New study shows abortion rates lower in areas with less restrictive laws

Just yesterday, I posted about on the study by Professor Jean Schroedel of Claremont Gradudate University that shows the correlation between states with restrictive abortion laws according lower political, economic and social status to women.

In the same post, I wrote about United Nations world population fund director Nafis Sadik, widely credited with bringing attention to the correlation between over population and the status of women. When women are educated, when they achieve economic independence, when they have access to good health care, when they are valued in society for their intellect and their accomplishments, they have fewer babies.

Finally, I posted about France where mandatory sexuality education begins when students are 13. Parents are prohibited from withdrawing their teenagers from this program. France’s teenage birthrate is approximately 6 times lower than the rate in the US; its teen abortion rate more than 2x lower, and overall AIDS rate, more than 3x lower.

Now a new study has been released by The Lancet that shows areas with less restrictive laws on reproductive rights show lower abortion rates.

From the Ms blog:

The Lancet has just released a study on global trends in abortion, focusing on overall rates, access to safe vs. unsafe abortions, and how the legal status of abortion impacts abortion rates. The results shed some interesting light on the effects of efforts to reduce abortion by outlawing or restricting access to it. Looking at data from 1995 to 2008, the authors found that abortion rates were actually lower in areas of the world with less restrictive abortion laws:

[Via ThinkProgress.]

The Guttmacher Institute provides a full summary of the article. Not surprisingly, the more restrictive abortion laws are, the higher the proportion of unsafe abortions (with Eastern Europe being a significant outlier, with the highest global abortion rates). About half of all abortions are unsafe, leading to the deaths of roughly 47,000 women each year, or 13 percent of all global maternal deaths—almost entirely in developing nations, where restrictive abortion laws are more common and access to contraception and medical care are generally lower.

It’s clear that top Republican candidates are being short-sighted and ineffective, rushing off in the precisely the wrong direction if their goal is truly to reduce abortions.

As governor, Mitt Romney vetoed a bill that would have given rape survivors access to emergency contraception. As a presidential candidate, he’s promising to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate federal funding for birth control.

As a member of Congress, Newt Gingrich voted anti-choice 72 times. He voted for “personhood” rights, which would make abortion and many forms of birth control illegal. He voted 10 times to bar the city of Washington, D.C. from using its locally raised tax dollars to provide abortion care to low-income women.  He voted to eliminate Title X, the nation’s family-planning program.

And this from Rick Santorum:

Well, you can make the argument that if she doesn’t have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice. I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or doesn’t, it will always be her child. And she will always know that. And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I’ve always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.