WASHINGTON, DC, January 26, 2004 ( – A new study by a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard-MIT Data Center indicates that state laws against abortion reduce the number of abortions. 

The research, by Harvard-MIT Data Center post-doctoral fellow Michael J. New, is published by the Heritage Foundation.  It explains the key role of life- affirming state laws in the substantial decline in the number of abortions during the 1990s-after a rise in abortions during the 1970s and 1980s. 

“Dr. New’s research shows that when politicians and judges decide against life-affirming legislation, they are like lifeguards turning their backs to the water,” said Denise Burke, Esq., staff counsel with Americans United for Life (AUL). 

Using regression analysis, Dr. New’s research shows that, by the end of the 1990s, four common types of state pro-life legislation were effective at reducing the number of abortions. Looking at state abortion data for every year from 1985 to 1999 (while holding a variety of economic and demographic factors constant), the Heritage study examines the impact of parental-involvement laws, Medicaid-funding restrictions, informed-consent laws and partial-birth-abortion bans. 

By the end of the 1990s, more states had passed and enforced these types of laws compared to earlier in the decade. For example, according to New’s research, in 1992, virtually no states were enforcing informed-consent laws, but by 2000, 27 states had informed-consent laws in effect. And in 1992 only 20 states were enforcing parental-involvement statutes, but by 2000, 32 states were enforcing these laws. 

AUL, the national leader in drafting model state pro-life legislation was encouraged by the study.  “We welcome this report from Dr. New and the Heritage Foundation-a report that clearly shows our model legislation saves lives now,” said Clarke Forsythe, AUL president. “In spite of Roe v. Wade, in spite of activist judges, in spite of often-biased media, the pro-life community is helping thousands of women choose life. Working together, AUL, other national and state pro-life groups, and crisis pregnancy centers have never given up showing women that their lives are lived better by choosing life for their unborn children.”


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