By Dave Andrusko
On Tuesday we posted a story about a huge 31% drop in abortion in North Carolina between June and the end of July 2023. We based that on a study by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute which found that the decrease started after the state’s new law placing restrictions on abortion including a 12-week limitation on when abortions may be performed, took effect. This compares with a 7% decline nationally, according to Guttmacher’s Isaac Maddow-Zimet who led the study.
The following day Michael New posted on the same theme. Prof. New, as always, produced excellent insights.
This new data add to a body of evidence that incremental pro-life laws lower abortion rates and save lives. A 2016 study of a similar 72-hour waiting period in Utah found that it reduced the number of abortions by approximately 8 percent in the Beehive State. There is less research on the impact of gestational age limits. However, since data from the North Carolina Center for State Health Statistics show that over 1,800 abortions took place after twelve weeks’ gestation in 2021, it is unsurprising that this newly enacted pro-life law would save some lives.
It was almost fifteen months ago–on June 24, 2022–that the Supreme Court, in Dobbs, removed an enormous obstacle to pro-life legislation: the Justices tossed Roe v. Wade aside. Since that time the Movement has generated new laws or witnessed old laws “triggered” into effect with the overthrow of Roe.
Currently, 14 states have laws in place that largely protect all preborn children. However, in some states, enactment of laws that provide comprehensive protection to preborn children has not been politically possible. Right now, seven states have in effect gestational age limits that protect preborn children before the third trimester. This new Guttmacher data provide very solid evidence that passing these incremental pro-life laws has been a worthwhile strategy for pro-lifers.