HOW PRO-LIFE LAWS SAVE LIVES
Woman's Right to Know
The Woman's Right to Know informed consent law was enacted in 2003. Under this law in 2018, 12,408 abortion-seeking pregnant women received important factual information about abortion risks and alternatives. That number is 2,498 more than the number of women who actually underwent abortions. Since Woman's Right to Know became law, more than 30,000 women have chosen life for their unborn children after receiving the information.
The Positive Alternatives Act of 2005 created a program to provide grants to pregnancy care center programs that help women in difficult circumstances and offer life-affirming alternatives to abortion. More than 68,000 women statewide were helped through the Positive Alternatives program from July 2006 through June 2019. Abortions in Minnesota declined for seven straight years after the program was implemented.
The number of abortions performed on minors peaked in 1980 at 2,327. In 1981, Minnesota passed a law requiring that both parents be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion is performed on a minor (there is a court-required judicial bypass option). After years of steady decline, minor abortions in 2018 numbered just 221, a 91 percent drop from their peak and only 2 percent of all abortions. A 1991 study in the American Journal of Public Health found that the implementation of Minnesota's parental notification law was followed by a substantial drop in the minor abortion rate even as the abortion rate among older women (who were not affected by the law) did not decline over the same period.
Laws reduce abortions
Extensive research from outside Minnesota confirms that various kinds of pro-life laws—informed consent laws, parental involvement requirements, bans on public funding of abortion—help reduce the number of abortions. A study published in the journal State Politics & Policy Quarterly, for example, concludes that "several types of state-level anti-abortion legislation result in statistically significant declines in both the abortion rate and the abortion ratio." The federal Hyde Amendment, which prohibits most taxpayer funding of abortion through Medicaid, has prevented more than two million abortions, according to a 2016 analysis.
Pro-life legislation has made a difference in Minnesota. The number of abortions has fallen 48 percent since 1980 and 30 percent since 2006. Tens of thousands of Minnesotans who are alive today would have been killed in utero if not for pro-life measures like Woman's Right to Know, Positive Alternatives, and the parental notification law.
Yet about 10,000 unborn children are still aborted in the state each year. Continuing political and legislative efforts (in addition to the work of supporting pregnant women in need and educating and persuading the public) are vital to our goal of saving lives and restoring protection for innocent human beings at all stages of development.
Although the U.S. Supreme Court (beginning in 1973 with Roe v. Wade) has imposed legalized abortion nationwide, certain laws can still be enacted for the protection and benefit of unborn children and their mothers. MCCL has led the effort to pass such measures in Minnesota. These laws are saving lives today. Here are some examples.