Conservative Lawyer Gene Schaerr Argues That Marriage Equality Will Lead To Spike In Abortion Rates

Sherwood Howard, right, and Nevada State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson hold hands before they get married outside of the Marriage Lice
Sherwood Howard, right, and Nevada State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson hold hands before they get married outside of the Marriage License Bureau, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in Las Vegas. The two had just obtained a same-sex marriage license and were the first same-sex couple married in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

A conservative, Washington D.C.-based attorney is making headlines after linking same-sex marriage to abortion rates in a bizarre blog post.

Gene Schaerr, who specializes in constitutional and appellate litigation, is perhaps best known for defending same-sex marriage ban in Utah and Idaho, and is a former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Now, as The Washington Post points out, he's filed an amicus brief on behalf of "100 scholars of marriage" asking the Supreme Court not to recognize same-sex marriage as a constitutional right.

Schaerr makes his controversial claims in an April 17 editorial that appeared on the conservative Heritage Foundation's news site, The Daily Signal. It reads, in part:

A reduction in the opposite-sex marriage rate means an increase in the percentage of women who are unmarried and who, according to all available data, have much higher abortion rates than married women. And based on past experience, institutionalizing same-sex marriage poses an enormous risk of reduced opposite-sex marriage rates.

Claiming that opposite-sex marriage rates have declined in the time that same-sex marriage has been recognized across many states and abroad, he implies that up to 900,000 children could be aborted as a result of their mothers never marrying, and continues:

In short, forcing states to convert the traditional gendered marriage institution into a genderless institution will very likely reduce man-woman marriages by undermining some of the norms that encourage heterosexual couples to marry, which will in turn increase the number of unmarried women and, hence, the number of children aborted.

It is one thing for the people of a state to subject themselves and their children to that risk through democratic processes. It would be quite another for the Supreme Court to subject a states’ citizens to that risk, against their will.

Contrary to Schaerr's claims, marriage rates across the U.S. have dropped overall, even in states without same-sex marriage legislation, The Washington Post reported in September 2014.



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