The Corner

New Abortion Stats Reveal a Pro-Life Success Story, Despite Recent Uptick

Today the Guttmacher Institute released their abortion figures for 2008. The big story is that the consistent decline in America’s abortion rate has apparently stalled a bit — the total number of abortions and the abortion rate both increased very slightly from Guttmacher’s last survey, which reported data from 2005.

The reasons for this slight uptick are fairly straightforward. A number of peer-reviewed studies have found that the strength of the economy has an impact on abortion rates. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, the number of abortions reached an all time high of 1.4 million during the early 1990s recession before beginning a steady decline. That decline stalled a bit during the economic slowdown in 2000–1, and it appears to have stalled again.

Not surprisingly, Guttmacher is using these findings to argue for more government funding for contraceptives. However, it is far from clear that more contraceptive funding would lower the abortion rate. Guttmacher’s own research indicates that very few sexually active women forgo contraceptives due to cost or availability. Additionally, there is no substantial body of peer-reviewed evidence that shows that contraceptive funding lowers abortion rates.

The mainstream media’s coverage of this report has been disappointing. Nearly all their coverage focuses narrowly on why the abortion decline stalled in 2008; very few media outlets are taking a longer-term view and asking why the number of abortions has declined by 20 to 25 percent since the early 1990s.

Conservatives should take pride in this decline. Key reasons for it include more pro-life laws being passed at the state level (e.g., parental-involvement and informed-consent laws), and the declining number of abortion providers, as fewer physicians are interested in performing abortions. There is also evidence of less sexual activity among teens. The pro-life position has made consistent gains in the court of public opinion — especially among young people — even though pro-life success stories typically receive scant coverage.

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

Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
White House

Nancy Pelosi’s Case

Further to the post below, a couple of thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s statement yesterday. She said this near the beginning: During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the ... Read More
White House

Nancy Pelosi’s Case

Further to the post below, a couple of thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s statement yesterday. She said this near the beginning: During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the ... Read More
Elections

More Bad News for Medicare for All

The hits keep coming for Medicare for All. Gallup’s annual health-care survey of adults found that Americans back a system based on private insurance rather than government provision by 54 percent to 42 percent. “This could create a challenge in a general election campaign for a Democratic presidential ... Read More
Elections

More Bad News for Medicare for All

The hits keep coming for Medicare for All. Gallup’s annual health-care survey of adults found that Americans back a system based on private insurance rather than government provision by 54 percent to 42 percent. “This could create a challenge in a general election campaign for a Democratic presidential ... Read More