Does Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage Cause An Increase in Abortions

There is evidence that legalization of same-sex marriage is associated with higher rates, ratios and rankings of abortion in American States.  That information was compiled and presented to the Supreme Court of the United States in an amicus brief filed in Obergefell v. Hodges by more than 100 scholars of marriage in support of the states whose gender-integrative marriage laws were being challenged.  Attorney Gene Schaerr of Washington, D.C. filed that brief in which he noted that in 2011, states in which same-sex marriage had been legalized “averaged 50.4%  more abortions per 1,000 women, and 71.4% more abortions per 1,000 births” than states in which same-sex marriage was not allowed.  Id. at 19a.  He predicted that a nationwide rule mandating same-sex marriage (as the Supreme Court subsequently ordered in its Obergefell decision a month ago) would result in increased abortions and increased nonmarital births in the USA.

Schaerr wrote: “The logic is simple and intuitive: Fewer opposite-sex marriages means more unmarried women, which in turn means fewer children born, more children born to unmarried mothers, and more children abortion.”

Clearly there is some causal association, some connecting behavioral correlation between same-sex marriage and abortion.  What that connection is, how it works, and why, are matters of speculation at this point in time. However, it would not be surprising to identify some conceptual link between the moral foundations of same-sex marriage and the moral foundations of abortion-on-demand.

That data should give pro-life Americans grave cause for concern about the recent Supreme Court Obergefell ruling that mandated that all American states must allow same-sex couples to “marry.”  One thing that ruling means for certain is that there will be more same-sex marriages in the United States.  And if the past correlation continues, that means that there will be more abortions in the USA as well.

That is a foreboding prediction.  Rates, ratios and numbers of abortions in the USA have been falling steadily for more than three decades.  Since about 1980, abortions have been in free-fall in the United States.  See Chuck Donovan, Why the Abortion Rate is Declining, The Daily Signal (1 Sept. 2014), available at at (1 Sept. 2014).

The correlation between same-sex marriage and abortion suggests that now that same-sex marriage has been declared a constitutionally-protected right in the United States, we can expect to see more same-sex marriages.  Correspondingly, as past data suggests that abortions and same-sex marriages are associated, we also can expect to see an increase in the numbers, rates and ratios of abortions.  That would mean that after more than thirty years, the era of the steady decline of abortion will abruptly end.

Perhaps other factors will disrupt the historic connection between same-sex marriages and abortions.  However, if nothing else, these sobering data must cause pro-life citizens and scholars to recognize that the abortion culture is impacted by many variables and that developments in areas of human behavior that we may not at first associate with abortion (such as same-sex marriage) may have profound, detrimental impacts upon the culture of life and may further stimulate and advance the culture of death and abortion.

by Lynn D. Wardle, 6 July 2015

Lynn Wardle