The National Mood
Abortion Rates Plummet
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  • ojfl

    “Polls continue to drift away from pro-choice orthodoxy, states continue to test the limits of Roe, and, most important, young women seem to be deciding in fairly significant numbers that this is something they just don’t want to do.”

    One could make the case that were it not for these states pushing the limits of Roe there would not be enough discussion and debate about abortion to make the young women to decide not to have abortions.

  • Anthony

    Or maybe people who don’t want to have children, or are on the fence, are being more conscientious in their use of contraception. In addition to being ugly procedures (and I say this as an abortion rights supporter) abortions are also quite expensive and traumatizing to the patients, and money is tight for many people these days.

    In Sex and Reason, Richard Posner points out that many people miss important economic dimensions of the abortion debate. Specifically, he says that if Roe v Wade was overturned and abortion became illegal in some states, those people who were unsure over the decision to have children would have a much stronger incentive to use contraception.

  • free_agent

    It’s always tough to speculate on the reasons people do things without getting any input from them. I suppose if we really cared, we’d hold a bunch of focus groups.

    But let me propose a different explanation: Over the past 20 years young people have ceased to be conflicted about premarital sex. For a long time, premarital sex was quite popular but never considered completely acceptable, leaving a lot of young women uncomfortable about rationally preparing for it. I think this has faded, so young women are taking a lot better contraceptive precaution now.

    (And to the degree that the current Republican ideology does not align with these attitudes, the Republicans are having a very hard time attracting support from young, single women.)

    • Boritz

      “It’s always tough to speculate on the reasons people do things without getting any input from them.”

      The NEA will speculate sex education in the classroom and Planned Parenthood will speculate their contraception department (as opposed to their abortion department) were key.

    • rheddles

      Let me offer another explanation. Over the last 20 years young people, women to be specific, are more willing to rear a bastard as a single mother. Perhaps this is why the rate of illegitimacy and fatherless families are increasing so rapidly. And we’ll pay a lot more for it than for abortions.

  • Anthony

    “This is one of the most interesting and important trends in the United States today.” Tellingly, authors have not investigated reasons for decline (age group 15 – 44) although they speculate more contraception use. Necessarily, facts indicate declining slope since 1991 using their graph.

  • gabrielsyme

    There has already been substantial evidence that state-level restrictions do reduce abortion rates. Whether this data provides additional support to this phenomenon would have required the study authors to conduct an actual statistical analysis, which they did not perform. They do note that relatively few new restrictions were effected during the study period. Overall, the suggestion that this data does not support the efficacy of state restrictions is unmerited.

  • TommyTwo

    Perhaps after lo these many years, people are finally figuring out how to use birth control.

    I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading James Taranto’s Best of the Web column, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that his column today contains a reference to the Roe effect.

    “Even as the social consensus moves toward permissive stances on issues ranging from gay marriage to pot, the public is increasingly queasy about abortion.”

    Illustrating why I’ve always been puzzled by those who claim that there is One True libertarian position on abortion.

    • Honk

      Funny, but there are both pro-life libertarians and pro-abortion libertarians. And they both think they have the One Right Answer. I think that this generation is a bunch of pro-life libertarians, Ron Paulers, basically. Too bad Ron Paul is such a kook.

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