Do pro-life laws, whether state or federal, actually save lives?
According to a new study from the pro-abortion WeCount coalition, the answer is “yes,” with the number of abortions nationwide falling by 10,000 in the first two months after the Dobbs decision.
Ten thousand lives saved is cause for celebration, although you might not guess that from the media’s reaction. But the effect of Dobbs won’t stop there. As is often the case, the answer goes beyond the headlines.
While the WeCount data can’t be independently verified, it’s surprising to see the abortion industry finally acknowledge, however grudgingly, that pro-life state laws save lives. The abortion industry often seeks to obscure, deny, or ignore research that challenges its position.
As reported in The New York Times, WeCount estimates that 22,000 fewer induced abortions were performed in states with pro-life laws in July and August, compared with the baseline beginning in April, before the Dobbs decision. In states where abortion-on-demand remained legal, abortions increased by roughly 12,000, leading to a net decline of 10,000.
Taking a deeper dive into the report, the number of lives saved has the potential to grow significantly in the months and years ahead. There were just under 7,400 fewer abortions in August than in June. If you extrapolate that figure over 12 months, you get a drop of nearly 90,000 abortions per year.
That’s not all. Economist Phillip Levine has argued that, by changing people’s sexual behavior, pro-life laws lead to fewer unexpected pregnancies. We agree. Many of the babies that were aborted in July and August would have been conceived pre-Dobbs. The total number of induced abortions is likely to decrease further as people make changes to their behavior based on post-Dobbs state pro-life laws and changing mores.
By some estimates, state and federal pro-life laws have already helped save millions of lives over the years, including limitations on federal and state taxpayer funding of abortion, state prohibitions on discriminatory abortions, and the more recent effect of heartbeat laws in states like Texas. This new data shows Dobbs will only accelerate this encouraging trend as mothers and fathers consider other options that affirm the dignity and worth of every human life.
While obviously not intended by WeCount’s pro-abortion authors, their new study also shows how pro-life state laws are offering a new level of protection for women who have been preyed upon by the profit-driven abortion industry for 50 years.
The reality that abortion advocates choose to ignore or conceal is that abortion harms women. We know from analyzing 17 years of Medicaid claims data that women whose first pregnancy ends in abortion average 35 percent more pregnancies, 50 percent more miscarriages, and four times as many abortions as women whose first pregnancy results in a live birth. Peer-reviewed research from countries with much better public health data, such as Finland and Denmark, clearly shows that multiple abortions increase the risk of extremely premature birth in subsequent pregnancies and that a woman’s risk of premature death increases with each successive abortion.
This sort of data is readily available to public health researchers in other countries but is virtually unknown in the United States. Why? Incredibly, several states, including California and Maryland, report no official abortion data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many others report abortion data only inconsistently. The WeCount study was based on data that abortion advocates collected directly from abortion facilities, bypassing the CDC, peer-reviewed journals, and other forms of data verification.
Given the stakes, you have to wonder what the abortion industry is hiding. Perhaps abortion advocates fear that their tired rhetoric about “women’s reproductive health” will be exposed for the canard that it is. Worse, this kind of concealment makes it difficult for public health officials and policymakers to develop a complete picture of the risks that women face from abortion. That’s bad for America — and especially bad for women.
Even so, the results from the WeCount project, while lacking in accountability and objectivity, are promising. Even pro-abortion researchers are confirming that pro-life laws save lives — lots of lives – forecasting a more hopeful and healthy future for both women and their babies.
Charles A. “Chuck” Donovan is president of Charlotte Lozier Institute, which conducts peer-reviewed research on science and statistics for life. Tessa Longbons is senior research associate at Charlotte Lozier Institute.
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