Dobbs Decision that Overturned Roe v Wade Saved 32,000 Lives, Study Finds

30 November 2023

2.5 MINS

In the year since the Dobbs decision overturned Roe v Wade, over 30,000 babies were born that would otherwise have been aborted, says a new study.

June 24, 2022, was a momentous day for the pro-life movement. On that day, the US Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that ruled that abortion was a constitutional right.

Instead, the Supreme Court in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision ruled that the substantive right to abortion was not “deeply rooted in this nation’s history or tradition”.

Saving Life

Those in the pro-life movement continue to praise the Dobbs decision. As a result of states banning/restricting abortion (which previously they could not do), lives will be saved.

But until now, there has been no real-world data to show the impact of the June 24 ruling.

However, that has now changed with the release of a new study that examined birth rates in the USA since the Dobbs decision.

Titled “The Effects of the Dobbs Decision on Fertility”, and authored by researchers with an unashamedly pro-abortion worldview, the study compared figures from states that have banned or restricted abortion with states that have legalised it.

The study based its findings on data recently released by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC collected and released fertility and birth statistics for the first six months of 2023.

This time period is significant because it comes at least six months after the Dobbs June 2022 decision. This means it reflects the decisions of people living under new laws passed in some states.

Study Findings

The study notes that as “of November 1, 2023, 14 states are enforcing bans on abortion in nearly all circumstances”. In addition, other states are enforcing bans at early stages of gestation.

The researchers compared birth rates before and after the Dobbs decision. Unsurprisingly, there was statistically significant increase in birth rate in states where abortion has been restricted/banned. The authors state,

“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.”

What this means in real numbers is that in the year since the Dobbs decision, there have been “32,000 additional annual births resulting from abortion bans.”

The study also claims that “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.”

The researchers point to data from Texas, which saw the largest increase in the birth rate at 5.1 percent. Texas borders other states with abortion bans. This means that those seeking a termination need to travel further distances to states where abortion is legal. In Texas, the distance to locate an abortion provider has increased by 730 km.

Across the USA, “23 percent of U.S. women of reproductive age have experienced an increase in driving distance to the nearest abortion facility, from an average of 43 miles [70 km] one-way before Dobbs to 330 miles [530 km] at present.”

The authors conclude that this “represents the most profound transformation of the landscape of U.S. abortion access in 50 years”.

In an email to the New York Times, Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America wrote, “It’s a triumph that pro-life policies result in lives saved.”

There’s a Long Way to Go

One in five conceptions currently end in an abortion in the USA. So, there is still a long way to go before “abortion is unthinkable” in America and other countries around the world.

Yet this recently released study is cause for celebration. With pro-life legislation passed in a number of states in the USA, it shows what is possible.

The pro-life movement must continue to advocate for a broad range of pro-family (including adoption and family financial assistance) and pro-human solutions and policies from conception to a person’s final breath.

When this happens – as was already known before this new study – life wins.


Image by Pixabay.

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One Comment

  1. Jim Twelves 30 November 2023 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Sam, brilliant subject! Thank you so much or bringing this to us, great reporting!

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