Guest Column

New fertility data show the lifesaving impact of pro-life laws


(National Review) Last week, the Centers for Disease Control released preliminary fertility data for the year 2023. Most of the media coverage focused on the fact that the number of U.S. births decreased by 2.1 percent last year. There was a slight uptick in births in 2021, likely due to more couples deciding to have children as the Covid-19 pandemic concluded. However, these new data show that the long-term decline in the U.S. birth rate continues. Overall, the new data indicate that the number of births fell to its lowest level since 1979.

The data do contain some good news for social conservatives. The teen birth rate continues its long-term decline, having fallen by an impressive 79 percent since 1991. Other sources of data also show a very large long-term decline in teen abortions. Mainstream media outlets are quick to credit increases in contraception use among teens. However, both the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Survey of Family Growth show durable, long-term decreases since the early 1990s in the percentage of teenagers who are sexually active.

READ: The fertility industry’s lax regulation is just the tip of the iceberg

More importantly, the data show that strong state level pro-life laws that were enacted in 2022 saved lives in 2023. There were 14 states that either protected all preborn children or had a heartbeat law in place for at least three months in 2022. In these 14 states, the birth rate declined by only 0.7 percent. In the 36 other states and Washington, D.C., the birth rate declined by 2.4 percent. The birth decline was clearly smaller in pro-life states than it was in states with permissive abortion policies. My preliminary calculations from this data indicate that pro-life laws saved about 18,000 lives in 2023.

My analysis does not account for previous trends in births or population. It also does not account for regional economic fluctuations that might also affect birth rates. That said, it contributes to a growing body of research analyzing recent birth data from Texas and other states. All of this research clearly shows that recently enacted pro-life laws have succeeded in saving thousands of lives.

Editor’s Note: This article was published at National Review and is reprinted here with permission.

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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