Its all about the children!
by, Aug 02 2012 at 12:10 PM (131 Views)
The US has a relatively poor record in terms of child fatal injury rates (e.g. UNICEF 1991-1995 data has the US child fatality at 14.1 per 100,000. Sweden was down at 5.2). It would seem to be a tad of a stretch, but could the US's abortion restrictions offer one explanatory variable? Consider, for example, Sen et al. (2012, The relationship between state abortion-restrictions and homicide deaths among children under 5 years of age: A longitudinal study, Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 75, pp. 156–164):
The purpose of this study is to explore whether, in the U.S., there are associations between state-level variations in mortality among young children and state abortion restriction policies – such as parental-consent requirements, parental-notification requirements, mandatory delay laws, and restrictions on Medicaid funding for abortion. To investigate this, we used NCHS Multiple Cause of Deaths public-use data files for the period 1983–2002, and compiled data on children ages 0–4 identified as having died as a result of assault/homicide in each state and year. Medicaid funding of abortion, mandatory delay laws, and parental involvement laws for minors seeking abortions were included as the main predictor variables of interest. Multivariate count data models using pooled state-year-age cohort data, with state and time fixed effects and other state-level controls, were estimated. Results indicated that, between 1983 and 2002, the average increase in the number of homicide deaths for children under 5 years of age was 5.70 per state among states that implemented stricter abortion policies over that time, and 2.00 per state for states that did not. In the count data models, parental-consent laws were associated with a 13 percent increase in child homicide deaths; parental-notification laws were associated with an 8 percent increase in child homicide deaths though the results were less robust to alternate model specifications; mandatory delay requirements were associated with a 13 percent increase in child homicide deaths. While these data do not allow us to discern precise pathways via which state abortion-restrictions can lead to more child homicide deaths, we speculate that state restrictions on abortion may result in a disproportionate increase in children born into relatively high-risk environments.
We certainly cannot suggest that abortion restrictions provide the bulk of the US higher death toll. However, it’s an interesting angle that is often ignored in the pro-choice/pro-life morality squabbling.