The Guttmacher Institute, an American research organization committed to advancing “sexual and reproductive health and rights” released some data last week showing that the rate of abortion in the United States is the lowest since Roe v. Wade (1973). Reaction was swift from both sides of the abortion debate with Guttmacher saying that the drop is largely a result of increased use of contraception and pro-life people saying it is due to the dozens of pro-life laws that have been passed in recent years.
We should always take notice, and even celebrate, a declining number of pre-born children losing their lives to abortion. But in addition to this being a positive news story we should also acknowledge that it really is both contraception and laws that contribute to a declining abortion rate.
In the past number of years there have been plenty of laws passed, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, Parental Consent and Notification Laws, Mandatory Ultrasound Laws, Mandatory Waiting and Counselling Period Laws, and the list goes on. In each instance, another advance is made against the pro-abortion mainstream by protecting pre-born children and making it more difficult for them to be aborted.
The laws that have been passed in the U.S. not only protect lives, they also have a profound pedagogical effect by sending a message to the population that there is something immoral about abortion. It goes without saying that these laws have an incredible cultural impact. The effect on culture is that people are becoming far more careful in how, when, and for what reason(s) they engage in sexual activity. Whether within or outside of the marriage relationship men and women will undoubtedly exercise greater responsibility to ensure that, when taking part in the act of sex they are giving thought to whether or not said activity will result in procreation. The reasons for this are obvious – if their actions result in pregnancy it will be difficult, if not impossible, to simply destroy the evidence by way of abortion. It is easy to conclude that the reason the rate of abortion is declining is because it’s a lot more challenging to actually get one!
What does this mean for us in Canada? And what encouragement can we take from a declining abortion rate in the country south of us?
It should convince us that by working incrementally we can make a difference. Let’s not kid ourselves; these are real lives saved! Advancing pre-born human rights is a slow process that requires transformational change – change that can only happen when we move forward one step at a time. Our pro-life counterparts in the U.S. have been incredibly successful at changing the culture and saving lives.
Abortion laws both save lives and produce behavioural change among the population. As the Guttmacher study proves, it is for these reasons we need to continue pursuing legislative initiatives in Canada that protect pre-born children.