MYTH: "Voting pro-life doesn't do any good; once they're elected, pro-life candidates don't do anything about abortion."
TRUTH: Although the U.S. Supreme Court decisions Roe vs. Wade, Doe vs. Bolton, and Casey vs. Planned Parenthood prevent the passage of laws directly outlawing most abortions in the United States, pro-life legislators and governors have put in place numerous pro-life laws that, while not outlawing abortion, have significantly reduced its incidence (while simultaneously improving maternal health):
Pro-life laws lead to real reductions in abortion
- Dr. Michael New reviewed 16 peer-reviewed studies, and reports that all of them show significant decreases in teen abortions after the enactment of parental involvement laws (reductions from 13-42%). [here]
- Informed consent laws, Medicaid restrictions, and partial-birth abortion bans have all been shown to lead to significant measurable decreases in the abortion rate. [here]
Pro-life laws lead to real improvements in Women’s health
- Informed consent laws, Medicaid restrictions, and partial-birth abortion bans have also been shown to lead to significant measurable decreases in various health problems such as gonorrhea (12%-20% reduction for women under 20 yrs old) and suicide (11%-21% reduction in women 15-17 yrs old)[here]
- Maternal mortality is consistently, and significantly, lower in countries where abortion is illegal than it is in countires where it is legal. [here]
- In Ireland and Northern Ireland, where abortion is heavily restricted, rates of low birth weight and still births are consistently and significantly lower than in England Scotland, and Wales, where abortion has been legal since 1968 (in 1971 the rates were much higher in Ireland and Northern Ireland). The Irish countries also have lower maternal mortality rates and lower breast cancer rates. [here]
There are also ways that government officials can promote life other than by the passage of laws:
Federal judges are nominated by the President and approved by the Senate; pro-life Presidents and senators are more likely to put in place justices willing to reverse those decisions (pro-abortion politicians regularly go before groups such as Planned Parenthood and explicitly promise to nominate only judges who will uphold pro-abortion decisions).
There are other things Presidents, governors, and other officials do that encourage or discourage abortion. For instance, President Reagan and both Bushes had policies in place forbidding use of U.S. funds for abortion overseas (the “Mexico City Policy”); Presidents Clinton and Obama both reversed those policies on their first day in office. State governors also make decisions that either encourage or discourage abortion (see here, for instance).