Pro-Lifers Want Credit for Drop in Nebraska Abortion Rate


When the report on the numbers of abortions performed in Nebraska in the first half of 2011 came out, pro-lifers were quick to congratulate themselves.  After all, the 10% decrease in abortion had to be the result of the enactment of the 2010 “fetal pain” law, which banned abortions at or after 20 weeks.  As usual, however, the pro-life perspective doesn’t tell the whole story.

Nebraska Right to Life claimed that the drop in the abortion numbers were directly related to Dr. Leroy Carhart’s decision to move his late-term abortion clinic to Maryland after the 20-week ban went into effect.  The law was clearly targeting Dr. Carhart, who is one of the few doctors in the country who provides late-term abortions.

“Legislation does save lives,” said Nebraska Right to Life’s executive director, Julie Schmit-Albin. “Carhart admitted when [the ban] was enacted last fall that he would be forced by the law to do late-term abortions out of the state.”

The problem is, there is no way to know how many of Nebraska’s abortions were performed after 20 weeks, because many doctors did not report the fetus’ gestational age.  As our own Robin Marty points out at RHRealityCheck, “according to the 2010 state abortions statistics, there was only one abortion at 20 weeks or later reported, even though the ban itself didn’t go into effect until October.”  Anti-abortion advocates have no way to prove that the ban had any effect on the number of late-term abortions, because they don’t know how many were happening to begin with.

Carhart suggested that the drop might have to do with other factors, including an “improvement in birth control, improvement in [the use of] the morning-after pill, hopefully doing a little better in contraception.”

It may be shocking for pro-lifers to imagine that preventing pregnancy might do more to reduce the numbers of abortions than making it difficult or impossible for women to access late-term abortions, but it seems a little premature to declare that the abortion ban is the only relevant factor, especially since abortion rates in Nebraska have been declining at a steady rate for the past three years.

Related Stories:

Lack of Prenatal Care for Undocumented Mothers in Nebraska Likely Responsible for 5 Infant Deaths

Forced to Carry Doomed Child Thanks to Abortion Law

Fetal Pain Law Takes Effect

Photo from infomatique via flickr


Heather G.
Heather G6 years ago

"When the pill was produced, abortions should have reduced - they did not"

You know this how?? Sources please!!

Dawid Blyth
David B6 years ago

When the pill was produced, abortions should have reduced - they did not. The way to reduce abortions is a moral, selfless lifestyle.
Why the pro-abortionists should be so concerned that there may be a link between the law and the drop in the number of abortions is interesting. Is it because they do not want anyone else to have any influence except themselves?
Sex education on its own should not be purely a biology lesson, but rather include teaching of morality and respect for others' worth.

Lilithe Magdalene

Ryan - complications occur later in preganacies, and that is generally the reason to do them later - not because someone can't make up their mind. Sounds like slut shaming again. When families cannot have the abortion because of these laws, it put them through tremendous suffering.

ryan b.
Ryan B6 years ago

Once again, why are women waiting til 20 weeks to decide if they want a baby or not? Either you do or you don't. There is no reason that a week should go by, much less 20 weeks after having sex that a woman should wait to see if she is pregnant and to end it before the cells divide into and form a fetus.

Heather G.
Heather G6 years ago

Better birth control, along with access and knowledge of when and how to use it, is the ONLY way to end abortion. Making it a crime won't.

Beth Davis
Beth D6 years ago

Just to clear one thing up...NO tax dollars go towards abortion! So quit lying about it! There is a law already on the books that denies tax dollars for abortions. This whole argument is totally absurd. The real reason abortions seem to have gone down, women have to go elsewhere to get one. All you pro-lifers...have your opinion and do not have an abortion, fine. However, you don't get to dictate to others what they can do with their bodies. Especially when this is legal operation by law.

Tom Y.
Tom Y6 years ago

While inconclusive, this is still at least a step in the right direction. We should not be paying for this ugly birth control method just because the sexually lazy and noncommittal don't like consequences. Abortion is offensive and nasty -- there's nothing good to say for it.

Susan S.
Susan S6 years ago

Bobby T - Get YOUR head OUT of the sand! There are laws made every day that tell us what we can and can't do with our own bodies!! What about helmet laws for motorcycle riders? Don't they have a right to choose what to do with their own bodies? Or seatbelt laws? Or what if someone wants to commit suicide - are we wrong for trying to stop them? And on an on. When laws are being made, as a US citizen, I have EVERY RIGHT to comment and have my say. It is also my business if/when an abortion is paid for with MY money thru the taxes I pay.

Bobbie T.
Bobbie T6 years ago

Susan S ...stick your head back in the sand and MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. If YOU do not want an abortion...FINE. DON'T HAVE ONE. But you have NO right to comment on any other woman's right to choose what is best for her. How many ways must it be female has sex with the idea that if she should become pregnant, the easy answer is abortion. Aboprtion is the HARDEST choice any woman ever has to make. and their reasons ARE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Learn to respect the rights of others...if you expect that same respect for yourself.

Vicky Locke
Vicky Locke6 years ago

Fanatics can only see their own point of view.