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Study gives a first look at abortion numbers since overturn of Roe

Patient waiting for an abortion

Parilov | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 11/24/23

Researchers think greater distance to get abortions is one factor that brought a rise in births.
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In a first study of its kind, researchers found that there was a rise in births following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States.

Every state that banned abortion after the US Supreme Court issued its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June 2022 saw an increase in the number of babies born.

Births to Black and Hispanic Americans rose in particular, as did births to women in states such as Texas and Mississippi, where it was more difficult to travel to a nearby state that permitted abortions. 

“By comparing birth statistics in states before and after the bans passed, researchers estimated that the laws caused around 32,000 annual births, based on the first six months of 2023, a relatively small increase that was in line with overall expectations,” The New York Times reported

The Institute of Labor Economics last week published the study by Daniel Dench, an economist at Georgia Tech; Mayra Pineda-Torres of Georgia Tech, and Caitlin Myers of Middlebury College. It found that between one-fifth and one-fourth of women living in states with bans — who may have otherwise sought an abortion — did not get one, The Times said. Births increased an average of 2.3% in states with bans compared to states where abortion remained legal. Fourteen states currently ban abortion. 

“The importance of our results is when you take away access, it can affect fertility,” said Dench. “When you make it harder, women can’t always get out of states to obtain abortion.”

Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, commented on the study, telling The Times, “It’s a triumph that pro-life policies result in lives saved.”

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