July 14, 2008
On Thursday, I testified at a legislative forum on behalf of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA). Also testifying were Professor Teresa Collett, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and local pro-life activist Missy Smith. Five Members of Congress were at the hearing and about 20 members of the media and congressional staff were present.
My testimony follows below:
Chairman and members of the committee, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Michael New. I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama. I received a Ph.D. in Political Science and a Masters Degree in Statistics from Stanford University and I spent two years as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Harvard-MIT Data Center. I am here to testify on behalf of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA).
I have conducted a considerable amount of research on the effects of state level pro-life legislation and in particular, the effects state level pro-life parental involvement laws. The academic literature contains approximately 11 studies on this topic.
Five studies have examined individual states that have enacted parental involvement law.
-A study by Charlotte Ellertson that appeared in American Journal of Public Health found that Missouri's parental involvement law which was passed in 1985 resulted in statistically significant declines in the minor abortion rate.
-Another study by Virginia Cartoof and Lorraine Klerman that appeared in the American Journal of Public Health found that the number of abortions performed on Massachusetts minors declined by more than 15 percent after the passage of a parental involvement law in 1981.
-Two studies that appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, find that Minnesota's parental involvement law which was enacted in 1990 has resulted in statistically significant declines in the number of teens obtaining abortions in Minnesota.
-Finally and most impressively, a study by Joyce, Kaestner, and Coleman that appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 demonstrated the effectiveness of the Texas parental involvement law which was signed into law in 2000. The Texas law was shown to reduce the incidence of abortion by approximately 15 percent among 15 year olds, 16 year olds, and 17 year olds. The authors also find a slight, but statistically significant increase in teen births after the passage of the law. Furthermore, the authors find little evidence that a substantial number of minors were going out of state to obtain abortions.
There are 6 additional studies that use time series cross sectional data to analyze the combined effects of parental involvement laws that were passed in multiple states.
Studies that have appeared in The Journal of Human Resources, The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Family Planning Perspectives, Contemporary Economic Policy, Journal of Health Economics. and Catholic Social Science Review
All of these studies consider a range of state that have enacted parental involvement laws for a range of years. Furthermore, all of these studies conclude that they result in statistically significant declines in the abortion rate
I should add that I have done four studies on the impact of state level pro-life legislation that have been published by the Heritage Foundation and I have another study that has appeared in the Catholic Social Science Review. My most recent Heritage study which was published in the February of 2007 found that pro-life parental involvement laws reduce the minor abortion rate by approximately 15 percent whenever they are enacted.
I should add that am spending this summer in Washington where I am doing a research project for the Family Research Council on pro-life parental involvement laws. The completed study should be released sometime this fall
However, my preliminary findings provide additional evidence that parental involvement laws have been effective at reducing the in-state abortion rates.
This particular study analyzes data on minor abortions from nearly every state from every year from 1985 to 2000. As such, I am able to examine the effects of the 32 pro-life parental involvement laws that were in place as of 2000. I am also able to separately examine the abortion rates for 15 year olds, 16 year olds, and 17 year olds.
I find that when a state enacts a pro-life parental involvement law, we see abortion rate declines among all age groups. The declines were approximately:
-16 percent for 17 year olds
-12 percent for 16 year olds
-9 percent for 15 year olds
We also see evidence that laws requiring parental consent result in larger abortion declines than laws that require parental notification. This finding is true for 15 year olds, 16 year olds, and 17 year olds
We also see that laws that require the involvement of two parents results in larger abortion declines than laws that require the involvement of only one parent. Again this finding is true for 15 year olds, 16 year olds, and 17 year olds
Overall the academic evidence is overwhelming that pro-life parental involvement laws are effective at reducing abortion rates wherever they are passed.
Before I conclude I want to say that committee members who are still skeptical of the findings of these academic and policy studies should look at the abortion rate in Mississippi after they enacted a parental involvement law in 1992.
As this chart indicates the abortion rate for 17 year olds, 16 year olds and 15 year olds fell dramatically after the passage of this law.
In conclusion, there is plenty of evidence that whenever state level pro-life parental involvement laws are enacted, they lower the incidence of abortion within the boundaries of a given state. This is true for case studies of individual states. It holds true for studies that use time series cross sectional data to analyze multiple states.
That having been said, there is no consensus as to the extent to which these in-state declines are offset by out of state increases.
The good news is that if we can make it difficult for minors to obtain out of state abortions, the abortion numbers will go down and stay down.
Overall, evidence strongly indicates that Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) will
-Strengthen the rights of parents
-Protect pregnant minors
-And protect unborn children.
This is an excellent bill and it is one worthy of your support. Thank you.