The Supreme Court’s anticipated repatriation of Roe v. Wade and the abortion rights it provided threaten to hold back the economic and educational progress American women have made over the past 49 years.
The right to abortion has improved women’s ability to obtain higher education. He has increased his lifetime earnings. And they have given women greater long-term financial stability.
The Supreme Court is well aware of these benefits. A group of 154 economists and researchers briefly exposed them to the court as part of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Program case, which looks at abortion restrictions enforced in Mississippi. But the court apparently plans to ignore these benefits and roll them back in a ruling anticipated in June that would end the constitutional right to abortion.
Discussions about reproductive rights are often framed as part of a “culture war” between religious conservatives and secular liberals over non-material concerns. A leaked draft majority opinion in the case, written by Justice Samuel Alito, largely focused on a (questionable) history of abortion law, in an effort to show that legal abortion is not “deeply rooted” in the country’s “history and tradition”. Is. Argument for reversing the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
But as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen noted earlier this week, abortion rights are also an economic issue.
Evidence of women’s economic benefits after the national legalization of abortion in 1973 can be found in the Economists’ Court-of-the-Court (amicus cura) filed in the Supreme Court in the Dobbs case. Briefly describe the findings of causal inference studies conducted since Roe’s decision to show positive economic impacts on women’s lives.
“Studies show that in addition to affecting births, abortion legalization has had a significant impact on women’s pay and educational attainment, with the effects felt most strongly by black women,” the brief states.
According to a 1996 research paper, black teen women who had access to abortion services graduated from high school at a 22% to 24% higher rate and 23% to 27% more college than those black teen women. who could not access those services. by economists Joshua Angrist and William Evans.
Follow-up studies found similar gains in women’s educational attainment and professional success.
According to one report, young women who delayed having a child by a year because of miscarriage eventually saw an 11% increase in hourly wages. 2019 Study by economist Ali Abbood
Similarly, there was a nearly 20% increase in the odds of graduating from college and a 40% increase in the likelihood of entering a professional field, according to those who had a miscarriage after an unintended pregnancy. a 2021 study by economist Kelly Jones.
According to Jones’ study, earnings for young women who miscarry after an unintended pregnancy before age 20 increase from $11,000 to $15,000 a year later. While the finding shows a positive improvement for all young women, the economic impact of access to abortion for young black women is “striking,” according to Jones’ study.
Young black women who had an abortion after an unexpected pregnancy at ages 15 to 23 saw their personal income increase from $23,200 to $28,000 a year and their family income from $48,000 to $52,000 a year.
also short quotes turnaway study, a well-known research paper on the various outcomes of women who were able to access abortion services and who were returned to a clinic after being banned from obtaining abortions by law in their home state. The study found that the average woman who turned away from getting an abortion saw a 78% increase in “pre-payable debt” and an 81% increase in “public records related to bankruptcy, eviction, and court decisions.”
“The financial impacts of being denied an abortion are thus greater or greater than those of being displaced, losing health insurance, hospitalized, or exposed to floods,” summarizes the Turnaway Study’s findings. ,
If the Supreme Court overturns the row next month, 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortions immediately. This means that millions of women across the country will no longer have access to the abortion services that these material economic benefits have provided over the past 49 years. It will hit the poorest and most economically at risk women and their children. Nearly half of women seeking abortions are poor, 59% already have children and 55% have experienced a recent “disruptive life event”, such as a job loss or a death in the family.
“The causal conjecture tells us that abortion legalization has profoundly changed women’s lives,” said the Economist’s amicus curiae. “But those changes are neither sufficient nor permanent: access to abortion is still relevant and necessary for women’s equal and full participation in society.”