Global Health by Brooks et al., is more comprehensive than the previous studies and analyzes data from three administrations (Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama). They analyze data on abortion and modern contraceptive use in 26 African countries and label some “high exposure” (hereafter HE) if they are most dependent on US foreign aid, and therefore more affected by the Mexico City policy, and others “low exposure” (hereafter LE) if they are least affected. The authors explain:

Our paper finds a substantial increase in abortions across sub-Saharan Africa among women affected by the US Mexico City Policy. This increase is mirrored by a corresponding decline in the use of modern contraception and increase in pregnancies under the policy. This pattern of more frequent abortions and lower contraceptive use was also reversed after the policy was rescinded.

Based on this summary, one might conclude that Brooks et al found that when the Mexico City policy is in place, abortions rise and contraception use decreases, and once the policy is reversed, abortions decrease and contraception use increases, especially in HE countries. And yet this relationship is not what the study found. As the authors explain in the supplemental material (Figure S4):

(Click to enlarge)

There is no clear pattern here of contraception use decreasing and/or abortion rates increasing during the policy. In fact, the pattern of increasing contraceptive use in both HE and LE countries is consistent regardless of whether or not the Mexico City policy is in place. HE countries had lower contraceptive use from the beginning, but use increased more sharply around 2005, during the Bush administration, and continued to increase under Obama at a steadier pace.

The abortion rate chart is much more scattered, possibly reflecting unreliable reporting (more on that below), but taken at face value, the trends seem mostly independent of the Mexico City Policy. Abortion rates in HE countries started off low and trended up during Clinton’s administration and into the Bush administration until around 2007, when there was a slight decrease. The only consistent pattern is that abortion rates in both LE and HE countries rose sharply under the Obama administration, which seems to directly contradict the authors’ implications about the policy’s effects.

This lack of correlation is obscured in the main paper, because the authors focus on differences between abortion rates among HE and LE countries. Here is how they put it:

Our regression estimates show that relative to women in low-exposure countries, women living in high-exposure countries used less modern contraception, had more pregnancies, and had more abortions when the policy was in place compared with when the policy was rescinded…when US support for international family planning organisations was conditioned on the policy, coverage of modern contraception fell and the proportion of women reporting pregnancy and abortions increased, in relative terms, among women in countries more reliant on US funding.

Now it is true that abortion rates of HE countries were more similar to the LE countries under Obama then they were under Bush, but Brooks et al don’t mention that this is because rates for both groups sharply increased after plateauing at lower levels during the Bush years. There also was a larger gap in contraception use between LE and HE countries under Bush, but this gap narrowed years before Obama reversed the Mexico City policy.

The Supplemental Material contains another important chart (Figure S3). The authors color code the abortion rate per 10,000 woman-years in each African country studied for the study’s time period (1995-2014). Some countries included a lot fewer data. For example, from 1995-2014, Brooks et al have only 7 years for Swaziland and 6 years for Comoros, Gambia, and Liberia. Nearly all the countries have data missing for at least some years.

Brooks et al use data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), a nationally representative household survey. These surveys track reported abortions and live births, with spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) and induced abortions categorized together. Here’s how the authors differentiated between the two:

A termination was classified as induced if it occurred following contraceptive failure, if the terminated pregnancy was unwanted… or if the woman was under age 26 years and was not married or in a union. Terminations were not classified as induced if they occurred in the third trimester, if the woman indicated that contraception had been discontinued to allow for pregnancy, or if the woman was married or in a union with no children.

As the basis for their algorithm, the authors cite this study conducted in Turkey in 1996 using DHS data from the country. Brooks et al note their own limitations with the DHS:

Abortions are often under-reported in survey data, and the DHS is no exception.

Even if abortions did go up during the Mexico City Policy and down without it (not the case), given all the uncertainties and missing data, it would be hard to draw any sweeping conclusions from these surveys. Similarly, pro-lifers should be cautious about assuming Obama’s reversal of the policy caused the apparent abortion rate jump under his administration; the jump could reflect more accurate reporting, or the abortion rates may not be reliable to begin with.

But even if all the data presented is accurate and representative, it still doesn’t support the authors’ grim picture of the Mexico City Policy. The average abortion rate of all the 26 countries studied was apparently lower when the policy was in effect under Bush than when it was rescinded under Obama.

Cultivating a life-affirming culture in Australia

[Today’s post is by pro-life Australians Matthew Reid and Therese Hungerford-Morgan. If you would like to contribute a guest post, email your submission to info@secularprolife.org for consideration.]

Australian abortion laws have become significantly less restrictive in the last decade. Abortion up to birth has been decriminalized across the country. Specifically, abortion is available on request up to a gestation limit, typically 20-24 weeks depending on the state/territory (one territory, the Australian Capital Territory, has no legal limit). After the gestation limit, abortion is permitted up to birth with the approval of medical practitioner(s). Medical practitioners are legally required to consider the current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances of the mother [1][2]. The broad scope and vague wording of these circumstances leaves medical practitioners with the power to authorize abortions based on subjective value judgments without risk of criminal prosecution for wrongful killing. In the absence of a rigorous, fact-based legal code of ethics, the decision to abort can be influenced by uninformed philosophical, religious, and ideological beliefs that devalue human life and allow for the killing of innocent human beings.

It is difficult to know precisely how many late-term abortions occur, however in the state of Victoria, where historical data is available, official estimates indicate that each year approximately 300 to 350 abortions occur after 20 weeks [3][4]. A simple projection based on population size indicates there may be in excess of 1000 post-20 week abortions each year in Australia.

The liberalization of Australian abortion laws is a reflection of dominant cultural attitudes favoring abortion. Most Australians support elective abortion. While the majority of Australians who identify as religious also support elective abortion [5][6], the vast majority of active pro-lifers are religious, typically Roman Catholic or evangelical. Secular pro-lifers lack a visible presence in Australia, and political parties with strong secular identities are staunchly pro-choice. The pro-life position is often erroneously interpreted as merely religious dogma, a matter of private belief, and generally given little consideration in the public sphere. To overcome this stereotype, and save lives, it’s important that we promote an intellectually robust, ethical, and compassionate alternative to killing babies. We must cultivate a life-affirming culture that values the well-being of all humans and protects innocent human life. We must challenge and debunk the widespread belief that babies in the womb are not valuable human beings. We must seek to dramatically expand the pro-life community to encompass the entire political and religious/secular spectrum. And we must support women experiencing crisis pregnancies by providing real alternatives to abortion.

Late last year our team began a grassroots initiative that aims to challenge Australia’s cultural acceptance of abortion-on-demand. The initiative is called 365Life, and involves the distribution of packs of information cards to hundreds of pro-life volunteers, who in turn distribute cards within their community where the message can help people. The idea is that each volunteer passes on one card a day, 365 days a year. The cards feature visually appealing, clear, positive messages intended to spark interest and compassion as opposed to hurt, anger and violence. One card shows a newborn baby with the caption “Me”, while the reverse side shows an ultrasound of a baby with the caption “Still me”. Another card quotes Dr Seuss, “A person’s a person no matter how small”, with baby footprints at 12 weeks on the reverse side. The cards direct people to our site (https://www.voice4life.com.au) with helpful links to local community crisis pregnancy centers that support women and their families. It’s early days and we are actively experimenting with different card designs to find what works best.

As we promote a cultural shift of ideas, we hope to change demographics, expanding the numbers of those who support life. Our hope is that discomfort with liberal abortion laws and practices will eventually lead to more conversations about life, more families teaching children to protect life, more churches and community groups engaged in supporting life, and eventually more pressure on politicians to legislate to protect of life.

References:
  1. Ismay, L. (2019). Issues Backgrounder Number 3: Abortion law and the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019. [online] NSW Parliamentary Research Service. Available at: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/researchpapers/Documents/Abortion%20law%20and%20the%20Reproductive%20Health%20Care%20Reform%20Bill%202019.pdf [Accessed 23 May 2020].
  2. Summary of Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 (2019) [online] NSW Health, Available at : https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/women/pregnancyoptions/Pages/aborton-bill-summary.aspx [Accessed 28 May 2020].
  3. Paxman, A. (2017). Later-term abortions: Stigma versus reality. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/laterterm-abortions-stigma-versus-reality-20170720-gxf4ym.html [Accessed 23 May 2020].
  4. This is what happened to abortion statistics after it was decriminalised in Victoria. (2019) [online] ABC News. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-04/fact-check-nsw-abortion-law-victoria/11474570 [Accessed 23 May 2020].
  5. Law of Abortion: final report. (2008) | Section 4: Surveys of Attitudes [online] Victorian Law Reform Commission. Available at: https://www.lawreform.vic.gov.au/content/4-surveys-attitudes [Accessed 23 May 2020].
  6. Gibson, Rachel; Wilson, Shaun; Denemark, David; Meagher, Gabrielle; Western, Mark, (2017). Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, 2003, doi:10.4225/87/8VUHRY, ADA Dataverse, V1. Available at: https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.4225/87/8VUHRY [Accessed 23 May 2020]

Cultivating a life-affirming culture in Australia

[Today’s post is by pro-life Australians Matthew Reid and Therese Hungerford-Morgan. If you would like to contribute a guest post, email your submission to info@secularprolife.org for consideration.]

Australian abortion laws have become significantly less restrictive in the last decade. Abortion up to birth has been decriminalized across the country. Specifically, abortion is available on request up to a gestation limit, typically 20-24 weeks depending on the state/territory (one territory, the Australian Capital Territory, has no legal limit). After the gestation limit, abortion is permitted up to birth with the approval of medical practitioner(s). Medical practitioners are legally required to consider the current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances of the mother [1][2]. The broad scope and vague wording of these circumstances leaves medical practitioners with the power to authorize abortions based on subjective value judgments without risk of criminal prosecution for wrongful killing. In the absence of a rigorous, fact-based legal code of ethics, the decision to abort can be influenced by uninformed philosophical, religious, and ideological beliefs that devalue human life and allow for the killing of innocent human beings.

It is difficult to know precisely how many late-term abortions occur, however in the state of Victoria, where historical data is available, official estimates indicate that each year approximately 300 to 350 abortions occur after 20 weeks [3][4]. A simple projection based on population size indicates there may be in excess of 1000 post-20 week abortions each year in Australia.

The liberalization of Australian abortion laws is a reflection of dominant cultural attitudes favoring abortion. Most Australians support elective abortion. While the majority of Australians who identify as religious also support elective abortion [5][6], the vast majority of active pro-lifers are religious, typically Roman Catholic or evangelical. Secular pro-lifers lack a visible presence in Australia, and political parties with strong secular identities are staunchly pro-choice. The pro-life position is often erroneously interpreted as merely religious dogma, a matter of private belief, and generally given little consideration in the public sphere. To overcome this stereotype, and save lives, it’s important that we promote an intellectually robust, ethical, and compassionate alternative to killing babies. We must cultivate a life-affirming culture that values the well-being of all humans and protects innocent human life. We must challenge and debunk the widespread belief that babies in the womb are not valuable human beings. We must seek to dramatically expand the pro-life community to encompass the entire political and religious/secular spectrum. And we must support women experiencing crisis pregnancies by providing real alternatives to abortion.

Late last year our team began a grassroots initiative that aims to challenge Australia’s cultural acceptance of abortion-on-demand. The initiative is called 365Life, and involves the distribution of packs of information cards to hundreds of pro-life volunteers, who in turn distribute cards within their community where the message can help people. The idea is that each volunteer passes on one card a day, 365 days a year. The cards feature visually appealing, clear, positive messages intended to spark interest and compassion as opposed to hurt, anger and violence. One card shows a newborn baby with the caption “Me”, while the reverse side shows an ultrasound of a baby with the caption “Still me”. Another card quotes Dr Seuss, “A person’s a person no matter how small”, with baby footprints at 12 weeks on the reverse side. The cards direct people to our site (https://www.voice4life.com.au) with helpful links to local community crisis pregnancy centers that support women and their families. It’s early days and we are actively experimenting with different card designs to find what works best.

As we promote a cultural shift of ideas, we hope to change demographics, expanding the numbers of those who support life. Our hope is that discomfort with liberal abortion laws and practices will eventually lead to more conversations about life, more families teaching children to protect life, more churches and community groups engaged in supporting life, and eventually more pressure on politicians to legislate to protect of life.

References:
  1. Ismay, L. (2019). Issues Backgrounder Number 3: Abortion law and the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019. [online] NSW Parliamentary Research Service. Available at: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/researchpapers/Documents/Abortion%20law%20and%20the%20Reproductive%20Health%20Care%20Reform%20Bill%202019.pdf [Accessed 23 May 2020].
  2. Summary of Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 (2019) [online] NSW Health, Available at : https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/women/pregnancyoptions/Pages/aborton-bill-summary.aspx [Accessed 28 May 2020].
  3. Paxman, A. (2017). Later-term abortions: Stigma versus reality. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/laterterm-abortions-stigma-versus-reality-20170720-gxf4ym.html [Accessed 23 May 2020].
  4. This is what happened to abortion statistics after it was decriminalised in Victoria. (2019) [online] ABC News. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-04/fact-check-nsw-abortion-law-victoria/11474570 [Accessed 23 May 2020].
  5. Law of Abortion: final report. (2008) | Section 4: Surveys of Attitudes [online] Victorian Law Reform Commission. Available at: https://www.lawreform.vic.gov.au/content/4-surveys-attitudes [Accessed 23 May 2020].
  6. Gibson, Rachel; Wilson, Shaun; Denemark, David; Meagher, Gabrielle; Western, Mark, (2017). Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, 2003, doi:10.4225/87/8VUHRY, ADA Dataverse, V1. Available at: https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.4225/87/8VUHRY [Accessed 23 May 2020]

Pro-Life Status Report from Germany

[Editor’s note: Today’s guest article by German pro-life advocate Andreas Düren was written before the coronavirus outbreak.]


In Germany, abortion is generally illegal under Section 218 of the criminal code. The only exceptions are the so-called “medical indication” (danger to the life of or the threat of grave impairment to the pregnant woman’s physical or mental health” as well as “criminal indication” (the termination of pregnancies which are the result of rape or incest).

The “medical indication” abortions are almost exclusively abortions because of disabilities of the child: almost 4.000 cases a year.

The German Federal Constitutional Court has ruled twice that even pre-born children have human dignity and the right to life.
Unfortunately, that said, there are over 100,000 abortions in Germany every year. That means 6.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 (compared to 13.5 in the United States).

The vast majority of abortions (96%) are performed illegally. Those are abortions that are not indication-based, but instead based on a landmark decision of the Constitutional Court. In 1993, it decided that it is not possible to protect the unborn child without their mothers. To dissuade women from choosing an abortion, all participants go unpunished if:

  • the woman visits a state-certified pregnancy consultation center; 
  • she follows a three-day-waiting period to reconsider; and  
  • the decision to abort is solely hers (pressuring someone into an abortion is a criminal offense). 

These abortions are still illegal, but they are not punished. They are provided by doctors and abortion facilities.

This ruling created a strange situation, where it says that abortions are generally wrong because every human has dignity and the right to life and, at the same time, opened the door for technically illegal but practically legal abortions.

The state acknowledges that abortions are a problem and says that we need to reduce the number of abortions, but does not do anything to actually achieve this goal.

For example, the federal republic of Germany publishes a roughly 300-page annual report on the condition of the forests in Germany, including proposals on how to improve the situation.
There is no such thing for abortions. In a way, a German tree enjoys better protection than a pre-born child. 

Even though the counselor is required to write a report of the counseling, it does not include, for example, the reasons stated for wanting an abortion (the woman is not obliged to say a single word during the counseling). With this crucial information missing, there is no way to remove the reasons for an abortion.
The counseling is – at least according to the law – required to persuade the woman to carry her child to term. In practice, however, counseling is geared to an “open outcome” and can even be performed on the phone. 
Over 100,000 children aborted every year is an astronomical amount. The number of unreported cases might be much higher, though.

Doctors are obliged to report the numbers of abortions performed but are not financially compensated for this work – meaning no incentive to actually report correct numbers. It also doesn’t account for mothers who travel to neighboring countries for their abortions. 

German society views the topic of abortion with hesitation, with the majority seemingly being personally pro-life but politically pro-choice. But most people will not talk about the issue, even in family circles. It is considered to be something taboo.

Most people do see there being something wrong with abortion but are too afraid to go against the mainstream view and not knowledgeable enough to actually form a well-informed decision.
Even the majority of people who firmly believe that abortion is wrong under all circumstances are often too afraid to leave their comfort zone and to engage in debates on the issue, mostly out of fear of being seen as anti-women. 

Unfortunately, here as in many countries, abortion is almost seen as a more “humane” way of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. An adoption is seldom an option for many of these women because it is seen as being more emotionally damaging for the mother than the abortion. Five to ten times as many couples are waiting to adopt, as children up for adoption exist. 
One of the leading groups that are openly fighting for abortion is the “Coalition for Sexual Autonomy.” Among other things they call for unrestricted access to legal abortion up to birth, mandatory teaching of abortion procedures during medical school, and elimination of Section 219a of the criminal code which prohibits the promotion of abortion for financial gain. These people find it necessary to scream, insult, and disrupt any pro-life event; they have even stalked pro-life activists, vandalized churches, destroyed pro-life counseling offices, and set cars on fire
A young woman holds a Sundays for Life sign
In the face of this hostile situation towards life-affirming institutions, my wife and I decided to start a pro-life non-profit to break the taboo, inform the general public and do general public relations/marketing for the pro-life message. The name of our organization is Sundays for Life. We have taken to being incredibly blunt in our presence in the downtown of our city. Our color is fuchsia pink, and the banner and signs are hard to miss. We want people to leave their comfort zone. Because let’s face it: death is not comfortable, especially not the deaths of millions of babies. 
Over the last few weeks, we have taken to Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. We have shared two of the many videos we hope to produce.
The videos that we created are personal stories of people affected by abortion: one woman’s crisis pregnancy and how she chose life for her child, and a man’s account of his role in his wife’s abortion.
These personal testimonies are virtually non-existent here in Germany and Europe in general, and we hope to reach people by these captivating, challenging, and personal stories.
So far, we have reached thousands with our videos, and there are more videos to come soon.

We want to engage the general public on social media with humorous and thought-provoking content. We want debates to take place. Because when people talk about abortion, they have to think about abortion.

Pro-Life Status Report from Germany

[Editor’s note: Today’s guest article by German pro-life advocate Andreas Düren was written before the coronavirus outbreak.]


In Germany, abortion is generally illegal under Section 218 of the criminal code. The only exceptions are the so-called “medical indication” (danger to the life of or the threat of grave impairment to the pregnant woman’s physical or mental health” as well as “criminal indication” (the termination of pregnancies which are the result of rape or incest).

The “medical indication” abortions are almost exclusively abortions because of disabilities of the child: almost 4.000 cases a year.

The German Federal Constitutional Court has ruled twice that even pre-born children have human dignity and the right to life.
Unfortunately, that said, there are over 100,000 abortions in Germany every year. That means 6.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 (compared to 13.5 in the United States).

The vast majority of abortions (96%) are performed illegally. Those are abortions that are not indication-based, but instead based on a landmark decision of the Constitutional Court. In 1993, it decided that it is not possible to protect the unborn child without their mothers. To dissuade women from choosing an abortion, all participants go unpunished if:

  • the woman visits a state-certified pregnancy consultation center; 
  • she follows a three-day-waiting period to reconsider; and  
  • the decision to abort is solely hers (pressuring someone into an abortion is a criminal offense). 

These abortions are still illegal, but they are not punished. They are provided by doctors and abortion facilities.

This ruling created a strange situation, where it says that abortions are generally wrong because every human has dignity and the right to life and, at the same time, opened the door for technically illegal but practically legal abortions.

The state acknowledges that abortions are a problem and says that we need to reduce the number of abortions, but does not do anything to actually achieve this goal.

For example, the federal republic of Germany publishes a roughly 300-page annual report on the condition of the forests in Germany, including proposals on how to improve the situation.
There is no such thing for abortions. In a way, a German tree enjoys better protection than a pre-born child. 

Even though the counselor is required to write a report of the counseling, it does not include, for example, the reasons stated for wanting an abortion (the woman is not obliged to say a single word during the counseling). With this crucial information missing, there is no way to remove the reasons for an abortion.
The counseling is – at least according to the law – required to persuade the woman to carry her child to term. In practice, however, counseling is geared to an “open outcome” and can even be performed on the phone. 
Over 100,000 children aborted every year is an astronomical amount. The number of unreported cases might be much higher, though.

Doctors are obliged to report the numbers of abortions performed but are not financially compensated for this work – meaning no incentive to actually report correct numbers. It also doesn’t account for mothers who travel to neighboring countries for their abortions. 

German society views the topic of abortion with hesitation, with the majority seemingly being personally pro-life but politically pro-choice. But most people will not talk about the issue, even in family circles. It is considered to be something taboo.

Most people do see there being something wrong with abortion but are too afraid to go against the mainstream view and not knowledgeable enough to actually form a well-informed decision.
Even the majority of people who firmly believe that abortion is wrong under all circumstances are often too afraid to leave their comfort zone and to engage in debates on the issue, mostly out of fear of being seen as anti-women. 

Unfortunately, here as in many countries, abortion is almost seen as a more “humane” way of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. An adoption is seldom an option for many of these women because it is seen as being more emotionally damaging for the mother than the abortion. Five to ten times as many couples are waiting to adopt, as children up for adoption exist. 
One of the leading groups that are openly fighting for abortion is the “Coalition for Sexual Autonomy.” Among other things they call for unrestricted access to legal abortion up to birth, mandatory teaching of abortion procedures during medical school, and elimination of Section 219a of the criminal code which prohibits the promotion of abortion for financial gain. These people find it necessary to scream, insult, and disrupt any pro-life event; they have even stalked pro-life activists, vandalized churches, destroyed pro-life counseling offices, and set cars on fire
A young woman holds a Sundays for Life sign
In the face of this hostile situation towards life-affirming institutions, my wife and I decided to start a pro-life non-profit to break the taboo, inform the general public and do general public relations/marketing for the pro-life message. The name of our organization is Sundays for Life. We have taken to being incredibly blunt in our presence in the downtown of our city. Our color is fuchsia pink, and the banner and signs are hard to miss. We want people to leave their comfort zone. Because let’s face it: death is not comfortable, especially not the deaths of millions of babies. 
Over the last few weeks, we have taken to Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. We have shared two of the many videos we hope to produce.
The videos that we created are personal stories of people affected by abortion: one woman’s crisis pregnancy and how she chose life for her child, and a man’s account of his role in his wife’s abortion.
These personal testimonies are virtually non-existent here in Germany and Europe in general, and we hope to reach people by these captivating, challenging, and personal stories.
So far, we have reached thousands with our videos, and there are more videos to come soon.

We want to engage the general public on social media with humorous and thought-provoking content. We want debates to take place. Because when people talk about abortion, they have to think about abortion.

MPs shine light on Canadian abortion survivors left to die

“Live-birth abortion” sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s the term being used to describe a shockingly common scenario in Canada. A National Post article headlined “Birth of a legal quandry: Live-birth abortions a perilous grey zone in Canada’s criminal code” reports: 

On Thursday, three federal Conservative backbenchers said they had asked the RCMP to initiate one of the largest homicide investigations in its history.

Involving as many as 600 victims — more than even the 1985 Air India bombing — the investigation proposed by the MPs would implicate virtually every major hospital in Canada, as well as hundreds of nurses, doctors and medical staff.

To justify such a gargantuan effort, they said, the police need look no further than the government’s own ledgers: an obscure Statistics Canada number dug up last October by an anti-abortion activist showing that, each year, about 50 fetuses are “born alive” during late-term abortions.

“These incidents appear to be homicides,” wrote MPs Maurice Vellacott, Leon Benoit and Wladyslaw Lizon, in their Jan. 23 letter to the RCMP commissioner.

The MPs are right about the fact that between 2000 and 2009, 491 aborted fetuses indeed exhibited “evidence of life” following their removal from the womb — be it a momentary heartbeat, a sudden gasp or, in rare cases, crying.

In response, abortion advocates are already claiming (before any investigation has begun, mind you) that these babies were “allowed to pass away,” as opposed to being deliberately killed after birth Gosnell-style. But of course, their deaths are quite deliberate. That is what abortion means. (Abortion advocates are also calling for a reform of the death certificate system to cover up the existence of abortion survivors.)

If the fatal injury is inflicted inside the womb, but the victim dies outside the womb, does that timing make a difference either legally or ethically? If so, shouldn’t these babies be treated with the emergency care that a prematurely born infant not targeted for destruction would receive? Or if not, why not allow infanticide outright?

The Members of Parliament are right to call for an investigation of these 491+ homicides. I hope those babies receive some justice. But those babies who died a few weeks earlier, a few inches closer to the cervix, a moment short of their first breath — those babies deserve justice too.

This homicide investigation has the potential to awaken the Canadian conscience on abortion generally.  You can bet the abortion industry will fight it tooth and nail and smear everyone involved in the investigation as a Bible-thumping misogynist.

MPs shine light on Canadian abortion survivors left to die

“Live-birth abortion” sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s the term being used to describe a shockingly common scenario in Canada. A National Post article headlined “Birth of a legal quandry: Live-birth abortions a perilous grey zone in Canada’s criminal code” reports: 

On Thursday, three federal Conservative backbenchers said they had asked the RCMP to initiate one of the largest homicide investigations in its history.

Involving as many as 600 victims — more than even the 1985 Air India bombing — the investigation proposed by the MPs would implicate virtually every major hospital in Canada, as well as hundreds of nurses, doctors and medical staff.

To justify such a gargantuan effort, they said, the police need look no further than the government’s own ledgers: an obscure Statistics Canada number dug up last October by an anti-abortion activist showing that, each year, about 50 fetuses are “born alive” during late-term abortions.

“These incidents appear to be homicides,” wrote MPs Maurice Vellacott, Leon Benoit and Wladyslaw Lizon, in their Jan. 23 letter to the RCMP commissioner.

The MPs are right about the fact that between 2000 and 2009, 491 aborted fetuses indeed exhibited “evidence of life” following their removal from the womb — be it a momentary heartbeat, a sudden gasp or, in rare cases, crying.

In response, abortion advocates are already claiming (before any investigation has begun, mind you) that these babies were “allowed to pass away,” as opposed to being deliberately killed after birth Gosnell-style. But of course, their deaths are quite deliberate. That is what abortion means. (Abortion advocates are also calling for a reform of the death certificate system to cover up the existence of abortion survivors.)

If the fatal injury is inflicted inside the womb, but the victim dies outside the womb, does that timing make a difference either legally or ethically? If so, shouldn’t these babies be treated with the emergency care that a prematurely born infant not targeted for destruction would receive? Or if not, why not allow infanticide outright?

The Members of Parliament are right to call for an investigation of these 491+ homicides. I hope those babies receive some justice. But those babies who died a few weeks earlier, a few inches closer to the cervix, a moment short of their first breath — those babies deserve justice too.

This homicide investigation has the potential to awaken the Canadian conscience on abortion generally.  You can bet the abortion industry will fight it tooth and nail and smear everyone involved in the investigation as a Bible-thumping misogynist.

Pro-life laws prevent abortion primarily by preventing unplanned pregnancy.

Today’s guest post is by Conner Alford.

Women and their partners are generally forward-thinking and rational in their fertility behavior.

Within
our society’s broader debate on abortion, two particular pro-choice arguments
have occupied a great deal of attention among political activists and leaders
alike. The first and stronger of these arguments postulates that legal
restrictions make abortion more dangerous but that they do not make it any less
common. The underlying logic here is that pro-life policies simply replace safe,
legal terminations with an equal number of dangerous, illegal and self-induced
or ‘back-alley’ abortions (AGI 1999, 2009). In other words, if a woman is
pregnant and does not want to be, she will not consider the legality of her
actions or the risks to her own health when deciding whether or not to abort.
Any woman willing to get a safe, legal abortion is also willing to get an
unsafe, illegal one. When the former is harder to obtain, she will trade it in
for the latter. When the latter is no longer necessary because laws have been
liberalized, she will trade it for the former. This is the argument articulated
by the Alan Guttmacher Institute[1] (AGI) and its affiliated researchers
(Tietze 1973; Juarez et al 2005; Sedgh et al 2007b; Singh et al 2010).
The
second argument makes a somewhat contradictory claim. According to this
narrative, pro-life policies do in fact mitigate abortions. However, they only
do so by replacing those abortions with unwanted births. Women trade abortions
for babies. As a result, the story goes, these undesired offspring either wind
up in state custody or eventually wash out to become criminals (Levitt and
Donahue 2001). Either way, the conclusion that we are supposed to draw is that
pro-life policies are generally ill-advised. However, both of these arguments
are deeply inconsistent with the empirical record and based on a fundamental
misconception about the primary way in which abortion laws actually work and
operate.
First,
studies have shown that while legal restrictions on abortion do reduce the rate
at which it occurs, they do not necessarily
result in an increase in the birth rate (Trussel et al. 1980; Matthews et
al. 1997). Second, the claim that pro-life policies simply lead to an increase
in maternal deaths by driving pregnant women to seek unsafe abortions is
directly challenged by the empirical record. The lowest maternal mortality
rates (MMR) in Europe, for example, occur in Poland, Malta and Ireland—all of
which have extremely restrictive policies (Mundial 2010; Hogan et al. 2010).
Further, a plethora of systematic analyses examining countries from around the
world continuously challenge the idea that legal restrictions on abortion
increase MMRs or hospitalizations.[2]  This, then, undermines a key assumption in the
AGI narrative about illegal abortions. Third, it is important to note that
within the academic community the debate is, generally speaking, no longer
about whether legal restrictions
reduce abortions so much as how they
manage to do so. That pro-life policies mitigate abortion is a point that has
been repeatedly illustrated by literally dozens of independent, peer-reviewed
studies over the course of several decades.[3]
There
has, however, been some disagreement about the exact causal mechanism
responsible for this relationship. Herein we find the chief problem with the
two perspectives introduced at the beginning of this essay. Not only are their
key assertions inconsistent with the empirical record, their entire arguments
are fundamentally oblivious to recent academic insights on how abortion laws
actually operate. Traditionally, scholars have tended to assume that such
policies function to minimize abortions by acting on the posterior “…decision
of a woman who is pregnant not to have the child” (Medoff 1988, p. 354). In
other words, the law was presumed to affect a woman’s behavior only after she had already become
pregnant. The AGI and other pro-choice advocates have adopted this outdated
presupposition.
Since
the mid 1990s, however, the academic understanding has evolved in light of new
evidence. A substantial number of independent, peer reviewed studies have
consistently shown that legal restrictions on abortion work primarily by reducing the rate at which
unplanned pregnancies occur in the first place (Kane and Staiger
1996) and only secondarily by
influencing the behaviors of women who are already pregnant (Levine 2004a)! In
other words, pro-life policies address both the symptom and the cause! To be
more specific, research has shown that women and their partners are generally
forward-thinking and rational in their fertility behavior. They do not wait
until after a pregnancy has already occurred before deciding whether they
should take steps to preempt parenthood. As a result, pro-life policies actually
help to reduce the unplanned pregnancy rate by incentivizing couples to take
additional precautions prior to a
potential pregnancy rather than waiting to obtain an abortion after the
pregnancy has already occurred. Conversely, the opposite is also true. When
abortion is readily accessible, this very availability reduces the incentive to
avoid becoming pregnant by offering a sort of ‘insurance policy,’ should you or
your partner happen to do so. For example, studies have persistently shown that
more permissive policies are causally connected to an increase in unprotected
sex whereas more restrictive policies lead to an increase in contraceptive
usage (Levine 2004b; Medoff 2008a, b; Felkey and Lybecker 2011, 2014, 2015).
There is also some evidence to indicate that legally restricting abortion leads
to a change in the overall amount of sexual activity (Alford 2016).
Of
course, many readers are likely to find this logic somewhat counterintuitive or
even offensive. Despite this, it has been overwhelmingly
supported by the empirical record (Kane and Staiger 1996; Levine et al. 1996;
Levine 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004; Levine and Staiger 2004; McNabb 2007; Medoff 2008a,
b; Felkey and Lybecker 2011). It also helps to explain the previously puzzling
findings of several studies which suggested 
that abortion laws were able to reduce the number of abortions without
an increase in births (Trussel et al. 1980; Matthews et al. 1997) or harming
maternal health outcomes (see footnote 3). Furthermore, it is consistent with
previous findings that the legalization of abortion is associated with an
increase in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases whereas pro-life
policies have the opposite impact (Kick and Stratmann 2003; Klick and Neelsen
2012). Studies examining the impact of abortion policies on the number of
infants available for adoption have, similarly, supported the hypothesis (Gennetian
1999; Bitler and Zavodny 2002; Medoff 2008b).
In
conclusion then, it is important to understand that the primary interaction between pro-life policies and individual
fertility decisions happens before a
potential pregnancy. Men and women are generally rational, free and forward-thinking when it comes to their sex lives. They consider the risks and
potential costs of an unwanted pregnancy before making decisions about whether
to engage in sexual activity or to utilize contraception. When those costs are
subverted by liberalized abortion laws, this provides a sort of ‘insurance
policy,’ which encourages uninhibited sexual activity. When those costs are
reinforced by pro-life policies, however, the opposite occurs. Contraceptive
usage goes up and unplanned pregnancies go down. As a result, legal limitations
on abortion are capable of reducing abortion rates without actually impacting
the overall number of births. Where pro-life policies do lead to an increase in
births, this change is secondary and relatively modest as compared to the
decline in unplanned pregnancy. As a result of this, restrictions on abortion are
also able to operate without a concomitant risk of unsafe abortions. After all,
you cannot illegally terminate a pregnancy that never occurred. This helps to
explain why there does not seem to be any positive relationship between
legalized abortion and maternal health outcomes.[4] The arguments introduced
at the opening of this essay must, therefore, be dismissed in light of new
academic evidence and empirical data. The science simply does not support them.
It does, however, indicate that pro-life laws do not merely address abortion as a symptom but that they attack the
underlying cause of abortion—unplanned pregnancy—at its source.
 
Bibliography
Alan Guttmacher
Institute (AGI). 1999. “Sharing Responsibility: Women, Society & Abortion
Worldwide.” New York.
__________. 2009.
Abortion
Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress
.” New York.
Alford, Conner.
2016. “The Economics of Abortion: A Comparative Analysis of Mexico and the
United States.” Proquest
Dissertations
. Available at: https://search.proquest.com/openview/5e138d6c2e46744301e5f1706efbfa4c/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y
Bitler, Marianne
and Madeline. Zavodny. 2002. “Did Abortion Legalization Reduce the Number
of Unwanted Children? Evidence from Adoptions.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 34(1) 25-33.
Donohue III, John
J and Steven D. Levitt. “The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime.” The Quarterly
Journal of Economics
. 116(2): 379-420.
Felkey, Amanda J.
and Lybecker, Kristina M. 2011. “Variation in Pill Use: Do Abortion Laws
Matter?” International Journal of
Business and Social Science
. 2(16): 1-12.
_____. 2014.
“Utilization of Oral Contraception: The Impact of Direct and Indirect
Restrictions on Access to Abortion.” The
Social Science Journal
.  51: 44-56.
 _____. 2015. “The Role of Restrictive Abortion
Legislation in Explaining Variation in Oral Contraceptive Use.” Clinics in Mother and Child Health. 12(4):
1-10.
Gennetian, Lisa A.
1999.  “The Supply of Infants
relinquished for Adoption: Did Access to Abortion Make a Difference?” Economic Inquiry. 37(3): 412-431.
Gober, Patricia.
1994. “Why Abortion Rates Vary: A Geographical Examination of the Supply
of and Demand for Abortion Services in the United States in 1988.” Annals of the Association of American
Geographers
. 84: 230-250.
Guldi, Melanie.
2008. “Fertility Effects of Abortion and Birth Control Pill Access for
Minors.” Demography. 45(4):
817-827.
Haas-Wilson,
Deborah. 1993.”The Economic Impact of State Restrictions on Abortion:
Parental Consent and Notification Laws and Medicaid Funding Restrictions.”
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
12(3): 498-511.
Hansen, Susan B.
1980. “State Implementation of Supreme Court Decisions: Abortion Rates since
Roe v. Wade.” The Journal of Politics.
42: pp. 372-395.
Hogan MC, Foreman
KJ, Naghavi M, Ahn SY, Wang M, et al. 2010. “Maternal mortality for 181
countries, 1980-2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium
Development Goal 5.” Lancet
375(9726): 1609–1623.
Kane, Thomas J.
and Douglas Staiger. 1996. “Teen Motherhood and Abortion Access.” The
Quarterly Journal of Economics.
111(2): 467-506
Koch, Elard Miguel
Bravo, Sebastián Gatica, Juan F. Stecher, Paula Aracena, Sergio Valenzuela,
IvonneAhlers. 2012A. “Sobrestimacióndel Aborto Inducido en Colombia y otros Países
Latino Americanos. [Overestimation of induced abortion in Colombia and other
Latin American countries].” Ginecol
Obstet Mex
. 80(5): 360-372.
Koch, Elard, John
Thorp, Miguel Bravo, Sebastian Gatica, Camila X. Romero, Hernan Aguilera,
IvonneAhlers. 2012b. “Women’s Education Level, Maternal Health Facilities,
Abortion Legislation and Maternal Deaths: A Natural Experiment in Chile from 1957
to 2007.” PLoS One. 7(5): 1-16.
Koch, Elard,
Calhoun, Paula. Aracena, Sebastian Gatica, and Miguel Bravo. 2014.
“Women’s education level, contraceptive use and maternal mortality
estimates.” Public Health,
128(4): 384-7.
Koch, Elard,
Monique Chireau, Fernando Pliego, Joseph Stanford, Sebastián Haddad, Byron
Calhoun, Paula Aracena, Miguel Bravo, SebastiánGatica, and John Thorp. 2015.
“Abortion legislation, maternal healthcare, fertility, female literacy,
sanitation, violence against women, and maternal deaths: a natural experiment
in 32 Mexican states.”BMJ. 5(2):
e006013–e006013.
Levine, Phillip
B., Amy B. Trainor, and David J. Zimmerman. 1996. “The effect of Medicaid
abortion funding restrictions on abortions, pregnancies and births.” Journal of 
Health Economics
. 15: 555-578.
Levine Phillip B.,
Douglas Staiger, Thomas J. Kane and David J. Zimmerman. 1999. “Roe v. Wade
and American Fertility.” American
Journal of Public Health
. 89(2): pp. 199-203.
Levine, Phillip B.
2002. The Impact of Social Policy and Economic Activity throughout the
Fertility Decision Tree.” in Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic
Analysis
. E.D. Jonathan Gruber. National Bureau of Economic Research, pp.
167-218.
 _____. 2003. “Parental Involvement Laws and
Fertility Behavior.” Journal of Health
Economics
. 22(5): 861–878
_____. 2004a.
“Abortion Policy and the Economics of Fertility.” Society, 41(4): 79-85.
_____. 2004b. Sex
and Consequences: Abortion, Public Policy, and the Economics of Fertility
.
Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
 Levine, Phillip B. and Douglas Staiger. 2004.
“Abortion Policy and Fertility Outcomes: The Eastern European
Experience.” Journal of Law and
Economics
. XLVII (April): 223-243.
Matthews, Stephens
David Ribar and Mark Wilhelm. 1997.”The Effects of Economic Conditions and
Access to Reproductive Health Services On State Abortion rates and
Birthrates.” Family Planning
Perspectives
. 29(2): 52-60.
McNabb, Leland.
2007. “Public Policies and Private Decisions: An Analysis of the Effects of
Abortion Restrictions on Minors’ Contraceptive Behavior.” Available at: https://econ.duke.edu/uploads/assets/dje/2006/McNabb.pdf
Medoff, H.
Marshall. 1988. “An Economic Analysis of the Demand for Abortion.” Economic Inquiry. 26: 353-359.
 _____. 2008a. “Abortion costs, sexual
behavior, and pregnancy rates.” The
Social Science Journal
. 45: 156-172
. _____. 2008b.
“The Effect of Abortion Costs on Adoption.”
International Journal of Social Economics
. 35(3): 188-201.
Mundial, Banco.
2010. “Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2008.” Available at: http://www.bvcooperacion.pe/biblioteca/bitstream/123456789/7523/1/BVCI0006645.pdf
New, Michael.
2004. “Analyzing the Effects of State Legislation on the Incidence of
Abortion During the 1990s.”
_____. 2007.
“Analyzing the Effect of State Legislation on the Incidence of Abortion Among
Minors.”
_____. 2011.
“Analyzing the Effect of Anti-Abortion U.S. State Legislation in the Post Casey
Era”. State Politics & Policy
Quarterly
. 11: pp. 28-47.
_____. 2014.
“Analyzing the Impact of U.S. Antiabortion Legislation in the Post-Casey Era A
Reassessment.” State Politics &
Policy Quarterly
. 11: pp. 28-47.
Trussell, J., J.
Menken, B.L, Lindheimand B. Vaughan. 1980. “The impact of restricting Medicaid
financing for abortion.” Family Planning
Perspectives
12, 120-130.


[1] The AGI is a pro-choice lobbying
organization and the semi-official research division of Planned Parenthood. Its
statement of purpose is to promote the liberalization of worldwide abortion
laws.
[2] Similarly, in South and Central
America, Koch et al (2014) finds no relationship between the restrictiveness of
state policies on abortion in Mexico and maternal mortality, while a time
series analysis of Chile failed to show any relationship between historical
changes in abortion policy and either maternal mortality or abortion related
hospitalizations (Koch et al. 2012a). Systematic analyses in Eastern Europe and
studies examining the impact of legalized abortion in Mexico City also
undermine the AGI narrative (Levine and Staiger 2004; Klick and Neelsen 2012; Koch
et al 2012b).
[3] Hansen 1980; Medoff 1988, 2008a,
2008b; Haas-Wilson 1993; Gober 1994; New 2004, 2007, 2011a, b; Guildi 2008;
Koch et al. 2012a, b, 2014…the list goes on. 
[4] 
In fact, some research indicates the opposite: that more liberal
abortion laws may actually lead to an increase in maternal mortality and
morbidity (Alford 2016). Although these findings have yet to be fully explained,
one possibility is that women who obtain abortions are able to become pregnant
again more quickly and/or are more likely to return to former levels of sexual
activity. As a result, this leads to an increase in the overall number of
pregnancies a woman experiences and therefore her overall risk of experiencing
a potentially life threatening complication. This may also help to explain why
countries with more restrictive abortion policies in both Latin America and
Europe tend to have maternal mortality rates that are lower than the regional average
(see above) and why the abortion mortality ratio decrease by almost 96%
subsequent to an abortion ban in Chile (Koch 2013).

Pro-life laws prevent abortion primarily by preventing unplanned pregnancy.

Today’s guest post is by Conner Alford.

Women and their partners are generally forward-thinking and rational in their fertility behavior.

Within
our society’s broader debate on abortion, two particular pro-choice arguments
have occupied a great deal of attention among political activists and leaders
alike. The first and stronger of these arguments postulates that legal
restrictions make abortion more dangerous but that they do not make it any less
common. The underlying logic here is that pro-life policies simply replace safe,
legal terminations with an equal number of dangerous, illegal and self-induced
or ‘back-alley’ abortions (AGI 1999, 2009). In other words, if a woman is
pregnant and does not want to be, she will not consider the legality of her
actions or the risks to her own health when deciding whether or not to abort.
Any woman willing to get a safe, legal abortion is also willing to get an
unsafe, illegal one. When the former is harder to obtain, she will trade it in
for the latter. When the latter is no longer necessary because laws have been
liberalized, she will trade it for the former. This is the argument articulated
by the Alan Guttmacher Institute[1] (AGI) and its affiliated researchers
(Tietze 1973; Juarez et al 2005; Sedgh et al 2007b; Singh et al 2010).
The
second argument makes a somewhat contradictory claim. According to this
narrative, pro-life policies do in fact mitigate abortions. However, they only
do so by replacing those abortions with unwanted births. Women trade abortions
for babies. As a result, the story goes, these undesired offspring either wind
up in state custody or eventually wash out to become criminals (Levitt and
Donahue 2001). Either way, the conclusion that we are supposed to draw is that
pro-life policies are generally ill-advised. However, both of these arguments
are deeply inconsistent with the empirical record and based on a fundamental
misconception about the primary way in which abortion laws actually work and
operate.
First,
studies have shown that while legal restrictions on abortion do reduce the rate
at which it occurs, they do not necessarily
result in an increase in the birth rate (Trussel et al. 1980; Matthews et
al. 1997). Second, the claim that pro-life policies simply lead to an increase
in maternal deaths by driving pregnant women to seek unsafe abortions is
directly challenged by the empirical record. The lowest maternal mortality
rates (MMR) in Europe, for example, occur in Poland, Malta and Ireland—all of
which have extremely restrictive policies (Mundial 2010; Hogan et al. 2010).
Further, a plethora of systematic analyses examining countries from around the
world continuously challenge the idea that legal restrictions on abortion
increase MMRs or hospitalizations.[2]  This, then, undermines a key assumption in the
AGI narrative about illegal abortions. Third, it is important to note that
within the academic community the debate is, generally speaking, no longer
about whether legal restrictions
reduce abortions so much as how they
manage to do so. That pro-life policies mitigate abortion is a point that has
been repeatedly illustrated by literally dozens of independent, peer-reviewed
studies over the course of several decades.[3]
There
has, however, been some disagreement about the exact causal mechanism
responsible for this relationship. Herein we find the chief problem with the
two perspectives introduced at the beginning of this essay. Not only are their
key assertions inconsistent with the empirical record, their entire arguments
are fundamentally oblivious to recent academic insights on how abortion laws
actually operate. Traditionally, scholars have tended to assume that such
policies function to minimize abortions by acting on the posterior “…decision
of a woman who is pregnant not to have the child” (Medoff 1988, p. 354). In
other words, the law was presumed to affect a woman’s behavior only after she had already become
pregnant. The AGI and other pro-choice advocates have adopted this outdated
presupposition.
Since
the mid 1990s, however, the academic understanding has evolved in light of new
evidence. A substantial number of independent, peer reviewed studies have
consistently shown that legal restrictions on abortion work primarily by reducing the rate at which
unplanned pregnancies occur in the first place (Kane and Staiger
1996) and only secondarily by
influencing the behaviors of women who are already pregnant (Levine 2004a)! In
other words, pro-life policies address both the symptom and the cause! To be
more specific, research has shown that women and their partners are generally
forward-thinking and rational in their fertility behavior. They do not wait
until after a pregnancy has already occurred before deciding whether they
should take steps to preempt parenthood. As a result, pro-life policies actually
help to reduce the unplanned pregnancy rate by incentivizing couples to take
additional precautions prior to a
potential pregnancy rather than waiting to obtain an abortion after the
pregnancy has already occurred. Conversely, the opposite is also true. When
abortion is readily accessible, this very availability reduces the incentive to
avoid becoming pregnant by offering a sort of ‘insurance policy,’ should you or
your partner happen to do so. For example, studies have persistently shown that
more permissive policies are causally connected to an increase in unprotected
sex whereas more restrictive policies lead to an increase in contraceptive
usage (Levine 2004b; Medoff 2008a, b; Felkey and Lybecker 2011, 2014, 2015).
There is also some evidence to indicate that legally restricting abortion leads
to a change in the overall amount of sexual activity (Alford 2016).
Of
course, many readers are likely to find this logic somewhat counterintuitive or
even offensive. Despite this, it has been overwhelmingly
supported by the empirical record (Kane and Staiger 1996; Levine et al. 1996;
Levine 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004; Levine and Staiger 2004; McNabb 2007; Medoff 2008a,
b; Felkey and Lybecker 2011). It also helps to explain the previously puzzling
findings of several studies which suggested 
that abortion laws were able to reduce the number of abortions without
an increase in births (Trussel et al. 1980; Matthews et al. 1997) or harming
maternal health outcomes (see footnote 3). Furthermore, it is consistent with
previous findings that the legalization of abortion is associated with an
increase in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases whereas pro-life
policies have the opposite impact (Kick and Stratmann 2003; Klick and Neelsen
2012). Studies examining the impact of abortion policies on the number of
infants available for adoption have, similarly, supported the hypothesis (Gennetian
1999; Bitler and Zavodny 2002; Medoff 2008b).
In
conclusion then, it is important to understand that the primary interaction between pro-life policies and individual
fertility decisions happens before a
potential pregnancy. Men and women are generally rational, free and forward-thinking when it comes to their sex lives. They consider the risks and
potential costs of an unwanted pregnancy before making decisions about whether
to engage in sexual activity or to utilize contraception. When those costs are
subverted by liberalized abortion laws, this provides a sort of ‘insurance
policy,’ which encourages uninhibited sexual activity. When those costs are
reinforced by pro-life policies, however, the opposite occurs. Contraceptive
usage goes up and unplanned pregnancies go down. As a result, legal limitations
on abortion are capable of reducing abortion rates without actually impacting
the overall number of births. Where pro-life policies do lead to an increase in
births, this change is secondary and relatively modest as compared to the
decline in unplanned pregnancy. As a result of this, restrictions on abortion are
also able to operate without a concomitant risk of unsafe abortions. After all,
you cannot illegally terminate a pregnancy that never occurred. This helps to
explain why there does not seem to be any positive relationship between
legalized abortion and maternal health outcomes.[4] The arguments introduced
at the opening of this essay must, therefore, be dismissed in light of new
academic evidence and empirical data. The science simply does not support them.
It does, however, indicate that pro-life laws do not merely address abortion as a symptom but that they attack the
underlying cause of abortion—unplanned pregnancy—at its source.
 
Bibliography
Alan Guttmacher
Institute (AGI). 1999. “Sharing Responsibility: Women, Society & Abortion
Worldwide.” New York.
__________. 2009.
Abortion
Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress
.” New York.
Alford, Conner.
2016. “The Economics of Abortion: A Comparative Analysis of Mexico and the
United States.” Proquest
Dissertations
. Available at: https://search.proquest.com/openview/5e138d6c2e46744301e5f1706efbfa4c/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y
Bitler, Marianne
and Madeline. Zavodny. 2002. “Did Abortion Legalization Reduce the Number
of Unwanted Children? Evidence from Adoptions.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 34(1) 25-33.
Donohue III, John
J and Steven D. Levitt. “The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime.” The Quarterly
Journal of Economics
. 116(2): 379-420.
Felkey, Amanda J.
and Lybecker, Kristina M. 2011. “Variation in Pill Use: Do Abortion Laws
Matter?” International Journal of
Business and Social Science
. 2(16): 1-12.
_____. 2014.
“Utilization of Oral Contraception: The Impact of Direct and Indirect
Restrictions on Access to Abortion.” The
Social Science Journal
.  51: 44-56.
 _____. 2015. “The Role of Restrictive Abortion
Legislation in Explaining Variation in Oral Contraceptive Use.” Clinics in Mother and Child Health. 12(4):
1-10.
Gennetian, Lisa A.
1999.  “The Supply of Infants
relinquished for Adoption: Did Access to Abortion Make a Difference?” Economic Inquiry. 37(3): 412-431.
Gober, Patricia.
1994. “Why Abortion Rates Vary: A Geographical Examination of the Supply
of and Demand for Abortion Services in the United States in 1988.” Annals of the Association of American
Geographers
. 84: 230-250.
Guldi, Melanie.
2008. “Fertility Effects of Abortion and Birth Control Pill Access for
Minors.” Demography. 45(4):
817-827.
Haas-Wilson,
Deborah. 1993.”The Economic Impact of State Restrictions on Abortion:
Parental Consent and Notification Laws and Medicaid Funding Restrictions.”
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
12(3): 498-511.
Hansen, Susan B.
1980. “State Implementation of Supreme Court Decisions: Abortion Rates since
Roe v. Wade.” The Journal of Politics.
42: pp. 372-395.
Hogan MC, Foreman
KJ, Naghavi M, Ahn SY, Wang M, et al. 2010. “Maternal mortality for 181
countries, 1980-2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium
Development Goal 5.” Lancet
375(9726): 1609–1623.
Kane, Thomas J.
and Douglas Staiger. 1996. “Teen Motherhood and Abortion Access.” The
Quarterly Journal of Economics.
111(2): 467-506
Koch, Elard Miguel
Bravo, Sebastián Gatica, Juan F. Stecher, Paula Aracena, Sergio Valenzuela,
IvonneAhlers. 2012A. “Sobrestimacióndel Aborto Inducido en Colombia y otros Países
Latino Americanos. [Overestimation of induced abortion in Colombia and other
Latin American countries].” Ginecol
Obstet Mex
. 80(5): 360-372.
Koch, Elard, John
Thorp, Miguel Bravo, Sebastian Gatica, Camila X. Romero, Hernan Aguilera,
IvonneAhlers. 2012b. “Women’s Education Level, Maternal Health Facilities,
Abortion Legislation and Maternal Deaths: A Natural Experiment in Chile from 1957
to 2007.” PLoS One. 7(5): 1-16.
Koch, Elard,
Calhoun, Paula. Aracena, Sebastian Gatica, and Miguel Bravo. 2014.
“Women’s education level, contraceptive use and maternal mortality
estimates.” Public Health,
128(4): 384-7.
Koch, Elard,
Monique Chireau, Fernando Pliego, Joseph Stanford, Sebastián Haddad, Byron
Calhoun, Paula Aracena, Miguel Bravo, SebastiánGatica, and John Thorp. 2015.
“Abortion legislation, maternal healthcare, fertility, female literacy,
sanitation, violence against women, and maternal deaths: a natural experiment
in 32 Mexican states.”BMJ. 5(2):
e006013–e006013.
Levine, Phillip
B., Amy B. Trainor, and David J. Zimmerman. 1996. “The effect of Medicaid
abortion funding restrictions on abortions, pregnancies and births.” Journal of 
Health Economics
. 15: 555-578.
Levine Phillip B.,
Douglas Staiger, Thomas J. Kane and David J. Zimmerman. 1999. “Roe v. Wade
and American Fertility.” American
Journal of Public Health
. 89(2): pp. 199-203.
Levine, Phillip B.
2002. The Impact of Social Policy and Economic Activity throughout the
Fertility Decision Tree.” in Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic
Analysis
. E.D. Jonathan Gruber. National Bureau of Economic Research, pp.
167-218.
 _____. 2003. “Parental Involvement Laws and
Fertility Behavior.” Journal of Health
Economics
. 22(5): 861–878
_____. 2004a.
“Abortion Policy and the Economics of Fertility.” Society, 41(4): 79-85.
_____. 2004b. Sex
and Consequences: Abortion, Public Policy, and the Economics of Fertility
.
Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
 Levine, Phillip B. and Douglas Staiger. 2004.
“Abortion Policy and Fertility Outcomes: The Eastern European
Experience.” Journal of Law and
Economics
. XLVII (April): 223-243.
Matthews, Stephens
David Ribar and Mark Wilhelm. 1997.”The Effects of Economic Conditions and
Access to Reproductive Health Services On State Abortion rates and
Birthrates.” Family Planning
Perspectives
. 29(2): 52-60.
McNabb, Leland.
2007. “Public Policies and Private Decisions: An Analysis of the Effects of
Abortion Restrictions on Minors’ Contraceptive Behavior.” Available at: https://econ.duke.edu/uploads/assets/dje/2006/McNabb.pdf
Medoff, H.
Marshall. 1988. “An Economic Analysis of the Demand for Abortion.” Economic Inquiry. 26: 353-359.
 _____. 2008a. “Abortion costs, sexual
behavior, and pregnancy rates.” The
Social Science Journal
. 45: 156-172
. _____. 2008b.
“The Effect of Abortion Costs on Adoption.”
International Journal of Social Economics
. 35(3): 188-201.
Mundial, Banco.
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[1] The AGI is a pro-choice lobbying
organization and the semi-official research division of Planned Parenthood. Its
statement of purpose is to promote the liberalization of worldwide abortion
laws.
[2] Similarly, in South and Central
America, Koch et al (2014) finds no relationship between the restrictiveness of
state policies on abortion in Mexico and maternal mortality, while a time
series analysis of Chile failed to show any relationship between historical
changes in abortion policy and either maternal mortality or abortion related
hospitalizations (Koch et al. 2012a). Systematic analyses in Eastern Europe and
studies examining the impact of legalized abortion in Mexico City also
undermine the AGI narrative (Levine and Staiger 2004; Klick and Neelsen 2012; Koch
et al 2012b).
[3] Hansen 1980; Medoff 1988, 2008a,
2008b; Haas-Wilson 1993; Gober 1994; New 2004, 2007, 2011a, b; Guildi 2008;
Koch et al. 2012a, b, 2014…the list goes on. 
[4] 
In fact, some research indicates the opposite: that more liberal
abortion laws may actually lead to an increase in maternal mortality and
morbidity (Alford 2016). Although these findings have yet to be fully explained,
one possibility is that women who obtain abortions are able to become pregnant
again more quickly and/or are more likely to return to former levels of sexual
activity. As a result, this leads to an increase in the overall number of
pregnancies a woman experiences and therefore her overall risk of experiencing
a potentially life threatening complication. This may also help to explain why
countries with more restrictive abortion policies in both Latin America and
Europe tend to have maternal mortality rates that are lower than the regional average
(see above) and why the abortion mortality ratio decrease by almost 96%
subsequent to an abortion ban in Chile (Koch 2013).

Abortion is Nothing to Celebrate


On May 25,
Ireland voted in favor of appealing their 8th amendment, passed in
1983, which addressed the equal right to life of unborn children and their
mothers. The results were announced the following morning, to reactions of cheers, celebrations, and tears. These were happy tears from the
pro-choice crowd, shed because while the country once allowed for abortion only
when the mother’s life was at risk, legislation will now be introduced to allow
for abortion for any reason for up to
12-weeks of pregnancy, and up until 6 months for vague reasons.

The
pro-choice crowd has acknowledged that abortion is a difficult decision to
make, but a woman’s decision to make all the same. At least, they used to. Pro-choicers
might say that they are celebrating “choice” or “freedom,” but those are
euphemisms.

Just as
the pro-choice side has acknowledged that abortion is a difficult decision,
they likewise ought to announce that there is nothing worth celebrating to it.
Post-abortion women and those considering abortion might not feel much, if
anything, about their pregnancy. Nobody purposefully gets pregnant just to have
an abortion, though. Thus, an abortion, occurs because something that the woman
didn’t intend on happening (the pregnancy) happened, and she does not wish to
go through with it. This is an objective, undeniable view of abortion, no
matter one’s view on the issue.

Those
celebrating then are celebrating for something unintended to happen to women,
for them to have to be put into a difficult decision, one which might endanger
their health and well-being, one which they might
come to regret
.
This is in addition to how in celebrating what will inevitably bring about more
abortions, they are celebrating the death of innocent unborn children, who are
unique individuals already beginning to develop from the moment they are
conceived.

The
abortion movement has misled society time and time again, especially and
including women they claim to represent. This is true in the United States,
where Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano—the “Roe” and “Doe” of the 1973
U.S. Supreme Court decisions Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton—were misled by their legal teams in favor of getting the Court to
legalize abortion on-demand in all 50 states, through all nine months of
pregnancy. It’s true in Ireland, as well.

Abortion
advocates decry pro-life laws and nations as anti-women, neglecting to mention
that maternal mortality rates in pro-life Ireland were the envy of the world.
The deceit doesn’t stop there, though. In Ireland, groups such as Amnesty International and Together for Yes, sold abortion as good for
society. Amnesty spoke of “compassion, respect, dignity and
equality.” Together for Yes claimed abortion would create “a more compassionate Ireland.” Sadly, the people of Ireland
bought it.

Even if
the people of Ireland wish to liberalize their abortion laws more so, perhaps
to allow for more exceptions, there is certainly legislation to propose which
is less extreme than the one at hand. Why wasn’t that considered, if the bottom
line was to be “more compassionate,” and not to further the abortion cause?

And who, exactly,
is abortion “more compassionate” for? Certainly not the unborn child, whose
death by abortion is grisly and gruesome, no matter when in term or through
what method. A former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, explains what a
D&C abortion entails here in an interview with Lila Rose,
president of Live Action.


Is abortion “more
compassionate” for women? Not truly, not when, as already mentioned, these
women are faced with unintended and frightening events in their lives, and one
of their options is a cheap, quick fix. The pro-life movement certainly mourns
for the lives lost to abortion, but even if they don’t consider the lives of
those unborn children, those in the pro-choice movement shouldn’t be
celebrating either. For what they’re celebrating is hard choices, as well as
the pain and regret which often follows with it, for the women they claim to be
in support of.



[Today’s guest post by Rebecca Downs is part of our paid blogging program.]