You can’t legislate morality. Or so they saying goes.
This argument is used by people who support abortion rights, saying that even if we make laws against abortion, it won’t help until the root issue is confronted. But a new study shows otherwise.
Certainly no law can make a person’s moral core change, but legislation is affecting the number of abortions performed.
According to US News, pro-life laws that have been created “since 1990 in some 34 states have helped to slash abortion rates by over 22 percent.” The report cites the scholarly journal, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, which found:
Reviewing abortion data as far back as the 1960s, the report said that use of the procedure surged until the 1990s when states started enacting anti-abortion restrictions, such as requiring women to wait before having an abortion, notifying parents of teens, and cutting Medicaid expenses.
The report says that “Parental involvement and notification laws do seem to work to curb teen abortion rates by about 15 percent” and “cutting Medicaid funding is credited with reducing tax funded abortion by 9 percent.” It concludes:
"The results indicate that enforced laws result in significantly larger in-state abortion declines than nullified laws… results indicated that various types of legislation had disparate and predictable effects on different subsets of the population. For instance, parental involvement laws have a large effect on the abortion rate for minors and virtually no effect on the abortion rate for adults. These results provide further evidence that anti-abortion legislation results in declines in the number of abortions that take place within the boundaries of a given state.”
What’s notable about this, besides the obvious and substantial decrease in abortion, is that state laws show no sign of simmering when it comes to pro-life legislation. This article reports on various legislation that was being considered on March 4. Since then Minnesota has added a fetal pain bill like the one that drove late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart out of Nebraska last year. And this week it passed the first stages of its proposed fetal cloning bill. This year, the state of Florida has introduced 18 pro-life bills. Frankly, I have lost track of the bills running through state houses, and governor’s desks these days. It’s really that many.While no bill actually will make abortion illegal in the United States, as we continue to pray, each one is a step closer to forming a culture of life in our nation.
The prayer force against the shedding of innocent blood has been growing exponentially each year. A scientist would say that that correlation isn’t appropriate on which to draw a conclusion. But I think I’ll remain on the prayer side of the issue just the same. Sometimes because we can’t see what’s happening at the moment we pray, it’s easy to get discouraged. Don’t! When was the last time you could lose count of the number of pro-life bills sitting in state capitals? That’s the result of prayer. It will never be proven by science, but it will be proven by history—which still belongs to the intercessors.
It seems that “legislating morality” has a positive effect on a nation after all.