Post-Roe Reduction in Abortions

FiveThirtyEight has an article up on the change in abortion rates in the U.S. following the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The most significant information is found in these paragraphs.

That topline number conceals an enormous amount of fluctuation between states. In all states that saw declines in their abortion numbers — which include the 15 states in which abortion was banned or severely limited over the summer — the number of abortions fell by about 22,000. Some of those women appear to have traveled out of state, because in other states, the number of abortions rose by an aggregate of about 12,000. 

But nationwide, the movement of abortions from states with bans and restrictions to those with fewer restrictions on access wasn’t enough to make up the shortfall. Between April and August, the number of abortions declined by 6 percent, and it’s likely that the decline in abortions represents thousands of women who sought abortions illegally or didn’t get one at all. If these trends persist, there could be at least 60,000 fewer abortions in the next year as a result of the Dobbs decision (emphasis added).

Banning abortion reduces abortion. In fact, banning abortion is proving to be the single greatest tool for reducing abortion. For years there were evangelicals and conservatives who argued that overturning Roe was not a good use of energy, that there are more effective means of reducing abortion besides banning it. Even after the Dobbs decision I heard pro-lifers talk about how it would be counterproductive and not the best approach.

Dobbs has directly led to a 10% decrease in abortions in the United States, even as abortion is still legal in a majority of states with the majority of the population. That is easily the single greatest drop in abortions in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade. There will be illegal abortions, and people will travel to states where it remains legal to procure them, but the more abortion is banned, the less it will occur. Banning it on the state level should become the top strategic priority of the pro-life movement.

For those who think that 60,000-a-year number represents a repressive injustice, I suggest waiting until 2040 and listening to the interviews with 60,000 18-year olds who would have otherwise been killed.