[Guest Blogger LN rejects the suggestion that restricting abortion has no effect on the actual abortion rate.]
If you're against abortion-- and not in an, "Oh it's not for me, but ya'll do whatever suits you!" way, but more of an, "Abortion is almost always the wrongful taking of a human life and I want to help stop that" way-- naturally you would want to reduce the abortion rate.
As it stands, pro-choicers hold the status quo legally here in America: abortion is legal in almost any circumstance. Thus they have little reason to engage in any sort of debate about preborn rights. However, pro-lifers can and do construct, vote for, and pass measures that legally restrict abortions-- most prominently, funding restrictions, informed consent laws, and restrictions for minors in the forms of parental involvement laws.
So the important question is: do these restrictions achieve the goal of reducing abortions?
Most have heard the claim that restricting abortions has *no* significant effect-- nada-- on abortion rate. First of all, to me this is not an intuitive conclusion to draw. When actions that previously went unpenalized are suddenly penalized, it makes sense that some people would opt out. And if the cost goes up, any economist will tell you that demand decreases because there exists a margin of people who can no longer afford it, and will choose the alternative. Second, in my experience, this claim rarely comes with any reliable evidence and appears more as wishful thinking.
So what evidence is there on the effects of abortion laws?
Upon some study-searching, I realized that the most obvious problem is analyzing data with proper controls for factors that also may influence the abortion rate. This study appears to have said controls. Published in 2011 and analyzing data from 1990 to 2005, this study found that "the number of legal abortions declined by 22.22 percent" and "one factor that played a role was the increased amount of anti-abortion legislation that was passed at the state level." This is not to say that abortion restrictions alone lowered the rate so much, but they definitely played a role.
Comparing abortion laws and their effects worldwide is problematic as there are vastly too many factors to control for. However, I am very interested in evidence of the practicality of these types of restrictions (as I believe anyone putting forth such restrictions should be), so if any reader has a study they feel is reliable, please comment and let us know about it. Certainly any studies showing increase, decrease, or no change in abortion rates are welcome.
Also- what, of the myriad of methods, do you feel is the most effective way to reduce abortions? What methods do you feel are more harmful than helpful?