HOW 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 2015, 11,605 abortion-minded pregnant women received important factual information. That number is 1,744 more than the number of women who actually underwent abortions. Since Woman’s Right to Know became law, nearly 26,000 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 centers that help women in difficult circumstances and offer life-affirming alternatives to abortion. More than 35,000 women statewide were helped through the Positive Alternatives program in its first six years (July 2006-Aug. 2012). 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 2015 numbered just 246, only 2.5 percent of all abortions.
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. Through 2015, the number of abortions has declined for eight of the last nine years, dropping 30 percent since 2006. Abortions are now at their lowest level since 1974.
Yet nearly 10,000 unborn children are still aborted in the state each year. Continuing political and legislative efforts (in addition to the work of helping 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 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.