A stunning new report that is sure to spur on GOP efforts in states and Washington to push for greater limits on abortion funding and availability finds that anti-abortion laws enacted since 1990 in some 34 states have helped to slash abortion rates by over 22 percent.
The report, published in the scholarly State Politics & Policy Quarterly, found "solid evidence that anti-abortion legislation has an impact on the childbearing decisions of women."
Reviewing abortion data as far back as the 1960s, the report said that use of the procedure surged until the 1990s when states started enacting anti-abortion restrictions, such as requiring women to wait before having an abortion, notifying parents of teens, and cutting Medicaid expenses.
"The number of abortions that were performed consistently increased throughout the 1970s and the 1980s However, between 1990 and 2005, the number of legal abortions declined by 22.22 percent. A number of different reasons for this decline are possible. However, one factor that played a role was the increased amount of anti-abortion legislation that was passed at the state level," said the report.
The raw numbers attributed to the laws point to a 22 percent drop, from 1,054,719 in 1990 to 820,151 in 2005, according to the study.
Parental involvement and notification laws do seem to work to curb teen abortion rates by about 15 percent, says the study which also highlights successful programs to curb teen sex and others that encourage contraception.
And cutting Medicaid funding is credited with reducing tax funded abortion by 9 percent.
The study also compared states with anti-abortion laws to those where the laws have been nullified, finding that those with laws on the books show a bigger decline in abortions. "The results indicate that enforced laws result in significantly larger in-state abortion declines than nullified laws," concluded the report which added that "results indicated that various types of legislation had disparate and predictable effects on different subsets of the population. For instance, parental involvement laws have a large effect on the abortion rate for minors and virtually no effect on the abortion rate for adults. These results provide further evidence that anti-abortion legislation results in declines in the number of abortions that take place within the boundaries of a given state."
The study could spark more support for legislation working its way through the House to cut off taxpayer support for abortion. One is called the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," and would ban all Medicare or Medicaid money from being used to pay for abortions. The Hyde Amendment already bans federal funding of abortions, but must be reauthorized each year to stay in effect and the new act would to make the ban permanent and strengthen it. Another bill targets groups like Planned Parenthood and would bar Title X money from going to abortions.