The Effect of Parental Involvement Laws on the Incidence of Abortion Among MinorsBy Tim Dailey and Dr. Michael New Senior Fellow, Center for Marriage and Family Studies
This comprehensive analysis of minor abortion data from nearly all 50 states between 1985 and 1999 demonstrates that state-level parental involvement laws are effective in reducing the incidence of abortion among minors. Overall, the findings indicate that when a state enacts a parental involvement law, the abortion rate falls by an average of approximately 13.6 percent.
This study is the first of its kind to compare different types of parental involvement laws. The findings indicate that more protective parental involvement laws result in even larger abortion declines. Laws that require parental consent instead of parental notification reduce the minor abortion rate by about 19 percent. Furthermore, laws that mandate the involvement of two parents, instead of just one parent, reduce the in-state minor abortion rate by approximately 31 percent.
The overall minor abortion rate in the United States has fallen by close to fifty percent between 1985 and 1999, and this study shows that parental involvement laws are an important causal factor in this decline. Currently about 36 states have a parental involvement law on the books, but some are more effective than others in their ability to reduce the incidence of abortion. The laws that were enacted in Minnesota and Mississippi laws are among the most effective in reducing abortion rates among minors.