New research finds most laws mandating counseling and waiting periods have little impact on birth and abortion rates

May 2009

May 13, 2009 – Ibis and the Guttmacher Institute released the second in a series of papers on abortion restrictions, “The Impact of State Mandatory Counseling and Waiting Period Laws on Abortion: A Literature Review,” which found that most laws mandating counseling and waiting periods before abortion have little impact on birth and abortion rates. These findings imply that counseling requirements do not cause women to change their minds about having an abortion, and that waiting period requirements do not impose significant barriers to abortion services. Yet, according to the paper, which analyzes the relevant literature, these laws may postpone the timing of some abortions. Also, laws requiring in-person counseling caused additional delays and created additional burdens for women by forcing them to take more time off from work, arrange child care, or stay away from home overnight when the distance to the clinic is great. Ibis President Kelly Blanchard and Project Manager Amanda Dennis are co-authors of the paper. 

Blanchard is a co-author on a second paper, released on May 15, 2009, a commentary highlighting that withdrawal is only slightly less effective than the male condom at preventing pregnancy. Published in the June 2009 issue of Contraception, “Better Than Nothing or Savvy Risk-Reduction Practice? The Importance of Withdrawal,” examines the lack of enthusiasm for the method which persists despite its relative effectiveness, as well as the consequences of the method’s lack of popularity.