Justin doesn’t give his source, so perhaps I’m missing something. But as far as I can tell the USA only has a lower abortion rate than Sweden’s using the CDC’s numbers, which undercount abortions significantly. The Alan Guttmacher Institute (which surveys abortion providers directly, for a more accurate count) reports that the USA had an abortion rate of 21 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 2000. In contrast, Sweden’s abortion rate in 1999 was 18 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44.
So unless we use a statistical source known for undercounting US abortions, Sweden has a lower abortion rate than the USA.
Even if Justin were correct about Sweden (perhaps he has a more recent data source that I don’t know about), that would only make Sweden the exception to the rule. The Netherlands – which are also very gay-friendly – has the lowest abortion rate of any country in the world (6.5 per 1,000) – much, much lower than in the USA. Belgium has extremely pro-gay laws and an abortion rate nearly as low as The Netherlands (6.8 per 1,000). The other countries in the world with gay-marriage or marriage-lite laws – Germany (7.6), Denmark (16.1), Norway (15.6), France (12.4), and Canada (15.5) – all have significantly lower abortion rates than the USA (and also lower than most countries in the world).
Meanwhile, Eastern Europe – the least gay-friendly place in the developed world – has an incredibly high abortion rate: 90 abortions per 1,000 women age 15-44. Overall, it’s clear that gay-friendly countries have fewer abortions.
Of course, correlation is not causation; it seems unlikely that gay-friendly laws cause lower abortion rates. My theory is that more sexually liberal attitudes are associated with both gay-friendly laws and widespread use of contraceptives, which would account for the correlation. (A relatively generous safety net for unwed mothers probably also lowers demand for abortion in Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands).
It’s also notable that in recent years, as the laws in the USA have become significantly more gay-friendly, abortion rates here have declined.