Antiabortion Scholar Endorses Restrictions That Raise Costs for Women

September 25, 2012 — Antiabortion-rights legislation should be designed to increase "the costs" of the procedure in order to discourage women from obtaining abortions, Michael New of the antiabortion research organization the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said at a recent event sponsored by conservative groups, the American Independent reports.

Abortion-rights opponents often claim that laws mandating various requirements before an abortion -- such as obtaining an ultrasound or making two separate trips to the clinic -- are intended to help women make more informed choices. However, abortion-rights advocates contend that the laws are really meant to impede access to the procedure, according to the American Independent.

In a speech at the Values Voter Summit on Sept. 15, New urged the audience to enact or strengthen abortion restrictions in their states, including through bolstering so-called "informed consent" laws by requiring women to view an ultrasound, wait for longer periods before an abortion or make two trips to the clinic. "That raises the costs; that stops the abortion from happening," he said.

In comments to a reporter after the speech, New added, "[E]ssentially if you get situations where, you know, people have to make two separate trips, that does raise the economic cost, that does get the numbers [of abortions] down." He said requirements to make two separate trips are particularly burdensome for "women in rural areas."

Response to New's Comments

Mallory Quigley, a spokesperson for the antiabortion-rights group Susan B. Anthony List, said informed consent laws are meant to help women by providing them with information about abortion and ensuring they have "time to consider it."

Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, said that even if abortion restrictions lead to fewer abortions in a state, they do nothing to reduce the need for abortion. "This is all about abortion and has nothing to do with reducing unintended pregnancy" (Resnick, American Independent, 9/21).