A Tennessee law that requires women to wait 48 hours before receiving an abortion decreased the abortion rate in the state while increasing the cost of the procedure, according to a new study.
The law, passed in 2015, requires women to receive pre-abortion counseling 48 hours prior to the abortion. It is being challenged in federal court.
The new study by researchers at Texas A&M University showed the law led to a decrease in the state’s abortion rate, from 8.9 in 2010-14 to 7.2 in 2015-16 (per 1,000 women aged 15-44). The rate of second-trimester abortions increased slightly, from 0.6 in 2010-2014 to 0.7 in 2015-2016.
The study, titled “New Evidence on the Effects of Mandatory Waiting Periods for Abortion,” was authored by researchers Jason M. Lindo and Mayra Pineda-Torres at Texas A&M University.
“There were only a handful of prior studies that are rigorous before ours, but all of them were written quite a long time ago and so the evidence base had become dated,” Lindo told The College Fix. “I believe it important that researchers conduct rigorous analyses so that policymakers know about the effects of abortion policies when considering their merits.”
Including Tennessee, 27 states require a waiting period before obtaining an abortion.
Pro-choice advocates noted that the study also showed the new law “increased the monetary costs of obtaining an abortion by as much as $929 for some women” That figure includes transportation costs, lost wages and childcare.
The study’s findings, Lindo noted, include something for each side of the political debate.
“Those who want to reduce abortion may take our results as an indication that mandatory waiting periods can help them achieve that goal to some degree,” Lindo said. “At the same time, the fact that mandatory waiting periods lead to more abortions at later stages of pregnancy may give them pause.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
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