Pro-life advocates rejoiced when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022, but it was only just this month that they learned how many lives have likely been saved by the ruling thus far, as Fox News reports.
According to a study published this month by the Institute of Labor Economics, approximately 32,000 babies have been brought into the world who would otherwise have been lost to abortion – an outcome owing in large part to the high court's decision in the Dobbs. v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case.
The study noted that babies referenced in the data were born in states where at least some type of restrictions on abortion access were in effect, a scenario which became more common in the aftermath of Dobbs, which sent the issue of abortion back to individual states.
Explaining the methodology behind their conclusions, the study's authors stated, “Our primary analysis indicates that in the first six months of 2023, births rose by an average of 2.3% in states enforcing total abortion bans compared to a control group of states where abortion rights remained protected, amounting to approximately 32,000 additional annual births resulting from abortion bans.”
Referencing preliminary annual birth data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study declared the development to be the “most profound transformation of the landscape of U.S. abortion access in 50 years.”
Since Roe was overturned, the question of abortion has turned to the states, where divergent approaches can be seen across the country.
At present, 14 states have near-total bans of the procedure in place, and the states of Georgia and South Carolina ban abortions beyond approximately six weeks gestation, as the Guardian notes.
In several other states, the fate of abortion access remains an open question, with the Florida Supreme Court poised to determine whether a six-week ban signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis will indeed to into effect.
The authors of the aforementioned study noted that as of the start of November, 23% of American woman of child-bearing age have seen an increase in the distance they would need to drive in order to reach the closest abortion provider.
Prior to the Dobbs ruling, the study notes, the average one-way distance to be traveled stood at 43 miles, whereas now, it is 330 miles.
While many commentators who have written about the study's results seem to do so with a tone of disapproval about that fact, others view the broader shift as a highly positive change.
The study's findings with regard to the number of babies born due to the Dobbs decision are, according to Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, a “triumph that pro-life policies results in lives saved.”
Hawkins added, “The insinuation of a lot of coverage of such data points is that it's a bad thing for there to be more children welcomed in states with better laws than in states that fast-track abortion,” a take evidenced by Alison Gemmill of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who declared the figures to be the result of “an assault on reproductive autonomy.”
Though the researchers behind the analysis opine that “diminished abortion access poses a risk to the health and financial stability” of a “vulnerable population” of women, pro-life advocates would surely counter by noting that unfettered availability of the procedure presents a far greater risk to unborn human beings who deserve their chance at life.