Beyond Roe? New study shows abortion rates lowered by public policy

In a new study that could recast the seemingly endless debates over abortion and Roe v. Wade, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good yesterday released a new study that, according to the news release, is the first study of its kind to look at the “long- and short-term effects of public policy on the abortion rate over a twenty-year period.
“The findings,” it says, “reveal that social and economic supports for women and families dramatically reduce the number of abortions. As Democrats gather in Denver for their national convention, and as Republicans prepare to gather next week, the study offers compelling findings that pro-life and pro-choice leaders from both political parties can unite behind to reduce abortions.”
Indeed, such findings would (I would think) provide ammunition for those looking to move beyond the stalemate–and sterile debate–over Roe v. Wade–but it would be a major challenge to the GOP to match their pro-life rhetoric with deeds.
Catholics in Alliance commissioned the study, which was conducted by Joseph Wright, a political science professor at Penn State University and a visiting fellow at the University of Notre Dame, and Michael Bailey, a professor of American government at Georgetown University. You can read it here (in a 19-page PDF file). Tom Roberts at NCR also has coverage.

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posted August 28, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Catholics in Alliance with the Public Good should know that the public good isn’t served by “reducing” abortion but by eliminating it.

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posted August 28, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Sorry, I got their name wrong”. My point about Catholics in Alliance for the Public Good remains the same.

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Iris Alantiel

posted August 28, 2008 at 6:55 pm

I prefer to look on the bright side, Elmo – reducing it is better than nothing. And reducing the abortion rate is definitely better than spouting pro-life rhetoric that doesn’t actually result in any unborn babies carried to term.
But then, that’s just my opinion. I’m most likely to be described as pro-choice, I guess, even if my main concern is whether women who want to carry their babies have the choice to NOT abort. And I don’t think it’s actually possible to pass legislation that will out-and-out eliminate abortion – not in today’s political climate, anyway.

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posted August 28, 2008 at 9:02 pm

I agree, Iris. For years we have heard a lot of rhetoric, but seen no action from the GOP. Meanwhile women have abortions. Under different circumstances would a number of these women choose differently? Clearly this study says yes.
So, rather than curse the darkness, why not light at least a few candles and save some lives? The only reason I can see for not moving this direction is that you value winning elections more than reducing abortions.

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Paul, seeking wisdom

posted August 29, 2008 at 12:37 am

Education, support for pregnant women, pre- and post-natal aid and better adoption planning are the only way to reduce abortions.
Decriminalizing it will only add to the death rate of women and not stop abortions. The Republicans have done nothing to lower the abortion rate and they never intend to. They just like to talk about it to get Conservative Religious people to vote for them.
Well, this is one Evangelical Social Progressive Christian that has heard enough of their hype and whats a government that will help women rather than turn them into criminals.
If it wasn’t for the abortion issue, the republicans would have little to talk about. They have failed us on every social problem we have had over the eight years.

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posted September 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm

The whole point of pro-choice people is that there should always be a CHOICE for a woman whether to terminate or carry to term. Outlawing safe abortions only leads to a desparate woman/teen trying to abort by themselves, going over-seas (if financially possible) or finding an underground, unsafe situation. Self-induced abortions are not desirable. No matter what the opinion of the churches, it is ultimately up to the woman involved what happens when an unwanted pregnancy occures. Choice means having control of her body, not having the government or a church telling her it can or can’t be one by religious law of secular law.
While help and advice is preferrable, there are circumstances that even all that help can’t take care of. No woman aborts casually. None.

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Crimson Wife

posted September 8, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Why does it have to be an “either/or” type thing when looking at ways to reduce the abortion rate? Why can’t there be both increased social & economic support for women & families *AND* increased legal restrictions on abortion? What would be the impact on the abortion rate if every state instituted the following:
-a ban on government funding of abortions and abortion providers
-mandatory parental notification for minors seeking an abortion (with the option of going before a judge instead)
-mandatory viewing of an ultrasound of the baby at least 24 hours prior to the abortion to give the woman the chance to really think it over whether or not she truly wants to go through with it.

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