by Matt Bowman
With so much attention on the economy, one area of federal legislation that can be overlooked is abortion. An old and dangerous bill that will increase abortions by an enormous amount is being resurrected by abortion advocates: the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). H.R. 1964 and S.1173.
FOCA is usually reported as “codifying Roe v. Wade,” but it is much more. Since the Webster and Casey decisions in 1989 and 1992, the Supreme Court has allowed states to limit abortion somewhat by such things as requiring parental involvement and informed consent, prohibiting government funding of most abortion, and more recently outlawing most partial birth abortions.
But FOCA tolerates none of this. Advocates and opponents of FOCA all agree that the bill would nullify every legal limit on abortion, state, federal or otherwise. Americans United for Life, as well as the Family Research Council, explain this fact in great detail. Abortion advocates who want FOCA concur: NOW, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and FOCA sponsor Senator Barbara Boxer all contend that FOCA will strike down all state pro-life laws.
The shockwaves that FOCA would cause are immense and wide-ranging, but recent research shows one effect in particular. Certain state laws that are doomed under FOCA actually prevent a statistically significant number of abortions. These laws include parental involvement requirements, informed consent laws, and restrictions on government funding of abortions.
Specifically, if FOCA is passed it will increase abortions by 125,000 more per year in the United States. Since 2004, Dr. Michael New has published studies with the Heritage Foundation showing that a large reduction in abortions can be attributed to these three kinds of laws.
Even considering other reduction factors such as change in public opinion, Dr. New’s regression analysis shows that parental involvement laws in a state lead to 0.54 fewer abortions per 1000 women of childbearing age, informed consent laws lead to 0.92 fewer, and state restrictions on Medicaid funding lead to 2.08 fewer.
Both pro-life and pro-abortion organizations tell us which states have these laws in place: 36 states have parental involvement laws, 26 states have informed consent laws, and 34 states have funding restrictions.
The U.S. Census Bureau gives us projections for 2009 of females age 15-44 in each of these states. Then it’s a simple matter of cross-referencing the number of women of childbearing age in each state with each abortion restriction, and applying Dr. New’s ratio. The grand total number of abortions reduced by these laws is 124,947.6, per year.
This is a minimum. FOCA will strike down other laws, state and federal, that reduce abortions, and will force states to facilitate abortions. 125,000 more abortions is only the tip of the FOCA iceberg.
Even with this minimum, that’s 125,000 children that were not killed this year because we have these laws, and 125,000 children (added to the existing 1.3 million abortions) who will be killed in 2009 and every year after if FOCA is passed. FOCA is indeed a staggering expansion of abortion, both in principle and in actual lives lost.