By Mike Fichter, CEO and President, Indiana Right to Life
Indiana’s plunging number of abortions is solid evidence that life-affirming policies enacted by the Indiana state legislature, in particular informed consent policies, have resulted in far more women opting to choose life instead of abortion. Informed consent laws in Indiana provide women with information on the risks of the abortion procedure, alternatives to abortion, scientific facts on human development, and more.
It isn’t idle speculation that informed consent laws are bringing down the number of abortions. This fact is based on the hard numbers emerging from Indiana since 1995, the year the Indiana General Assembly passed Indiana’s first informed consent bill.
At the time of Indiana’s passage of its first version of informed consent, Evan Bayh was serving as governor while presiding over a disastrous period of rising abortions.
From Bayh’s first year as governor in 1989 to his departure in 1997, the number of abortions in Indiana jumped from 12,704 to 13,209, an increase of 4% or 505 unborn children. Not coincidentally, Bayh vetoed the informed consent bill when passed in 1995, triggering a legislative override of his veto followed by federal and state court battles that would last into 2003.
Here is the significant data: in 1995, the year informed consent passed in Indiana, the number of abortions was 12,425. The next two years, as an injunction blocked informed consent from going into effect, the number rose above the 13,000 mark to 13,341 (1996) and 13,209 (1997). In 1998, a modified injunction went into effect, allowing most of the informed consent provisions to be enacted.
As Bayh departed as governor and the modified injunction went into effect, the number of abortions in 1998 immediately began to drop to 12,443. The numbers have never reached that level again, and with the exception of a few years of upticks (some of which appear to have been the result of the state’s past data collection process – but that’s a blog for another day), the number has continued to slide unabated through 2015.
The raw numbers don’t lie. Since Indiana’s informed consent provisions were allowed to go into effect by the courts in 1998, there has been a 36 percent drop in abortions in Indiana, or 4.486 fewer children aborted in 2015 compared to 1998.
Abortion businesses refuse to acknowledge the impact of informed consent in lowering Indiana’s abortions , preferring instead to make claims that their role in the widespread distribution of contraceptives is the cause for the drop. Their tortured reasoning fails to hold water. Since 1995, proponents of “anything goes” population control have operated in the same basic fashion as they did before 1995 when abortion rates were skyrocketing. Their philosophes haven’t deviated at all, but the truly definitive line of change came when informed consent finally went into effect.
Planned Parenthood, Evan Bayh, and others did their best to block informed consent in Indiana in 1995. That same obstructive strategy is alive today as evidenced by the new ACLU-Planned Parenthood suit against Indiana’s requirement that women be offered the opportunity to view an ultrasound of their baby at least 18 hours prior to an abortion.
What is the driving force behind this opposition? Why is providing more information on the risks of abortion, alternatives to abortion and the humanity of the unborn child viewed as such a threat? Perhaps we need to look no further than the detrimental financial impact informed consent is having on the business of killing babies.
Time and time again, abortion supporters have mocked and opposed informed consent legislation, claiming these measures are unneeded. The numbers in Indiana tell a very different story.
Informed consent works in helping women to make truly informed choices and in saving lives.
And that’s great news for Indiana.