Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Parental notification and teen abortion

This NYT article, contending that parental notification laws have little effect on teen abortion rates, has gotten lots of attention. The University of Alabama’s Michael J. New has a different view. Using what he regards as more reliable numbers, he concludes:

[I]n three of the five other states analyzed by the Times reporters, I found significant reductions in the teen abortion rate after the passage of a parental-involvement law. In Texas, the teen abortion rate has fallen by 25 percent since the passage of the parental-notification law in 2000. Furthermore, both Virginia and South Dakota passed parental-notification laws in 1997. Since that time, the teen abortion rate in each state declined by over 33 percent.

It is true that in the remaining two states, Idaho and Tennessee, the passage of parental-involvement laws seems to have had little immediate short-term effect on each state’s teen abortion rate. However, additional information about each state provides some important context. Idaho already had one of the lowest teen abortion rates in the country prior to the passage of a parental-consent law. Similarly, Tennessee’s teen abortion rate fluctuated little in the years following the passage of its parental consent law in 2000. However, the Tennessee’s teen abortion rate fell sharply in the year before the passage of the law. It seems possible that Tennessee’s law might have played a role in preserving this decline.

You can find a more extensive version of the study on which this article is based here.

Discussions - 2 Comments

So, if parental notifications have no effect (per NY Times), I guess the opposition to such laws will diminish...

Pro-life isn’t just about saving "babies." It is also about honoring the fundamental conditions of existence, among which is the integrity of the family.

Even if parental-notification laws have minimal impact on abortion rates, they at least recognize and teach the importance of parental rights -- including the right to have their morality heard by their children.

Life has become too superficial and comfortable, too disdainful of serious questions. Parental-notification laws are a small, imperfect step in the opposite direction. They are cultural, and countercultural, in the best sense.

All conservatives, whether anti-abortion or not, should be able to find common ground in supporting such pro-family laws.

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