Do Pro-Life Laws Make a Difference? Rebecca Hagelin February 9, 2007

For 34 years, it’s been legal in America for mothers to kill their pre-born babies. It’s difficult to imagine that the culture my teenagers and so many young adults have grown up in has been this culture of death — they simply have no other frame of reference. Yet, even at the tender age of 14,knowing no other America but one in which abortion is legal, my daughter doesn’t understand why our nation allows such a heinous act to be inflicted on the innocent and voiceless.Common sense tells her it’s wrong. How can it be, she wonders? I have no answers.

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According to a just-publishedHeritage Foundation paper by Michael New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama, four types of pro-life laws have reduced the number of abortions. Laws dealing with parental involvement, informed consent, Medicaid funding restrictions and partial-birthabortion bans work.

The number of legal abortions declined by 18.4 percent during the 1990s. What effect did these laws have? The number of such laws rose dramatically in the ’90s. In 1992, for example, 20 states enforced parental-involvement statutes; by 2000, 32 did. In 1992, virtually no states had informed-consent laws (which stipulate that women are to be given medical facts about their unborn children and told about alternatives to abortion); by2000, 27 states had such laws. And no state in 1992 prohibited partial-birth abortions; a dozen had done so by 2000.

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