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Fall of Roe will have immediate economic ramifications, experts say


The U.S. will see devastating economic consequences from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, experts warned on Friday.

Why it matters: The landmark Turnaway Study found that women who have to carry an unwanted pregnancy were four times as likely to struggle with poverty years later. Raising a child costs over $230,000 on average, according to the Department of Agriculture.

What they’re saying: “This decision will cause immediate economic pain in 26 states where abortion bans are most likely and where people already face lower wages, less worker power, and limited access to health care. The fall of Roe will be an additional economic barricade,” Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute, said in a statement.

  • “Abortion rights are economic rights, and this decision means the loss of economic security, independence, and mobility for abortion seekers. Low- and middle-income people, especially Black and Brown women, will bear the brunt of the impact.”
  • “On the heels of the most recent economic downturn, where women experienced tremendous job and income losses compared to men, the Supreme Court decision makes it more difficult for women to regain their economic footing and to plan for their futures,” C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, said in a statement.
  • “Further, the lack of access to the full range of reproductive health care services in the states, including abortion care, will have a devastating effect on women’s short-and-long-term earnings and income, job security and career advancement, and increase the likelihood they will become impoverished.”

The big picture: In an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court last year, 154 economists wrote that there is “a substantial body of well developed and credible research that shows that abortion legalization and access in the United States has had — and continues to have — a significant effect on birth rates as well as broad downstream social and economic effects, including on women’s educational attainment and job opportunities.”

  • The brief pointed to studies showing that abortion access boosts women’s participation in the workforce, and that young women who used legal abortion to delay an unplanned start to motherhood saw an 11% increase in hourly wages later in their careers.
  • A woman’s income would drop by 4%, however, every time she gives birth to or adopts a child — the “motherhood penalty,” the left-leaning think tank Third Way found.
  • Another study estimates that state-level abortion restrictions cost state economies $105 billion dollars every year. Health experts have warned that such bans will also increase maternal mortality rates.
  • Abortions have been on the rise since 2017.

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