So why are the number of abortions going down?

By Dave Andrusko

ohio45rePeriodically, seemingly almost out of the blue, the Associated Press will run a story which not so subtly bemoans the drop in abortions in a given area, or even nationwide. Such was the case with an AP story written about the state of Ohio by Julie Carr Symth  that ran today.

Smyth concludes that Ohio is second only to Texas in the number of abortion clinics closed since 2011. Her description is

Seven of 16 Ohio abortion providers have either closed since 2011 or curtailed abortion offerings, while an eighth, in Toledo, is operating under the cloud of pending litigation, according to AP interviews and examinations of state licensing and business records.

In addition

Ohio saw induced abortions fall from 25,473 in 2012 to 23,216 in 2013 — a period when 5 of the 7 affected providers closed or curtailed services — state figures show. That was the lowest level recorded since the state began tracking the data in 1976, and part of a general downward trend that began in the late 1990s.

So is it more likely the closure of abortion clinics or what Ohio pro-lifers quoted in the story attribute the decline to–a combination of a sophisticated legislative strategy, crisis pregnancy centers, and expanded access to health care for the poor…and a culture in which more women are choosing life? Or some combination?

Last September when the state’s Department of Health revealed that the number of abortions in 2013 had dropped to a historic low, dipping 9% from 2012, Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life said, “Ohio’s continual decline in abortions is representative of an increasingly pro-life culture in our state.”

She continued, “We have to believe that this record-breaking report is directly tied to the efforts of compassionate pro-life Ohioans making a difference in the lives of women and children, and also to the legal protections afforded to children in recent years,” said Krider. “We especially thank Governor [John] Kasich and the leadership of the Ohio House and Senate.”

Clearly, an aggressive pro-life strategy, pro-life leadership, and a shift in a direction favoring life were crucial. And will be in the future.

But the implication in the AP story is that there is no reason the abortion clinics closed other than ‘regulations.’ That ignores (a) whether the regulations (or laws) served a helpful purpose, (b) the behavior of abortionists, and (c) the importance of alternatives.

For example, it only makes sense for all ambulatory surgical facilities—including abortion clinics—to have a transfer agreement with a nearby hospital in cases of emergency. Or to require that the chemical abortifacient RU-486 be administered consistent with the protocol established by the FDA.

Or to establish new funding for pregnancy centers or to strengthen abortion clinic regulation.

Ohio Right to Life, NRLC’s state affiliate, continues to find ways to lower the number of abortion, help women in crisis pregnancies, and raise consciousness about the unborn child. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Abortion Act has been introduced as has the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act.

Like all NRLC state affiliates strive to do, Ohio Right to Life is making a difference by passing commonsense limitations and protections.