Essay On The Pros And Cons Of Abortion - Womans Studies - Essay

4660 words - 19 pages

Health Care for Women International, 37:158–169, 2016
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0739-9332 print / 1096-4665 online
DOI: 10.1080/07399332.2013.841699
Pro-Choice Versus Pro-Life: The Relationship
Between State Abortion Policy and Child
Well-Being in the United States
Department of Economics, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach,
California, USA
In the United States, pro-choice supporters contend that the desire
of pro-life supporters to protect the life of the fetus ends at birth
and that thereafter they ignore the health and well-being of in-
fants and children. This study examines the question of whether
infants and children fare better in U.S. states that have the most
restrictive abortion laws. Eighteen indicators of infant/child health,
family, economic, and educational status are analyzed. The em-
pirical evidence finds that states with the most antiabortion policies
are also the same states that have significantly lower indicators of
infant/child well-being. This supports the contention by pro-choice
supporters that efforts by pro-life supporters to protect the life of the
fetus end at birth.
Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures performed on
women in the United States, with at least three in 10 women experiencing at
least one abortion by age 45. Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended,
and about four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-two percent
of all pregnancies end in abortion. Each year, 2% of women of childbearing
age (15–44 years) have an abortion. Most of the research on abortion focuses
on the impact of antiabortion laws enacted by states to reduce the incidence
of abortion. Of equal interest is the question of whether states with restrictive
abortion laws also have policies that improve the health and well-being of
children after their birth.
In 1973, the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade held that in the
Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment there exists a right of privacy
Received 16 January 2013; accepted 3 September 2013.
Address correspondence to Marshall Medoff, Department of Economics, California State
University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840, USA. E-mail:
Pro-Choice Versus Pro-Life 159
that encompasses a woman’s personal decision to terminate an unintended
pregnancy. What is misunderstood about this decision is that it did not
mandate a woman’s unrestricted access to an abortion. States were permitted
to enact laws or regulations restricting a woman’s access to an abortion. In
the ensuing years after the Roe v. Wade decision, a wide variety of laws
were enacted by states that place restrictions on the ability of women to
obtain an abortion. There is a large body of empirical evidence that shows
that restrictive state abortion laws reduce the demand for abortions (Blank,
George, & London, 1996; Levine, 2004; Medoff, 2010, 2007, 2008).
The basic underlying princi...

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