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Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

A Fertility Recession?



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Time.com had an article last week by Amy Sullivan about how the economic slowdown is changing the fertility decisions of women. The birthrate in the United States dropped 2 percent in 2008 and the decline is expected to continue. The article also plugs a recent Guttmacher Institute study which shows that increasing numbers of women are attempting to delay becoming pregnant or opting for sterilization. Furthermore, according to the Guttmacher study, some women are spending less on contraception because of their financial situation.

Interestingly, the Time article makes little mention of abortion other than to say that abortion rates are historically low. However, there is a lag of about three to four years as to when abortion statistics become publicly available and there exists social-science evidence indicating that the abortion rate increases during economic slowdowns. As such, pro-lifers with the means to do so should seriously consider supporting their local crisis-pregnancy center.

The Guttmacher study contains another very telling nugget of information. Nowhere in the study does it make any mention of the fact that women might be changing their sexual behavior in response to the changing economic conditions. However, this is unsurprising. In their studies and reports, the Guttmacher Institute downplays the effectiveness of pro-life laws. Furthermore they are always quick to promote any research which argues that abstinence programs are ineffective. Conversely, any evidence which shows that individuals are actually capable of exercising sexual restraint is promptly ignored.

— Michael J. New is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama and a visiting fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J.



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