Some Research On Abortion

The other day, I was in a discussion with a friend over whether making abortion illegal would minimize abortions. There was an article going around the internet from 2012 that said it wouldn't. So here is what I found.

To begin with, here is the 2012 article: Higher abortion rates where procedure is illegal.
Abortion rates are higher in countries where the procedure is illegal and nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, with the vast majority in developing countries, a new study concludes.
Here are some good arguments that make the logic of the claim of the 2012 reports a little sketchy: Making Abortion Illegal Reduces the Abortion Rate.

The main highlight:
Even if we take the Guttmacher numbers at face value, however, the claim that criminalization does not effect the abortion rate does not bear scrutiny. Abortion in Ireland, for example, is illegal in most cases, whereas across the pond in England and Wales it is basically legal (though with more restrictions than in the U.S.). According to Guttmacher, the abortion rate for Ireland in 1996 was 5.9. For England and Wales, 15.6. That is, by Guttmacher’s own numbers, the abortion rate for England (where abortion is legal) is several times what it is in Ireland (where it is not). Presumably the lower Irish rate is not due to the country’s fanatical devotion to sex education and contraception.
And another highlight:
How, then, does Guttmacher come up with the claim that abortion rates are no lower in countries where abortion is illegal than where it is legal? Simple. Abortion is disproportionately legal in the developed world and disproportionately illegal in the developing world. And, at least the way that Guttmacher calculates its statistics, the developing world tends to have much higher abortion rates generally. Once this is corrected for, and one is comparing developed countries where abortion is legal to developed countries where it is not and developing countries where it is legal to those where it is not, it becomes clear that criminalization has a significant effect on the abortion rate.
This is an interesting article that I ran across. It shows that when Chile made abortion illegal, the actual deaths of women having abortions went down, which combats the myth that making abortion illegal would encourage back alley abortions resulting in the death of more women.

All Banning Abortion Does Is Make It Unsafe (Rebuttal Part 2)
We observed that reduction of maternal mortality in Chile was paralleled by the number of hospitalizations attributable to complications of clandestine abortions. While over 50% of all abortion-related hospitalizations were attributable to complications of clandestine abortions during the 1960s, this proportion decreased rapidly in the following decades. Indeed, only 12-19% of all hospitalization from abortion can be attributable to clandestine abortions between 2001 and 2008. These data suggest that over time, restrictive laws may have a restraining effect on the practice of abortion and promote its decrease. In fact, Chile exhibits today one of the lowest abortion-related maternal deaths in the world, with a 92.3% decrease since 1989 and a 99.1% accumulated decrease over 50 years.
And a little quick compilation of research. I used two sources. The Kaiser Family Foundation's Rate of Legal Abortions per 1,000 Women Aged 15-44 Years by State of Occurrence to show me what the abortion rates were in each different state. CBS News' report Abortion: 19 states with toughest laws.

To note, all the States that have over 20 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 are not listed in the toughest abortion laws section.

For the top 10 toughest States, here are their rates.

1. Louisiana - 9
2. North Dakota - 10
3. Mississippi - 4
4 (tie). Arkansas - 8
4 (tie). Missouri - 6
6. Kentucky - 5
7 (tie). Utah - 6
7 (tie). Nebraska - 7
9 (tie). South Dakota - 5
9 (tie). Ohio - 13

One cannot necessarily conclude that the stricter laws are the cause of fewer abortions. It could be the anti-abortion climate that causes the stricter laws that influences less abortions. Whatever the case, the states with stricter laws have less abortion. In similar cultures, like England, Wales, and Ireland, the one where abortion is illegal has less abortions. And in Chile, where abortion was made illegal, the death of women dying from abortions actually went down when the only way to have an abortion was the dreaded back alley abortion.