The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and IBIS Reproductive Health released a study on pro-life laws and public-health outcomes. It purports to show that the states most active in enacting pro-life policies fare poorly on a range of public-health metrics. Specifically, it claims the states that have enacted the most pieces of pro-life legislation score worse on separate metrics designed to measure both women’s and children’s overall health. This is the latest in a long line of studies attempting to show that pro-life laws adversely affect public-health outcomes. It has received sympathetic coverage from a number of media outlets including Mother Jones and HuffPost.
In reality, the CRR-IBIS study suffers from two significant methodological problems. First, this study analyzes just one year of data. As a result, it provides no evidence of how changes in pro-life policy affect various metrics of public health over time. Second, the study does not hold constant any confounding variables. For example, in recent years, the states most active in passing pro-life laws have been largely located in the South. Southern states tend to have high poverty rates, which are often correlated with poor public-health outcomes. It is therefore likely that those high rates of poverty — and not pro-life laws — are primarily responsible for these below-average public-health metrics.
Read more at National Review.