Percolating

The abortion analysis that a colleague and I published last month has continued to percolate across the internet. NewsMax ran a story about it yesterday, which led to James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal running his own commentary on it today.

Taranto mentions an important possible reason for the dramatic pro-life shifts we observed among young people:

What they don’t mention is the demographic consequences of abortion itself–that is, the Roe Effect. It was in 1973 that the Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, found a “constitutional” right to abortion, effectively legalizing the practice nationwide. By 1992 the oldest post-Roe babies were only 19. In 2006, by contrast, the entire 18- to 29-year-old cohort had been born after Roe.

If one makes the reasonable assumptions that “pro-life” women have a lower propensity to abort than “pro-choice” ones do, and that parents are a strong influence on their children’s moral attitudes, then one would expect the post-Roe cohort to be more “pro-life” than their elders.

This point is something that did not occur to us until after the piece had been published, and it was too late to include, but we agree with his general reasoning about demography. And I would add that, even leaving aside the greater propensity of pro-choice women to have abortions, people who are strongly pro-life simply tend to have significantly more children than those who are strongly pro-choice. Children tend to absorb the cultural values and political orientations of their parents —and as they enter the electorate, those who have absorbed a pro-choice orientation are finding themselves outnumbered by the children of pro-lifers.

If I have any readers in Charlotte, NC, I’ll be interviewed about this research at 3:35 Eastern Time Friday afternoon (tomorrow), on the Danny Fontana show, AM 1220 WDYT.

I’ll also be appearing on Lynne Breidenbach’s conservative Christian radio program next Tuesday from 7:15 to 7:30 Eastern. She is based in central Florida, but syndicated in a number of other locations.

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