Friday, October 21, 2011

Life Links 10/21/11

A piece in the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the effectiveness of two different types of prolife legislation. Demand-side policies (like informed consent) attempt to impact how many women want abortions while supply-side policies (regulations on abortion providers). The study finds that a supply-side policy in Texas was much more effective than a demand-side policy.
If Texas's demand-side policies had an impact, there would have been a decrease in abortions at all gestational stages. If only the supply-side policy restricted access, the decrease would be limited to abortions performed at or after 16 weeks. I found that the supply-side policy had dramatic effects, whereas the demand-side policy had none. The number of abortions performed in Texas at or after 16 weeks of gestation dropped by 88%, from 3642 in 2003 to 446 in 2004, while the number of residents who left the state for a late abortion almost quadrupled, from 187 in 2003 to 736 in 2004. Despite this large outflow, there were 2460 fewer abortions at 16 weeks or later in Texas residents 1 year after the law took effect, a 68% decline. By 2006, Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio had ambulatory surgical centers in which abortions were performed at or after 16 weeks of gestation, but the number of such abortions remained well below the 2003 level.4 Over the same period there was no meaningful change in the number of abortions before 16 weeks of gestation (see graphNumber of Abortions Performed in Residents of Texas, before and after 16 Weeks of Gestation, in and outside Texas, 2001–2006.). The demand-side policies had no measurable impact.....

If policies rendering free-standing abortion clinics economically unviable are allowed to stand, a map of U.S. abortion services will probably resemble the blue-state–red-state configuration after the 2004 presidential election. Services will be readily available in coastal blue states, whereas women in the country's vast middle will have to travel large distances for access......

The pre-Roe data illustrate that the farther women must travel for an abortion, the lower the abortion rate will be, and that travel distance is a greater obstacle for less-advantaged women.

The Washington Post has presidential candidate Herman Cain's most recent statement on abortion.
I will appoint judges who understand the original intent of the Constitution. Judges who are committed to the rule of law, know that the Constitution contains no right to take the life of unborn children.

I will oppose government funding of abortion. I will veto any legislation that contains funds for Planned Parenthood. I will do everything that a President can do, consistent with his constitutional role, to advance the culture of life."
Didn't Rudy Giuliani promise to do basically the same thing while still self-describing himself as "pro-choice?" Just being opposed to tax-funded abortions and promising to appoint judges committed to the rule of law doesn't make a presidential candidate "prolife."

We still need answers to specific questions like what's Cain's stance on the Mexico City policy, the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, signing prolife legislation which restricts access to abortion like prohibiting the transportation of minors across state lines to avoid state parental consent law. Also, what does Cain think is consistent with the constitutional role of the president? Maybe he thinks it would be unconstitutional for the federal government to restrict abortion.

Broad statements will not do. Answers to specific questions are needed.

Prolife legislation passed in Russia's parliament.
The law passed on Friday limits abortions to 12 weeks of pregnancy — except for women who say they can't afford a child, who may have an abortion up to 22 weeks.

The law also stipulates a mandatory waiting period of two to seven days before the procedure, described as time for a woman to reconsider her decision.

The law does not include restrictions proposed by the Russian Orthodox Church, such as a requirement for a husband's or parents' consent for married women or teenage girls or for a doctor's right to refuse an abortion.

UK's The Guardian is covering the news of a Chinese woman's death after a forced abortion. The story was broken by Women Right's Without Borders.

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