Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Explain: Economics of abortion

Last week, the US Supreme Court took away the constitutional right to abortion. It did so by ruling on another called “Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization,” which hinges on the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi (which is a state in the US) law that prohibits women from having abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The 15-week time frame was important for the whole issue as it was below the 22-23-week benchmark, which is often regarded as the time frame after which an embryo is viable, or capable of surviving outside the womb. it happens.

On June 24, the US Supreme Court decided to end the half-century-old right to abortion granted by a 1973 Supreme Court decision in the Roe v. Wade case. (source: Associated Press)

In “Row We Weed” (1973), the SC allowed abortion up to 28 weeks, while this limit was lowered to the viability of the fetus (which, with advances in medicine, became 22 weeks), Called “Planned Parenthood V”. Casey ”(1992).

In fact, the SC overruled both the “Ro” and “KC” decisions.

Oddly, the issue of abortion was not very political when it was in 1973 when the Supreme Court first ruled in favor of allowing it in a “cry”. But over the years, it has been increasingly politicised. In fact, “roe” has been reversed mainly because the US is dominated by “conservative” judges compared to current SC liberals.

Legalized abortion is already a complex issue that is made even more complicated when viewed through the emotional lens of religious and social dogma as well as political opportunism.

Explain: Economics of abortionAbortion rights activists gather to protest in Manhattan on Friday, June 24, 2022. (Gina Moon/The New York Times)

“We end this opinion where we started. Abortion presents a deeply moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogantly assert that right. We now set aside those decisions and return that right to the people and their elected representatives,” the SC order said.

This week’s ExplainSpeaking looks at the economic effects of “Roe” (which allowed women to have abortions in America).

an affair

In 2005, author Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner took the world by storm with his book called “Freakonomics”. He begins his book by telling the bizarre story of the crime rate in America. Be it carjacking or crack dealing, robberies, rapes or murders, the crime graph in America skyrocketed in the early 1990s. In 1995, “criminal expert James Allen Fox wrote a report for the U.S. Attorney General that critically detailed the impending rise in homicides by teenagers,” he says. There was so much crime and that too by juveniles that President Clinton reportedly said: “We know we have about six years to turn this juvenile delinquency or our country is going to live with chaos. And My successors will not give speeches about the wonderful opportunities of the global economy; they will try to put body and soul together for the people on the streets of these cities.”

But then, instead of going up, crime began to decline, and so rapidly that by 2000, all crimes from murder to theft fell to nearly 3-4-decade lows. Some rationalized this inexplicable turn of events by pointing to a rapidly growing economy. Others attribute strict gun laws. Others still believed that police strategies had improved.

Explain: Economics of abortionProtesters gather at The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park to protest the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade on June 24, 2022 in Houston. (Mary D. De Jess/Houston Chronicle via Associated Press)

But Levitt and Dubner revealed a startling answer: “Perhaps the most dramatic effect of legalized abortion, and one that would take years to reveal itself, was its effect on crime. The first group of children born after V. Wade were hitting the final years of their teen years – the year during which youth enter their criminal major – crime rates began to fall. What this group lacked, of course, was It was the children who were most likely to become criminals. And the crime rate continued to decline as entire generations fell short of children whose mothers did not want to bring a child into the world. Legalized abortion reduced unwantedness; Incidence higher crime Therefore, legalized abortion has reduced crimes.”

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The point is, no matter what one takes on abortion, Roe’s decision has a huge impact on crime rates as far-fetched as they are.

But this raises two questions:

1> Is it only a matter of correlation and not causation?

2> What are the other socio-economic implications of allowing abortion?

Causality, not just correlation

Background research for the Freakonomics claim was conducted by lead authors Levitt (Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago) and John Donohue (Professor of Law, Stanford University). Donohue is one of 154 economists who argued in favor of retaining Row during the Dobbs case. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Donohue doubled down on his findings. In the WSJ story, Prof. “Now that we have 20 years of data, this is a statistically significant finding,” Donohue said.

Clearly, much has changed since 1973 or 1992 when it comes to economists’ ability to detect the difference between correlation and causation.

In fact, last year the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to three economists for exactly this progress. read this explained piece to know more. MIT’s Joshua De Angrist, one of the 2021 winners, is responsible for one of the most frequently cited abortion research.

The fact that a handful of states – namely Alaska, California, Hawaii, New York and Washington – had liberalized abortion in 1970, three years before the 1973 rule, was a “natural being” for economists such as Angrist to study the effect. experiment” provided.

Many studies before and after Angrist’s work looked at this issue, and more and more often they come to stronger and more significant conclusions in favor of how abortion positively affected the status of women. .

As far as the causal effect of Roe (or legalizing abortion) is concerned, Amici Curiae. overview of Economists (154 of them) provide a large amount of information in support of Roe. There are other sources like this A review of the evidence compiled by the Women’s Policy Research Institute.

Effect of crying on birth rate

According to a 1999 study, “Rowe We Wade and American Fertility,” by Philip B. Levine et al., legalization of abortion alone—independent of other factors such as contraception—reduced birth rates from 4% to 11%.

Impact on young women and black women

While the reduction in birth rates due to abortion legalization helped women, studies show that two groups—young women and black women—benefit most.

“For young women, the projected reduction in birth rates due to abortion legalization was three times greater than for all women. Legalization of abortion, particularly giving young women the ability to obtain an abortion without parental consent With the policies, there is a 34% reduction in adolescent motherhood and a 20% reduction in adolescent marriages,” the brief stated.

The studies also found that for black women, the estimated reduction in birth rates was two to three times greater than for white women. In addition, black women also experienced a 28 to 40% drop in maternal mortality due to legalization.

Impact on the social and economic life of women

Angrist’s study found that “black teenage women have a 22 to 24 percent increase in their chances of graduating high school and 23 to 27 percent more likely to attend college”. Studies also show that abortion legalization has had a major impact on women’s education, labor force participation, occupations and earnings. These effects were particularly strong among black women.

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“For example, one such study showed that young women who used legal abortion to delay the unplanned start of motherhood by only one year experienced an 11% increase in hourly wages later in their careers.” Another found that, for young women who experienced an unintended pregnancy, access to abortion increased their chances of finishing college by about 20 percentage points, and the likelihood that they did by about 40 percentage points. entered a professional occupation,” economists said before the SC.. Again, these effects were greater among black women.

Studies have also detected long-lasting downstream effects as children of the Roe age grow into adulthood. One such study found that as these children became adults, they had higher rates of college graduation, lower rates of single parents, and lower rates of welfare receipt. Another showed that abortion legalization in the 1970s continued to reduce births to unmarried teenage women in the early 1990s.

What about evidence outside the US?

While all of these findings are from the US, the international evidence is similar.

As reviewed by the Women’s Policy Research Institute: “Many findings from other country contexts are similar to those in the United States: higher education attainment among women with increased access to abortion, worse outcomes for children as a result of restricted abortion access, and Reduce women’s labor market participation with increased fertility.”

What is the probability of happening now that the row has been reversed?

In their presentation before the Supreme Court, 154 economists who supported Roe pointed out some glaring facts.

One, “Studies show that up to the point of parenthood, the earnings of men and women develop equally. But as parents, their earnings change rapidly: Mothers experience an immediate and consistent one-third drop in expected earnings, while fathers’ earnings remain largely unaffected.

The inability to get an abortion will put pressure on women’s economic prospects in America.

Second, “nearly 49% of women seeking abortions are poor, 75% are low-income, 59% already have children, and 55% have experienced the recent death of a close friend or family member, such as a job loss.” have reported a disruptive life event. The termination of a relationship with a partner, or overdue rent or mortgage obligations. In other words, the ban on abortion is likely to affect women who are already in worse shape.

To get a glimpse of what can happen to women if abortions are denied, many economists point to the so-called “Turnway Study”.

The Turnaway Study is a longitudinal study that focuses on the financial consequences for women who cannot get the abortion they wanted. It compared women who arrived at an abortion facility just before the gestational age cut-off and were able to receive an abortion – the “near-range group” – with women who arrived and turned away just before this cut-off – “Turnaway Group.”

The study found that “at the same time where one group received an abortion and the other group was turned away, the turnaway group began to experience substantial financial distress relative to the near-range group, as in the subsequent five years.” In the turnaway group, the average woman experienced a 78% increase in past due debt and an 81% increase in public records related to bankruptcy, evictions and court decisions.

The study found that “the financial impacts of being denied an abortion are thus greater or greater than those of being evicted, losing health insurance, hospitalized, or being exposed to floods due to hurricanes.”

The issue of abortion is complex because different people make decisions about it for very different reasons. The test, of course, is to be consistent in one’s thinking.

Nation World News Desk
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