Study: Pro-Life Parental Involvement Laws Reduce Teen-Suicide Rates
This spring the journal Economic Inquiry published a study by Joseph Sabia and Daniel Reese which found very solid evidence that pro-life parental involvement laws reduce the suicide rate for teen females. This peer-reviewed study is both methodologically rigorous and well done. Analyzing state-level suicide data from 1987 to 2003 and holding constant both state-level trends and a range of economic and demographic factors, it finds that parental involvement laws reduce the suicide rate for teen females anywhere from 11 to 21 percent. The authors argue that this is because parental involvement laws reduce the incidence of stressful life events. These include unprotected sexual intercourse, STDs, pregnancies, and abortions.
Overall, this study contributes to a growing body of peer-reviewed research which documents the positive public-health impact of pro-life parental-involvement laws. There exist at least 16 peer-reviewed studies which find that parental involvement laws result in statistically significant reductions in the in-state abortion rate for minors. Obviously some minors circumvent these laws by obtaining abortions in states without such laws. However, every study that tracks both in-state and out-of-state abortions finds that the in-state decline significantly exceeds the out-of-state increase.