Reducing the U.S. abortion rate...

By encouraging pregnant couples
to choose childbirth over abortion

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Reducing abortions:

There are various approaches to reduce the abortion rate. Three of them are:

    • 1. By legislation that makes abortions more difficult to obtain. Much of the pro-life effort has been concentrated in this area. They have sponsored legislation or regulations to:

      • Prevent women under the age of 18 from having an abortion without prior parental consent or at least notification.

      • Criminalize the transporting of women under the age of 18 across state lines to have an abortion.

      • Requiring abortion providers to supply specific information to a woman seeking an abortion, sometimes of doubtful accuracy.

      • Requiring a woman to view an ultrasound of her embryo or fetus.

      • Requiring a waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion.

      • Require abortion providers to meet unreasonably strict medical standards, and/or provide needlessly expensive physical facilities.

      • Etc.

    The general goal is to make abortion "Safe, Legal and Unavailable," to quote the title of a book on this topic by Melody Rose. 1

    • 2. Through education that prevents pregnancies from happening either by:

      • Convincing students to choose abstinence until marriage.

      • Providing sexually active or potentially active people with access to low cost or free contraceptives and information on their proper use.

      • Creating a culture in which sexually active couples who are not in a permanent relationship are expected to prevent pregnancies.

    These approaches to reducing abortions are controversial. They often immediately trigger resistance by the pro-life movement, the pro-choice movement, and/or religious and social conservatives.

    • 3. To encourage already-pregnant wpmen to choose childbirth instead of abortion. Many women and couples would prefer to make this decision if certain roadblocks were removed and if child raising were more affordable and feasable.

     Various levels of governments around the world have encouraged childbirth through:

    • Liberal pregnancy leave legislation.

    • Reducing income taxes for parents.

    • Making free or affordable child care facilities available.

    • Providing special classes for pregnant students.

    • Providing free pre-natal health care.

    • Providing free health insurance for children.

    • Removal of sales tax on children's clothing.

    • Education and job-training programs.

    • Provide income and/or food supplements and/or free medication, etc.
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    An example of federal legislation to encourage continuing pregnancies:

    On 2008-SEP-26, Congress passed a bill to help parents of fetuses and babies with genetic defects.  It is designed to make childbirth a more desirable option by increasing support services to the parents before and after birth. Having access to sufficient emotional and physical support might persuade some parents to continue their pregnancy rather than choose abortion.

    Prenatal tests nnow make it possible to identify fetuses that have defects in their genetic structure that will cause mental retardation, deafness, early-onset Alzheimer's disease, and a range of other diseases.

    The New York Times wrote that:

    "For many women and their partners, the decision to terminate a pregnancy after a prenatal diagnosis of a serious genetic defect can be harrowing, often coming after a painful assessment of their own emotional and financial resources. ... About 90 percent of women who learn they are carrying a fetus with the extra 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome choose an abortion. Studies have shown that many women also choose to abort for diagnoses of less serious conditions." 22

    In an unusual display of bi-partisanship, one of the most conservative legislators in Congress -- Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) -- joined with one of the most liberal, -- Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) --  and with one other Democrat, one independent, and three other Republicans -- to cosponsor the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act. It passed the senate on 2008-SEP-23 by unanimous consent. It passed the House two days later by a voice vote, and signed into law by President George W Bush on OCT-08. 3 It will help provide up-to-date information to families that receive an adverse prenatal genetic diagnosis. It will link them to support services and networks that may be able to offer them continuing support. 3

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    An example of state legislation to encourage more abortions:

    Thomas Reese, writing in the Religion News about Ireland's abortion referendum of 2018 said:

    "In the early 1990s, Republicans in the New Jersey Legislature voted not to increase benefits for women on welfare if they have additional children. Thus, a mother with two children would have to take care of three with no increase in support. The consequences were quick and predictable: an increase in the number of abortions among women on welfare. ... Pro-life voters must choose between Republican rhetoric and Democratic results."

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    References used:

    1. book cover Melody Rose, "Safe, Legal and Unavailable? Abortion politics in the United States," CQ Press, (2007). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
    2. Sarahlyunn Lester, "Genetic Testing + Abortion = ???," New York Times, 2007-MAY-13, at:
    3. "Good News: Prenatal-Awareness Bill Heads to President's Desk,", 2008-SEP-26, at:
    4. "S. 1810: Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act,", at:

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    Copyright © 2008 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
    Originally posted: 2008-SEP-29
    Latest update: 2018-JUN-12
    Author: B.A. Robinson

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