Bench Memos

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What Kinds of Laws Reduce Abortions?


Back in August, a group calling itself Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good released a study purporting to show that, rather than attempt to condition or restrict or delay abortion choices, states should increase welfare spending if they want to reduce the numbers of abortions.  After the election–an event on which the study’s announcement was intended to have an effect, and perhaps did–CACG released a revised version making much less sweeping claims.

Professor Michael New, of the University of Alabama and the Witherspoon Institute, had a hand in prompting the revisions, and has some choice words for the new version of CACG’s study at  Catholics in Alliance has a reply posted at the same site, and New has the final word.  The state of play seems to be summed up in New’s remark that “welfare policy has no more than a marginal effect on the incidence of abortion.”  By contrast, “there are numerous peer reviewed studies which indicate that parental involvement laws and public funding restrictions reduce abortion rates.”  So far CACG seems to have taken little interest in what the evidence suggests about what really works.


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