Ben Johnson

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Pro-life laws and clinic closures lowered abortion rate: CDC

Ben Johnson
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ATLANTA, GA, December 2, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – More babies are alive today thanks to state laws restricting abortion and the closure of abortion facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC released its annual report on abortion on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. In all, U.S. abortionists performed 765,651 abortions in 2010 in the states tthat report abortion numbers – a moderate decrease from 2009, the report stated.

The official document listed regulations on abortion, such as waiting periods and notification laws, as among the first items responsible for the reduction.

"Multiple factors are known to influence the incidence of abortion,” the report states. These include “the availability of abortion providers” and “state regulations, such as mandatory waiting periods, parental involvement laws, and legal restrictions on abortion providers.”

“I think the CDC is finally recognizing that common sense safety laws that are aimed at protecting women from shoddy or unscrupulous abortion practices are having the effect of closing substandard clinics and decreasing the numbers of abortions,” Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser at Operation Rescue, told LifeSiteNews.com.

If true, abortion numbers should nosedive in the next few years. BusinessWeek reports that 73 abortion facilities have closed their doors since 2011.

“The absence of an abortion clinic gives women time to think through their situations and seek other alternatives to...running down to the local abortion clinic,” Sullenger told LifeSiteNews.

A surge of new laws enacted since 2010 gave women information they needed to make an informed choice and time enough to make their decision, according to the legislators that introduced them.

Although rigorous data are hard to find, anecdotal evidence suggests that as the laws multiplied, abortions have ratcheted down.

Arizona provides a textbook example. In 2009 the state enacted the “Abortion Consent Act,” which requires a notarized parental signature before a minor may have an abortion, as well as giving women medically accurate information 24 hours before the procedure.

When the law took effect – after a protracted court battle – the number of abortion providers reduced by 30 percent, and the abortion rate dropped 32 percent in one month, according to the Associated Press.

Neighboring Texas has a similar history. The New England Journal of Medicine reported in 2011 that a Texas law requiring abortions at 16 weeks or later to be performed in an ambulatory surgical center reduced the number of abortions  performed at or after 16 weeks by 88 percent. Texans had a total of 2,000 fewer abortions.

“As the numbers from 2012 and 2013 come in, we can expect to be a dramatic decrease in the number of abortions nationwide, since this is when the flood of pro-life legislation as a result of conservative gains in the 2010 midterm elections goes into effect,” Sullenger told LifeSiteNews.

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In 2011, the nation passed a record-setting 83 pro-life laws restricting abortion and setting more stringent requirements for abortionists, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The second highest number of pro-life laws passed in 2012, as governments enacted 43 new statutes.

The full impact of these laws may not been seen for some time, as the abortion industry and the legal Left – often Planned Parenthood in collaboration with the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights – has filed legal challenges against virtually every landmark piece of legislation passed in the last two years, from requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals to enforcing the FDA prescribed standards for the use of RU-486.

The CDC states that other factors also affect the abortion rate, including a wider acceptance of out-of-wedlock births, “shifts in the racial/ethnic composition of the U.S. population,” economic changes,” and women's “access to health-care services, including contraception."

But Sullenger told LifeSiteNews that the report's citation of pro-life laws point out “tools that we can use to close clinics, spare women from unsafe abortions, and save lives. It also helps raise awareness of abortion abuses and is helping to influence people to become pro-life.”

“Eventually, we believe that this can help create a climate where abortion can be abolished altogether,” she said.

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