By Paul Stark
December 15 is the 21st anniversary of the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Doe v. Gomez ruling. That decision requires the government to pay for abortions for women who receive state assistance.
Through the end of 2014, according to the Department of Human Services, Minnesota taxpayers reimbursed abortion practitioners $22,507,205 for a total of 73,171 abortions. Taxpayers’ 2014 portion was $953,187 for 3,957 abortions. Preliminary figures for 2015 add 4,267 state-funded abortions to the total.
Many of these abortions would have never taken place without Doe v. Gomez. Indeed, research has established that public funding of abortion significantly increases the incidence of abortion (relative to what it would otherwise be). A literature review by the Guttmacher Institute—which supports unlimited abortion—concluded, based on 22 different studies, that “approximately one-fourth of women who would have Medicaid-funded abortions instead give birth when this funding is unavailable.”
In a recent analysis of the impact of public funding restrictions, Dr. Michael New estimates that 22,938 Minnesota abortions were prevented during the (pre-Doe v. Gomez) years in which there was no state or federal Medicaid funding of elective abortion. That amounts to approximately 1,500 fewer abortions per year. This was, however, during an era in which the abortion rate was higher than it is today.
To estimate the impact of taxpayer funding since Doe v. Gomez, let’s apply Guttmacher’s 25 percent figure to the Minnesota numbers. Here’s what we get:
· In 2014, about 989 Minnesota abortions would not have taken place without the availability of public funding.
· Through 2014, a total of 18,293 abortions occurred because of public funding.
· In 2015 (using the Department of Health’s numbers), about 1,067 abortions took place because of public funding.
It’s reasonable to think, then, that about 1,000 fewer Minnesota women would have abortions each year if the state did not pay for abortions through Medicaid. There would have been nearly 20,000 fewer abortions (thus far) without Doe v. Gomez.
Taxpayer funding of abortion has cost Minnesota thousands and thousands of human lives.
Editor’s note. Mr. Stark is Communications Associate for Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, NRLC’s state affiliate.