Post-Dobbs US Birthrate Up 2.3%, Study Finds

32,000 lives saved!

By Published on November 29, 2023

Pro-life state laws have saved an estimated 32,000 babies’ lives, new research claims.  

Since the June 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization returned decision-making on laws regulating abortion to the people and their elected representatives, aggregated data reveals increased fertility rates in states that have since outlawed or sharply restricted abortion

The research was conducted by economists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and at Middlebury College in Vermont. The researchers compared birthrates between states that restrict and allow abortion.

Dobbs “sparked the most profound transformation of abortion access in 50 years,” according to the study, “The Effects of the Dobbs Decision on Fertility,” published by the Institute of Labor Economics, a Germany-based nonprofit economic research network. “The results indicate that states with abortion bans experienced an average increase in births of 2.3 percent, relative to states where abortion was not restricted.”

The researchers estimated the effects of abortion bans on fertility rates using data from states with abortion bans in the first half of 2023. “These effects also vary substantially across ban states, with much larger effects observed in states that are bordered by other ban states and hence have long travel distances to reach facilities that remain open,” according to the study. 

Where distance to a state with legal abortion increased, the fertility rate was even higher. Texas, noted for its size, and bordering other states with abortion bans, saw a 5.1% increase in estimated births, the research showed.

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As of Nov. 7, 14 states had banned abortion, with some exceptions for cases of rape or incest, or to preserve the life of the mother, and seven states have restricted it after a certain gestational age ranging from six to 18 weeks, The New York Times reported.  

Alison Gemmill, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told CNN that fertility rates “don’t typically change dramatically,” so “the fact that there is a signal at the population level means that something’s really going on [with abortion bans].” 

In their discussion, the researchers estimate that 20% to 25% of women seeking abortions “did not receive them due to bans.” 

“We should celebrate these thousands of precious, irreplaceable lives who are with us today,” Melanie Israel, policy analyst in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family of The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in a written statement. “Pro-life laws save lives, and policymakers at every level of government should continue building on the momentum to protect women and unborn children from the violence of abortion.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

 

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