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:

Pro-life laws stop abortions. Here’s the evidence.

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

One of the most popular pro-choice arguments I’ve come across doesn’t have anything to do with the personhood of the unborn or bodily rights. Instead, many pro-choicers try to render philosophical and biological arguments moot by saying that anti-abortion laws (whether they be incremental pro-life laws such as those passed in various US states or total bans on elective abortions) just don’t work.

The source for this claim is nearly always a joint study done by WHO and the Guttmacher Institute (an explicitly pro-choice organization with former ties to Planned Parenthood) published in the Lancet. This study estimates abortion numbers and rates for women in different world regions. They claim to find that abortion rates are similar in regions where abortion is permitted on broad grounds (North America, Europe, etc.) and regions where it is largely illegal (Latin America and Africa). The only difference, the authors say, is that abortion is generally safe in regions where it is legal and unsafe in regions where it is illegal.

While I don’t doubt that illegal abortions are taking place in significant numbers in many developing countries, I do doubt the accuracy of many of Guttmacher’s estimates. It’s beyond the scope of this post to get into all the reasons why, but I’ll link here an admission by the UN (which tends to favor legalized abortion) that Guttmacher’s estimates are “quite speculative because data are missing from the large majority of countries.” (Note the study that the UN is referencing is an older one from 1999, but it was compiled by the same authors using the same methods, and those estimates are used as the basis for later estimates, so the UN’s statement still applies). Despite the speculative nature of such estimates and Guttmacher’s political dog in the fight, these numbers are often repeated uncritically by the media and even many pro-lifers take them at face value. Many people who are generally uncomfortable with legal abortion are convinced not to support banning it because of this study. In fact this argument was part of the reason (among others) that I was pro-choice (in the first trimester) for a few years, even though I was morally opposed to abortion.

About a year ago I started to question my former position on abortion and read a lot of pro-life material, and I did read some pro-life responses to the Lancet study.

Pro-life New York Times columnist Ross Douthat noted in his columns that the study doesn’t compare like to like, and he points out that when comparing abortion rates between generally pro-life US states versus generally pro-choice states, pro-life states have significantly lower abortion rates (this holds even when accounting for women that cross state lines to obtain abortions). This piqued my interest because it contradicted the finding of the Lancet study: that laws restricting abortion weren’t associated with lower abortion rates. Now correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but obviously US states are much more directly comparable to each other than Uganda is to Germany. So I decided to do some research into this question. Rather than comparing different countries, I figured the best way to measure the effectiveness of abortion laws was to compare abortion rates in that country (or state/region) before and after either legalization of abortion or a restrictive law. I also wanted to be sure to find studies that weren’t conducted by pro-life organizations to eliminate any possible bias in favor of anti-abortion laws. Some of these I came across while reading pro-life blogs, but most I found while searching Google Scholar.

This list is what I feel are the best studies showing the effectiveness of different types of anti-abortion laws. I will just summarize the abstract next to the link.

Effects of Abortion Legalization 

Effects of Restricted Public Funding for Abortion

Waiting Period/Counseling Effects 

Effects of Declining/Increasing Abortion Facilities

Note that many of these studies find effects of abortion laws on fertility (lower when abortion legalized and higher when abortion is restricted) which means that it can’t be argued that unreported illegal abortion can make up the difference in abortion rates. If abortion restrictions don’t change the rate of abortion, then abortion laws shouldn’t have any measurable effect on fertility.

I think there are enough studies here to refute the notion that abortion laws don’t work. This argument is very prominent among pro-choicers and it has proven influential in convincing people that are morally opposed to abortion not to oppose it legally. But it’s simply a myth. Laws do matter, abortion availability does matter, and pro-lifers should not be deceived by pro-choice lobbying groups to give up the legal fight against abortion.

Pro-life laws stop abortions. Here’s the evidence.

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

One of the most popular pro-choice arguments I’ve come across doesn’t have anything to do with the personhood of the unborn or bodily rights. Instead, many pro-choicers try to render philosophical and biological arguments moot by saying that anti-abortion laws (whether they be incremental pro-life laws such as those passed in various US states or total bans on elective abortions) just don’t work.

The source for this claim is nearly always a joint study done by WHO and the Guttmacher Institute (an explicitly pro-choice organization with former ties to Planned Parenthood) published in the Lancet. This study estimates abortion numbers and rates for women in different world regions. They claim to find that abortion rates are similar in regions where abortion is permitted on broad grounds (North America, Europe, etc.) and regions where it is largely illegal (Latin America and Africa). The only difference, the authors say, is that abortion is generally safe in regions where it is legal and unsafe in regions where it is illegal.

While I don’t doubt that illegal abortions are taking place in significant numbers in many developing countries, I do doubt the accuracy of many of Guttmacher’s estimates. It’s beyond the scope of this post to get into all the reasons why, but I’ll link here an admission by the UN (which tends to favor legalized abortion) that Guttmacher’s estimates are “quite speculative because data are missing from the large majority of countries.” (Note the study that the UN is referencing is an older one from 1999, but it was compiled by the same authors using the same methods, and those estimates are used as the basis for later estimates, so the UN’s statement still applies). Despite the speculative nature of such estimates and Guttmacher’s political dog in the fight, these numbers are often repeated uncritically by the media and even many pro-lifers take them at face value. Many people who are generally uncomfortable with legal abortion are convinced not to support banning it because of this study. In fact this argument was part of the reason (among others) that I was pro-choice (in the first trimester) for a few years, even though I was morally opposed to abortion.

About a year ago I started to question my former position on abortion and read a lot of pro-life material, and I did read some pro-life responses to the Lancet study.

Pro-life New York Times columnist Ross Douthat noted in his columns that the study doesn’t compare like to like, and he points out that when comparing abortion rates between generally pro-life US states versus generally pro-choice states, pro-life states have significantly lower abortion rates (this holds even when accounting for women that cross state lines to obtain abortions). This piqued my interest because it contradicted the finding of the Lancet study: that laws restricting abortion weren’t associated with lower abortion rates. Now correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but obviously US states are much more directly comparable to each other than Uganda is to Germany. So I decided to do some research into this question. Rather than comparing different countries, I figured the best way to measure the effectiveness of abortion laws was to compare abortion rates in that country (or state/region) before and after either legalization of abortion or a restrictive law. I also wanted to be sure to find studies that weren’t conducted by pro-life organizations to eliminate any possible bias in favor of anti-abortion laws. Some of these I came across while reading pro-life blogs, but most I found while searching Google Scholar.

This list is what I feel are the best studies showing the effectiveness of different types of anti-abortion laws. I will just summarize the abstract next to the link.

Effects of Abortion Legalization 

Effects of Restricted Public Funding for Abortion

Waiting Period/Counseling Effects 

Effects of Declining/Increasing Abortion Facilities

Note that many of these studies find effects of abortion laws on fertility (lower when abortion legalized and higher when abortion is restricted) which means that it can’t be argued that unreported illegal abortion can make up the difference in abortion rates. If abortion restrictions don’t change the rate of abortion, then abortion laws shouldn’t have any measurable effect on fertility.

I think there are enough studies here to refute the notion that abortion laws don’t work. This argument is very prominent among pro-choicers and it has proven influential in convincing people that are morally opposed to abortion not to oppose it legally. But it’s simply a myth. Laws do matter, abortion availability does matter, and pro-lifers should not be deceived by pro-choice lobbying groups to give up the legal fight against abortion.

Pro-choicers oppose informed consent. Again.

Texas law mandates that women seeking an abortion must be given an informational pamphlet on abortion and then wait 24 hours before undergoing an abortion procedure. This pamphlet was created in 2003 and is now being updated to reflect more current knowledge of fetal development and the effects of abortion. The new pamphlet was made publicly available by the Texas Department of State Health Services on June 28th.

Before I delve into the controversy, here’s a quick review of the pamphlet. In the introductory page, the writers stress the importance of discussing with your doctor not just the medical risks of abortion but also of giving birth. The pamphlet then gives week-by-week facts about embryonic and fetal development. Next, the writers talk about risks of abortion (death, mental health risks, infertility, etc), the process of obtaining an abortion with emphasis on informed consent, information on support services, and then abortion procedures and their side effects. The last section talks about the risks of giving birth, including common medical risks of pregnancy, risks of birthing, and postpartum problems.

This is already more impartial than most abortion providers. Pro-choicers show their true colors when they fight tooth and nail to prevent facts from being given to abortion-minded women regarding prenatal development, the effects of abortion, and alternatives to abortion. If your worldview requires keeping women in the dark, I have to wonder how you can unironically claim the title of “feminist,” “pro-woman,” or any of the other empowering titles we see pro-choicers crown themselves with.

That is the core of this Texas pamphlet issue.

These 2016 updates (but not the pamphlet itself) are open to public comment until today, Friday, July 29, 2016 (send an email to WRTK@dshs.state.tx.us if you’d like to comment on the new material). Naturally, pro-choice leaders are rallying their followers to send in critical comments. 

Alexa Garcia-Ditta of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas said her organization and other abortion rights groups statewide have teamed up to generate more than 5,000 comments criticizing the latest draft.

Hopefully these are all worthwhile complaints, i.e. against factual inaccuracies. Somehow I doubt it. But allow me to address some complaints I saw in recent news articles.

1. TERMINOLOGY

While I think that calling the pamphlet “state-mandated abortion propaganda” is hyperbolic, I also think they have a point here. The article says:

Among major changes, the new draft uses “your baby” when describing gestation development as early as four weeks, rather than medical terms, such as “fetus.” 

In the previous version, the term “baby” was used more sparingly and accurately. While the term “baby” has been defined as “a very young child” and “an unborn child; a fetus,” and I understand its colloquial use, when you’re writing a pamphlet detailing clinical risks/outcomes it is in bad form to use colloquial language in place of clinical terminology. And I could see how a pro-choicer would see this as deceptive. It’s no better than when pro-choicers insist on using the term “fetus” in a casual conversation. Certain terms are meant for certain modes of communication, and choosing the inappropriate term is a manipulation of language for an agenda. The listener is bound to detect this agenda, causing them to lose trust in the impartiality of the speaker. Why undermine our credibility when the facts are already on our side?

2. LACK OF EXTRANEOUS POLICY

The same article takes issue with the fact that the writers included this…

You have a greater risk of dying from the abortion procedure and having serious complications the further along you are in your pregnancy.

…but did not include the conclusion of the article they cited to support this claim. That conclusion said, “increased access to surgical and nonsurgical abortion services may increase the proportion of abortions performed at lower-risk, early gestational ages and help further decrease deaths.” In other words, the authors of the study pointed out that increased access to abortion could decrease deaths from later-term abortions. For some reason they think this should have been included in the pamphlet. But this seems like a tangential issue (public policy proposals), unrelated to informing women of their current projected risks. I’m sure with birth as well there are risks which could be mitigated by new policies, yet bringing up possible future policies in an informational pamphlet doesn’t make much sense.

3. NO OVERT DEATH RATE COMPARISON

Opponents also complained that this information wasn’t included:

Moreover, a 2012 study found that abortion is “markedly safer than childbirth.” The study found that the risk of death from carrying a pregnancy to term “is approximately 14 times higher than that with abortion.”

However if you read the pamphlet, the authors give the exact risk of death for various gestational ages and for vaginal and cesarean delivery:

There is one death per every one million abortions for women who are eight weeks pregnant or less, one death per 29,000 abortions for pregnancies at 16 to 20 weeks of gestation, and one death per 11,000 abortions at 21 weeks of gestation and later.

Vaginal Delivery: Possible side effects and risks… Death (very rare — one per 500,000 vaginal deliveries of a live-born infant).

Cesarean Birth: Possible side effects and risks… Death (very rare — one per 45,500 cesarean deliveries of a live-born infant).

I suppose one could complain that the authors said “very rare” only for the birth risks but not for the early-term abortions which are far more rare. One might also complain that risk of death between 8-16 weeks is not given even though this is a pretty common gestational age to obtain an abortion. However, complaining that they did not explicitly compare the rates rings pretty hollow when they clearly provided rates for both abortion and childbirth.

4. BREAST CANCER RISK

Lastly:

Unchanged in the latest version is language saying giving birth, rather than having an abortion, makes women “less likely to develop breast cancer in the future.”

“Research indicates that having an abortion will not provide you this increased protection against breast cancer,” it reads. But the American Cancer Society refutes that on its website, saying “scientific research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer.”

You may notice that these two quotes are not mutually exclusive. In fact both are true. Here is what the pamphlet says about breast cancer in its entirety:

Your pregnancy history affects your chances of getting breast cancer. If you give birth to your baby, you are less likely to develop breast cancer in the future. Research indicates that having an abortion will not provide you this increased protection against breast cancer. In addition, doctors and scientists are actively studying the complex biology of breast cancer to understand whether abortion may affect the risk of breast cancer. If you have a family history of breast cancer or breast disease, ask your doctor how your pregnancy will affect your risk of breast cancer.

Giving birth lowers your chance of breast cancer, so of course if you choose to not give birth you will miss out on that protective effect. That’s all completely true. And that’s how they phrased it. So the quote from the ACS is refuting something nobody claimed. Good job, guys.

Overall this is not a very credible list of complaints. And these are just the ones credible enough to mention in news articles. The pamphlet gives valid and useful information which women would not otherwise receive — certainly not in its entirety since a doctor’s visit is a mere 15-20 minutes. Pamphlets are a great way to close this knowledge gap, especially for patients who don’t have the resources, time, and discerning ability to go find it all themselves. As a pro-lifer I fully support keeping women informed on all these topics, and do not seek to hide or manipulate information. You would think this would be a great common-ground principle to share with pro-choicers, as their name implies. But this pamphlet backlash is a prime example of the fact that it is not.

If you want to submit comments in support of the revisions, you can do so via email to WRTK@dshs.state.tx.us. Today is the deadline. Additional information is available here.

Pro-choicers oppose informed consent. Again.

Texas law mandates that women seeking an abortion must be given an informational pamphlet on abortion and then wait 24 hours before undergoing an abortion procedure. This pamphlet was created in 2003 and is now being updated to reflect more current knowledge of fetal development and the effects of abortion. The new pamphlet was made publicly available by the Texas Department of State Health Services on June 28th.

Before I delve into the controversy, here’s a quick review of the pamphlet. In the introductory page, the writers stress the importance of discussing with your doctor not just the medical risks of abortion but also of giving birth. The pamphlet then gives week-by-week facts about embryonic and fetal development. Next, the writers talk about risks of abortion (death, mental health risks, infertility, etc), the process of obtaining an abortion with emphasis on informed consent, information on support services, and then abortion procedures and their side effects. The last section talks about the risks of giving birth, including common medical risks of pregnancy, risks of birthing, and postpartum problems.

This is already more impartial than most abortion providers. Pro-choicers show their true colors when they fight tooth and nail to prevent facts from being given to abortion-minded women regarding prenatal development, the effects of abortion, and alternatives to abortion. If your worldview requires keeping women in the dark, I have to wonder how you can unironically claim the title of “feminist,” “pro-woman,” or any of the other empowering titles we see pro-choicers crown themselves with.

That is the core of this Texas pamphlet issue.

These 2016 updates (but not the pamphlet itself) are open to public comment until today, Friday, July 29, 2016 (send an email to WRTK@dshs.state.tx.us if you’d like to comment on the new material). Naturally, pro-choice leaders are rallying their followers to send in critical comments. 

Alexa Garcia-Ditta of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas said her organization and other abortion rights groups statewide have teamed up to generate more than 5,000 comments criticizing the latest draft.

Hopefully these are all worthwhile complaints, i.e. against factual inaccuracies. Somehow I doubt it. But allow me to address some complaints I saw in recent news articles.

1. TERMINOLOGY

While I think that calling the pamphlet “state-mandated abortion propaganda” is hyperbolic, I also think they have a point here. The article says:

Among major changes, the new draft uses “your baby” when describing gestation development as early as four weeks, rather than medical terms, such as “fetus.” 

In the previous version, the term “baby” was used more sparingly and accurately. While the term “baby” has been defined as “a very young child” and “an unborn child; a fetus,” and I understand its colloquial use, when you’re writing a pamphlet detailing clinical risks/outcomes it is in bad form to use colloquial language in place of clinical terminology. And I could see how a pro-choicer would see this as deceptive. It’s no better than when pro-choicers insist on using the term “fetus” in a casual conversation. Certain terms are meant for certain modes of communication, and choosing the inappropriate term is a manipulation of language for an agenda. The listener is bound to detect this agenda, causing them to lose trust in the impartiality of the speaker. Why undermine our credibility when the facts are already on our side?

2. LACK OF EXTRANEOUS POLICY

The same article takes issue with the fact that the writers included this…

You have a greater risk of dying from the abortion procedure and having serious complications the further along you are in your pregnancy.

…but did not include the conclusion of the article they cited to support this claim. That conclusion said, “increased access to surgical and nonsurgical abortion services may increase the proportion of abortions performed at lower-risk, early gestational ages and help further decrease deaths.” In other words, the authors of the study pointed out that increased access to abortion could decrease deaths from later-term abortions. For some reason they think this should have been included in the pamphlet. But this seems like a tangential issue (public policy proposals), unrelated to informing women of their current projected risks. I’m sure with birth as well there are risks which could be mitigated by new policies, yet bringing up possible future policies in an informational pamphlet doesn’t make much sense.

3. NO OVERT DEATH RATE COMPARISON

Opponents also complained that this information wasn’t included:

Moreover, a 2012 study found that abortion is “markedly safer than childbirth.” The study found that the risk of death from carrying a pregnancy to term “is approximately 14 times higher than that with abortion.”

However if you read the pamphlet, the authors give the exact risk of death for various gestational ages and for vaginal and cesarean delivery:

There is one death per every one million abortions for women who are eight weeks pregnant or less, one death per 29,000 abortions for pregnancies at 16 to 20 weeks of gestation, and one death per 11,000 abortions at 21 weeks of gestation and later.

Vaginal Delivery: Possible side effects and risks… Death (very rare — one per 500,000 vaginal deliveries of a live-born infant).

Cesarean Birth: Possible side effects and risks… Death (very rare — one per 45,500 cesarean deliveries of a live-born infant).

I suppose one could complain that the authors said “very rare” only for the birth risks but not for the early-term abortions which are far more rare. One might also complain that risk of death between 8-16 weeks is not given even though this is a pretty common gestational age to obtain an abortion. However, complaining that they did not explicitly compare the rates rings pretty hollow when they clearly provided rates for both abortion and childbirth.

4. BREAST CANCER RISK

Lastly:

Unchanged in the latest version is language saying giving birth, rather than having an abortion, makes women “less likely to develop breast cancer in the future.”

“Research indicates that having an abortion will not provide you this increased protection against breast cancer,” it reads. But the American Cancer Society refutes that on its website, saying “scientific research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer.”

You may notice that these two quotes are not mutually exclusive. In fact both are true. Here is what the pamphlet says about breast cancer in its entirety:

Your pregnancy history affects your chances of getting breast cancer. If you give birth to your baby, you are less likely to develop breast cancer in the future. Research indicates that having an abortion will not provide you this increased protection against breast cancer. In addition, doctors and scientists are actively studying the complex biology of breast cancer to understand whether abortion may affect the risk of breast cancer. If you have a family history of breast cancer or breast disease, ask your doctor how your pregnancy will affect your risk of breast cancer.

Giving birth lowers your chance of breast cancer, so of course if you choose to not give birth you will miss out on that protective effect. That’s all completely true. And that’s how they phrased it. So the quote from the ACS is refuting something nobody claimed. Good job, guys.

Overall this is not a very credible list of complaints. And these are just the ones credible enough to mention in news articles. The pamphlet gives valid and useful information which women would not otherwise receive — certainly not in its entirety since a doctor’s visit is a mere 15-20 minutes. Pamphlets are a great way to close this knowledge gap, especially for patients who don’t have the resources, time, and discerning ability to go find it all themselves. As a pro-lifer I fully support keeping women informed on all these topics, and do not seek to hide or manipulate information. You would think this would be a great common-ground principle to share with pro-choicers, as their name implies. But this pamphlet backlash is a prime example of the fact that it is not.

If you want to submit comments in support of the revisions, you can do so via email to WRTK@dshs.state.tx.us. Today is the deadline. Additional information is available here.

Utah’s 72-hour waiting period prevents abortions

Photo via Pro-Life Utah

Pro-choice author Christina Cauterucci has an article up at Slate entitled Study: Utah’s 72-Hour Waiting Period Doesn’t Dissuade Women From Having Abortions. It is an excellent example of “Headline Contradicted By Actual Article,”* because buried in the fourth paragraph is a testimonial from a woman who said “About two days after the [information] appointment, I canceled the [abortion] appointment. I couldn’t do it.”

Two days is, you’ll note, more time than is allowed under the typical 24-hour waiting period found constitutional in Casey. And obviously, in a state with no waiting period at all (which is what Cauterucci wants), there’s a good chance this abortion would not have been prevented.

But let’s take a few steps back.

Researchers from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco surveyed 500 women presenting for abortion information visits at four abortion providers [in Utah] in 2013 and 2014; 309 completed a follow-up survey three weeks later.

The fact that nearly two-fifths of the study participants disappeared made me want to dig deeper. It’s worth noting that the journal in which this study appeared—Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health—is operated by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion think tank that makes full text articles freely available when it supports their agenda (here’s an example). But this time they used a paywall. My curiosity got the best of me; I sucked it up and paid so you wouldn’t have to.

It turns out that the researchers got advance authorization to ask the abortion facility whether participants lost to follow-up had had an abortion. Sadly, they confirmed that seventy-two percent aborted. As for the remaining 28 percent, the researchers believe that some had their abortions at other facilities, because they assume that the non-respondents were no more likely to have rejected abortion than those who followed up.

Moving on to the women who did complete the follow-up survey, eight percent had definitively rejected abortion. (85% aborted; the rest miscarried or were still deciding.) Cauterucci reports that of those who had changed their minds, “the most common reason given was that they’d been conflicted about abortion from the start.” That’s incorrect. The most common reason given was that they “just couldn’t do it,” regardless of whether or not they were conflicted from the start.

Women giving this answer fell into three groups. The first group, consisting of 11 women, never wanted abortions. Before receiving informed consent and before the waiting period, they indicated that they wanted to keep their babies. The obvious question of who or what forced them into the waiting room of an abortion facility is left unresolved, but the fact that nearly one in ten study participants reported violence from the father of the baby may have something to do with it. (“Choice” my foot.)

The second group, consisting of 9 women, wanted abortions but expressed some ambivalence on the researcher’s scale. And the third group, consisting of 7 women, “had [initially] preferred abortion and had low conflict”—meaning that they had a complete change of heart during the waiting period. Which is, of course, the whole point!

Cauterucci reports that aside from deciding that they “just couldn’t do it,” the next most common reason for rejecting abortion was financial. Cauterucci omits the third most common reason:

The next most common reason women gave for not having had the abortion was that other people had come through for them. A 30-year-old nulliparous woman said, “My boyfriend got his shit together.” And a 24-year-old, who had had two births, responded, “I talked with my family more about it, and they support me and they are willing to help me.”

That’s very encouraging. It would have been informative to know when they came through—right away, or in the 71st hour? The study doesn’t say. Regardless, it’s an important reminder of the importance of supporting the pregnant mothers in our lives.

The researchers also asked women what the “hardest part” of the waiting period was. About one in five reported just wanting to get it over with, which Cauterucci characterizes as a “tax on the mind.” But eight percent reported “questioning the decision” and six percent reported “dwelling on the decision” as the hardest part, which again indicates that women are using the waiting period for its intended purpose.

Returning to Cauterucci’s article:

In a statement about the new research, lead author and UCSF assistant professor Sarah Roberts recommended abortion providers offer additional counseling for the minority of women who aren’t sure about their decision or feel personal conflict, rather than states imposing a mandatory waiting period for all women, the majority of whom have already made up their minds.

Additional counseling? Yeah, because the abortion industry’s record on informed consent laws to date suggests that they’ll totally embrace that idea.

I can already imagine the uproar that would ensue from a requirement that women who express ambivalence in the initial appointment receive a second round of counseling. “You’re punishing women for saying how they feel!” Oy vey.

Here’s what this really comes down to. Which do you believe is more tragic: the failure to prevent an unwanted abortion that the mother will regret, or a burden on “access” for no-second-guessing abortions? The researchers asked about the cost burden of having to go to the abortion facility twice; the average was $44. Is preventing the abortions of wanted babies worth $44 to you?

The fact that a large contingent of the voting public would answer that question in the negative depresses the hell out of me.

*Credit for this phrase goes to Drew Curtis of Fark.com and is discussed at length in his book.

Utah’s 72-hour waiting period prevents abortions

Photo via Pro-Life Utah

Pro-choice author Christina Cauterucci has an article up at Slate entitled Study: Utah’s 72-Hour Waiting Period Doesn’t Dissuade Women From Having Abortions. It is an excellent example of “Headline Contradicted By Actual Article,”* because buried in the fourth paragraph is a testimonial from a woman who said “About two days after the [information] appointment, I canceled the [abortion] appointment. I couldn’t do it.”

Two days is, you’ll note, more time than is allowed under the typical 24-hour waiting period found constitutional in Casey. And obviously, in a state with no waiting period at all (which is what Cauterucci wants), there’s a good chance this abortion would not have been prevented.

But let’s take a few steps back.

Researchers from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco surveyed 500 women presenting for abortion information visits at four abortion providers [in Utah] in 2013 and 2014; 309 completed a follow-up survey three weeks later.

The fact that nearly two-fifths of the study participants disappeared made me want to dig deeper. It’s worth noting that the journal in which this study appeared—Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health—is operated by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion think tank that makes full text articles freely available when it supports their agenda (here’s an example). But this time they used a paywall. My curiosity got the best of me; I sucked it up and paid so you wouldn’t have to.

It turns out that the researchers got advance authorization to ask the abortion facility whether participants lost to follow-up had had an abortion. Sadly, they confirmed that seventy-two percent aborted. As for the remaining 28 percent, the researchers believe that some had their abortions at other facilities, because they assume that the non-respondents were no more likely to have rejected abortion than those who followed up.

Moving on to the women who did complete the follow-up survey, eight percent had definitively rejected abortion. (85% aborted; the rest miscarried or were still deciding.) Cauterucci reports that of those who had changed their minds, “the most common reason given was that they’d been conflicted about abortion from the start.” That’s incorrect. The most common reason given was that they “just couldn’t do it,” regardless of whether or not they were conflicted from the start.

Women giving this answer fell into three groups. The first group, consisting of 11 women, never wanted abortions. Before receiving informed consent and before the waiting period, they indicated that they wanted to keep their babies. The obvious question of who or what forced them into the waiting room of an abortion facility is left unresolved, but the fact that nearly one in ten study participants reported violence from the father of the baby may have something to do with it. (“Choice” my foot.)

The second group, consisting of 9 women, wanted abortions but expressed some ambivalence on the researcher’s scale. And the third group, consisting of 7 women, “had [initially] preferred abortion and had low conflict”—meaning that they had a complete change of heart during the waiting period. Which is, of course, the whole point!

Cauterucci reports that aside from deciding that they “just couldn’t do it,” the next most common reason for rejecting abortion was financial. Cauterucci omits the third most common reason:

The next most common reason women gave for not having had the abortion was that other people had come through for them. A 30-year-old nulliparous woman said, “My boyfriend got his shit together.” And a 24-year-old, who had had two births, responded, “I talked with my family more about it, and they support me and they are willing to help me.”

That’s very encouraging. It would have been informative to know when they came through—right away, or in the 71st hour? The study doesn’t say. Regardless, it’s an important reminder of the importance of supporting the pregnant mothers in our lives.

The researchers also asked women what the “hardest part” of the waiting period was. About one in five reported just wanting to get it over with, which Cauterucci characterizes as a “tax on the mind.” But eight percent reported “questioning the decision” and six percent reported “dwelling on the decision” as the hardest part, which again indicates that women are using the waiting period for its intended purpose.

Returning to Cauterucci’s article:

In a statement about the new research, lead author and UCSF assistant professor Sarah Roberts recommended abortion providers offer additional counseling for the minority of women who aren’t sure about their decision or feel personal conflict, rather than states imposing a mandatory waiting period for all women, the majority of whom have already made up their minds.

Additional counseling? Yeah, because the abortion industry’s record on informed consent laws to date suggests that they’ll totally embrace that idea.

I can already imagine the uproar that would ensue from a requirement that women who express ambivalence in the initial appointment receive a second round of counseling. “You’re punishing women for saying how they feel!” Oy vey.

Here’s what this really comes down to. Which do you believe is more tragic: the failure to prevent an unwanted abortion that the mother will regret, or a burden on “access” for no-second-guessing abortions? The researchers asked about the cost burden of having to go to the abortion facility twice; the average was $44. Is preventing the abortions of wanted babies worth $44 to you?

The fact that a large contingent of the voting public would answer that question in the negative depresses the hell out of me.

*Credit for this phrase goes to Drew Curtis of Fark.com and is discussed at length in his book.

Utah’s 72-hour waiting period

According to the Salt Lake Tribune,


Come Tuesday, Utah will become the only state in the nation with a law requiring a woman to wait 72 hours for an abortion.

“I think it’s a positive change for women and children,” said [Sponsoring Rep. Steve] Eliason. “At the end of the day, it’s a consumer-protection law.

“The focus of this bill is women having time to consider all of the information that is given to them when facing a life-altering decision that somebody else is making money off of,” he said.

Eliason compared it to a cancer patient receiving all the relevant information before beginning treatment. And he pointed to legal waiting periods already in force for such things as adoptions, mortgage approval, marriage and divorce — all of which can be undone.



Some studies show that these types of restrictions tend to decrease abortions, but in what way?  


Supporters of this type of legislation tend to fear that women will get an abortion under emotional duress without considering all ramifications; they cite testimony from post-abortive women who later had children and came to deeply regret their abortions as they saw subsequent pregnancies in a different light.  Supporters hope this type of legislation gives women pause, allows them to reconsider, and thus decreases the number of women who choose abortion.


Opponents argue that women already carefully consider such an important decision and that it is condescending and controlling to make them think about it longer.  Opponents say that this type of legislation restricts abortion access to women by requiring them to find more time and resources to make these appointments, particularly women who live in areas where they have to travel long distances to get to abortion clinics.  

And so, dear Reader, we ask for your take:
  1. What research is available about the effects of mandatory waiting periods? Do waiting periods decrease abortions by getting women to reconsider, preventing women from abortion access, or both?  Or another option?
  2. What other medical procedures have mandatory waiting periods?  Do you think there should be mandatory waiting periods for more medical procedures? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think there should be mandatory waiting periods for other potentially emotional decisions, such as divorce or adoption? Why or why not?


What do Americans mean when they say “pro-choice”?

While the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are clearly open for interpretation, I’ve had the impression that, generally, “pro-life” people think abortion should be illegal except in cases that threaten the mother’s life (and perhaps in cases of rape*) and “pro-choice” people generally think abortion should be legal throughout pregnancy.  My impressions are due partially to my countless conversations with passionate pro-choicers (who, yes, are sometimes pro-abortion) and due partially to the heated public debates that ensue with nearly every attempt at abortion restriction. 
The combination of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton effectively made abortion legal at any stage in pregnancy.  Most attempts to limit this liberal standard are met with strong resistance.  I’m not just talking about sweeping changes, like declaring personhood begins at conception.  Even more mild restrictions, such as parental notification requirements, are greatly contested.
It seems to me there are two possible reasons for this defense of some of the most permissive abortion standards in the world:
1)      The pro-choice movement genuinely believes abortion should be legal at any time for any reason.
2)      A fair amount of pro-choicers don’t realize exactly what standard they’re defending.
This Gallup poll suggests the latter.  While 46% of respondents described themselves as “pro-choice,” only 38% said abortion should be legal in “any” or “most” circumstances.  Additionally, of self-described pro-choicers:
  • 60% think minors should be required to get parental consent.
  • 60% think women should be required to wait 24 hours before obtaining an abortion.
  • 63% think partial-birth abortion should be illegal.
  • 52% think abortion should be illegal in the 2nd trimester.
  • 79% think abortion should be illegal in the 3rd trimester.
It’s also worth noting that only 90% of self-described pro-lifers think abortion should be illegal in the 2nd trimester.  Even so, if:
  • 90% of the 48% of Americans who describe themselves as “pro-life” (43.2%) and
  • 52% of the 46% who describe themselves as “pro-choice” (23.92%)
believe abortion should be illegal by the 2nd trimester, then 68% of Americans think abortion should be illegal after the 1st trimester.
The majority of Americans don’t agree with our current abortion law.  Why, then, has it been so difficult to unify and enact meaningful change?
*According to the same Gallup poll, 59% of self-described pro-lifers believe abortion should be legal in cases of rape.