State Abortion Bans Result In 32,000 More Babies Born A Year, Research Shows

Births have increased in every state with an abortion ban.
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES - MAY 17: Premature newborn hand in the Neonatal Intesive Care Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on May 17, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. The Neonatal care unit at Westmead Children's Hospital specialized in specialy care for newborns. (Photo by Jennifer Polixenni Brankin/Getty Images)
Jennifer Polixenni Brankin/Getty Images

New state abortion bans are resulting in tens of thousands more babies being born per year, a new analysis of the data shows.

About 32,000 more babies were born per year due to state abortion bans enacted since Roe v. Wade was overturned, according to an analysis published Friday by the Institute of Labor Economics. Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, was overturned in June last year.

Births have increased in every state that has an abortion ban, the analysis found, using birth data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stretching from 2005 to June.

Between a fifth and a fourth of women living in the 14 states with abortion bans who otherwise may have had an abortion did not get one, data from the first six months of this year shows.

An average of 2.3% more babies were born in states with abortion bans compared to states without bans, the analysis shows.

Nationwide however, the number of legal abortions has remained about the same, even increased slightly, since the Supreme Court’s decision last year. This is likely due to new clinics opening in states without bans and more ways to order abortion pills online.

The groups that saw the biggest increase in births were women in their 20s, black women, and Hispanic women. These groups tend to be less able to afford to travel out of state for an abortion, the researchers said, and they are more likely to seek abortions.

Driving distances to abortion clinics had a significant effect — the greater the increase in the driving distance, the bigger the spike in the birth rate.

Texas saw a 5.1% spike compared to states that had similar birth trends but did not pass an abortion ban. The average increase in driving distance to the nearest abortion clinic was 453 miles after Texas passed its ban.


Mississippi had a 4.4% increase in births, and the driving distance there increased by an average of 240 miles.

Abortion pills ordered online also appeared to drive down the birth rate in certain states with bans. Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana had big increases in orders for abortion pills from Aid Access, a major overseas abortion pill provider. Researchers had expected the birth rate to jump higher than it did in those states.

“The insinuation of a lot of coverage of such data points is that it’s a bad thing for there to be more children welcomed in states with better laws than in states that fast-track abortion,” Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, told The New York Times.

“It’s a triumph that pro-life policies result in lives saved,” she said.

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