Game-Changer Questions Every Pro-Lifer Should Ask About the Guttmacher Report

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by Sarah Quale  •  •  October 13, 2019   

Do pro-life laws lower abortion rates?

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Now that the celebrations surrounding the latest Guttmacher abortion report have settled down, it's time to look past the rhetoric on both sides and uncover what's really going on. May this discovery be a wake-up call for you and I to begin to proactively address the realities on the ground.


By now, almost every pro-life organization in America has weighed in on the Guttmacher Institute's latest Abortion Incidence and Service Availability Report, which examined abortion trends and rates from 2014–2017.

The report indicated that 862,320 pre-born children were killed by elective abortion in 2017, a 7% drop from 2014. The abortion rate declined by 8% over the same period, to 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44. This rate is the lowest recorded since abortion legalization was mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973.

Pro-life organizations pointed to abortion restrictions and the public's increasing rejection of abortion as the key drivers for these declines, while pro-abortion organizations lauded increased use of birth control as a major factor.

But do the data back up these claims on either side? Let's look beyond the headlines and consider the questions every pro-lifer should ask about this report:

  • Are these declines the result of abortion restrictions?
  • Are the declines the result of clinic closures?
  • Is this happening because more women are choosing life?
  • Could birth control really have this much of an impact?
  • Is America becoming more pro-life?
  • What trends are the data showing us, and how are we addressing them?

It's time to dig in.

The Effect of Abortion Restrictions

In their 2017 report, Guttmacher Institute researchers make two bold claims about the decline in the abortion rate:

  1. "There is no clear pattern linking abortion restrictions to changes in the abortion rate."
  2. "There is no clear link, even indirectly, from new abortion restrictions to clinic closures to decreases in abortion rates."

Researchers made these same claims about abortion restrictions in their 2011 and 2014 reports, even though a record number of state-level restrictions were put in place after Republicans' midterm sweep in 2010 (which would have had a direct impact on the time period measured in the 2014 report).

Does this mean that all the tenuous work on abortion restrictions and regulations across the country, particularly within the last decade, have had no significant bearing on actually reducing abortion?

Let's look at the evidence.

Read the rest at Personhood Alliance.


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