Groups that support legal abortion, along with their allies in the mainstream media, tend to portray abortion-policy debates as being between credentialed scientists on one side and ignorant pro-life activists on the other. The reality is far more complicated. There are rich and nuanced debates about many aspects of public policy related to abortion. Unsurprisingly, the authors of the Guttmacher analysis are very selective in the studies they cite. A broader review of the relevant research indicates that most pro-life laws are based on sound scientific principles.
The defunding of Planned Parenthood in Texas in 2011 created a veritable cottage industry of researchers trying to find evidence that pro-life laws cause public-health problems. Some of the research — such as the 2016 New England Journal of Medicine study on Medicaid births and the recent Journal of Public Health study on teen births and teen abortions — has been analytically rigorous. Unfortunately, media coverage of such studies is often misleading. Additionally, in some cases, researchers have overstated the effect of slight changes in public-health trends. In this case, because of its methodological weaknesses, the CRR-IBIS study provides absolutely no value to anyone interested in the way in which pro-life policies and legislation actually affect public-health trends.