Anti-abortion scholar: Restrictions should be designed to raise costs for women
Anti-abortion restrictions should be designed to raise “the costs” of abortions in order to discourage women from obtaining them, a prominent scholar for a leading anti-abortion group told an audience of social conservative activists in Washington last weekend.
Abortion rights advocates have long suspected that the purpose of restrictive abortion laws is to impede access to abortion. Anti-abortion advocates generally refuse to concede the point, countering that laws that require women to make multiple trips to the abortion clinic, for instance, are intended to help women make informed choices. But speaking at the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of religious conservatives sponsored by the Family Research Council and other conservative groups, anti-abortion scholar Michael J. New veered from abortion foes’ traditional argument when he specifically advocated policies to raise “the costs” of abortions.
“The best thing you can do when you get home is support a variety of state pro-life bills, and essentially, if your state has them, they can be strengthened,” New, a University of Michigan-Dearborn professor who is an adjunct scholar for the anti-abortion Charlotte Lozier Institute, said during a September 15 presentation at the summit. “You can defund abortion by stopping Medicaid funding or by defunding Planned Parenthood. You can strengthen parental-involvement laws, by requiring both parents to be involved. You can strengthen informed-consent laws: Require the woman to see an ultrasound, or require two trips to the clinic. That raises the costs; that stops the abortion from happening. You can lengthen the waiting period. Don’t be like the other states that do 24, 48, 72 hours. Do it for nine months—that’ll stop abortions in your state. I guarantee it.”
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The Charlotte Lozier Institute was founded in 2011 as the education and research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, a political action committee that works to elect abortion rights opponents to Congress. The Lozier Institute has been touted as the abortion rights opponents’ response to the Guttmacher Institute, a policy group once affiliated with Planned Parenthood that produces research on abortion laws and policy and is often cited by lawmakers, scholars, and journalists on both sides of the abortion debate.
New, who is also a fellow for the conservative Witherspoon Institute, said his research has found a correlation between states’ anti-abortion legislation and declines in abortion—among 47 states that reported data in 1990 and 2005, he said the number of abortions dropped by about 22 percent.
New reiterated his comments in an interview with The American Independent following the panel discussion, specifically noting that abortion laws that require two separate trips to the clinic drive up the costs for women trying to get an abortion, “especially for women in rural areas.”
“We really know a lot about public funding restrictions, and we know a lot about parental involvement,” New said. “There’s also a body of research—not as large—on informed-consent laws, and the important thing there is they really have to be designed the right way. They typically have to require two separate trips to the clinic. That kind of raises the economic costs of getting an abortion, especially for women in rural areas, women who live far away. Yeah, I think there’s good evidence from Mississippi and a few other states that have done them that they’ve been effective, as well.”
“I have some concern with how well a lot of those informed-consent laws are enforced,” he added. “With things like public funding, if money doesn’t show up, that’s self-enforcing. With informed consent, you’re kind of relying on the clinic to supervise itself, which it may or may not do. But essentially if you get situations where, you know, people have to make two separate trips, that does raise the economic cost, that does get the numbers down.”
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Asked about New’s comments, a spokesperson for the Susan B. Anthony List told The American Independent that informed-consent laws are intended to help women, not hinder their decisions.
“The goal with both informed consent legislation and waiting periods is to provide essential information to the mother thinking about abortion and ensure she has time to consider it,” said Mallory Quigley in an email. “States are advising mothers of fetal development and alternatives and providing reassurance that the community prefers childbirth over abortion. The waiting period is not a tax but a time for reflection and even consultation about the support services available to mothers.”
Quigley referred TAI to one of New’s studies, which was published in 2011 in State Politics and Policy Quarterly. According to Quigley, New “found that holding a variety of economic and demographic variables constant, a range of state informed consent laws were effective in helping mothers to choose life, regardless of whether these laws required two trips to the clinic.”
She also added: “The fact remains that abortion clinic revenues are very substantial—by conservative estimates, abortion procedures account for 46% of all Planned Parenthood clinic revenue. The abortion clinics themselves have far more control over the cost of an abortion than anyone else.”
PolitiFact Florida has analyzed a similar claim about Planned Parenthood’s abortion revenue and has labeled it “false.”
In the conclusion section of the paper Quigley referenced, New noted that restricting public funding of abortion raises costs for women, potentially reducing abortion rates:
This study is unable to provide a clear rationale as to why in-state abortion rates and ratios decrease after states enact anti-abortion laws. Public funding restrictions, parental involvement laws, and informed consent laws would, respectively, increase the costs of obtaining an abortion, place legal restrictions on abortion, and require that alternatives be presented to women seeking abortions. As such, these laws might increase the likelihood that women facing crisis pregnancies would give birth. Parental involvement laws might increase the likelihood that minors will obtain abortions in states where the laws are less restrictive. Anti-abortion laws might increase the likelihood of unreported or illegal abortions. Finally, anti-abortion laws might also give individuals a greater incentive to use contraceptives or engage in less sexual activity.
A 2009 Guttmacher Institute literature review analyzing the impact on abortion of state mandatory counseling and waiting period laws cited research finding that implementation of Mississippi’s 1992 mandatory counseling law, which called for an extra in-person visit, was followed by a drop in abortions in Mississippi but a smaller increase in the rate of Mississippi residents obtaining abortions in neighboring states like Tennessee and Alabama.
Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager of the Guttmacher Institute, told The American Independent that although abortion restrictions that lead to higher costs for women might have the effect of reducing abortion rates in those states, these laws don’t address the broader issue.
“None of these restrictions reduces the need for abortion,” Nash said. “This is all about abortion and has nothing to do with reducing unintended pregnancy.”
Now the truth comes out…the GOP’s war on women is not just on the reproductive rights front – they are also waging an economic war on women as well with these anti-choice laws.
In fact, since 1992, when the Casey decision allowed states to enact restrictions on abortion access, the abortion rate has declined faster in states without restrictions than in those with restrictions. In states with abortion restrictions, the abortion rate fell by 22.3 percent between 1992 and 2008. In states without abortion restrictions, the abortion rate fell by 25.0 percent over that same period.
Those states which the Guttmacher Institute, in their individual State Facts About Abortion pages (at guttmacher.org), claim have none of the major types of abortion restrictions found in other states include California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. In 2008, these 11 states accounted for 45 percent of all abortions in the U.S.
has to be a man. Dont get it, obviously. Women dont rush to abortions. Young women who get abortions are “desperate” and will do anything to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. That is where the hangar, alley surgeries and illegal ops came from. When the american ppl deal with a problem, it is because the horrors of the reality of situations finally hit home. President Jimmy Carter has said “the best way to avoid abortions, is to educate men and women about contraception and responsible use of birth control mechs.” In doing so, unwanted pregnancies are avoided. RAPE, incest are ultimate acts of violence against women and denigration of their humanity. God did not intend such an impregnation, nature did. No woman should have to bear the child of her rapist.
Just as an addendum to what you wrote about affdiorng teens proper information about sex and birth control and accessible birth control methods and devices- could we also throw in a mandatory senior year of child development coursework in all high schools in this country. Very soon after leaving (or during) high school many of the girl become mothers- and don’t have a clue as how to properly take care of a child- what normal expectations physically and emotionally are for the child, what essentials in motherhood are a must for proper emotional and physical development,- and all the same for the boys/fathers who as you say must be held accountable and responsible. In Cost Rica- DNA tests are mandatory when it is suspected that someone may have fathered a child and that person becomes responsible for that child’s support until 18 years of age. This is tracked on a national computer system. Payments from wages are deducted by law to support the child a male fathers. Sounds like a good system to me. It was instituted after the abolished the army and took the money and used it to establish a first rate educational system. Their motto is PURA VIDA which roughly translates as a pure life and attidude; this can be seen in their social secutiry/national medical and dental and child care systems. We need some of that PURA VIDA here in this ocuntry.
Not every woman can live with an abortion & many women after the fact wish they didn’t have too. We need more help for single mothers who want to continue their pregnancies. This isn’t about a war on women, it’s about offering them full support for more than just one choice. If they feel they only have one choice, is it a choice at all?
#26 and #30: What does a lower birthrate have to do with lower rates of unewatnd pregnancies that end in abortion? It seems to me that Europeans are simply better at using birth control.I think it’s pretty clear that education and attitudes are key. Should we alter our education and/or attitudes to become more like Europe in order to drive abortions down? I can’t see that happening without more of a focus on comprehensive sex-ed in high school (and, in some areas at least, junior high).Also keep in mind, although birth control may be fairly cheap (although the good stuff, as stated above, isn’t quite as cheap), in order to get most forms of birth control one needs to see a doctor. For those without insurance (which right now is a huge percentage of the U.S.), seeing a doctor is not cheap. Unless you’re in Europe and everyone has insurance (And, for those who’ve never been working poor, if you want Medicaid in most states you have to pretty much stop working, because even a few hundred dollars a month will get adults kicked off Medicaid).Of course, condoms are cheap and don’t require a prescription, but I imagine the fact that it’s expensive for the working poor to get a prescription for birth control might be a factor anyway.