With Roe v. Wade Overturned, Abortions Are Declining
In the wake of the monumental Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade, we’re beginning to see the tangible impact of pro-life legislation across the United States. The latest figures are in, and they’re a testament to the relentless efforts of the pro-life movement. According to reports from 32 states, there were 424,242 legal abortions in 2022, marking a decrease of 31,951 from the previous year. This significant drop in abortion numbers is a clear indication that state laws protecting life, whether at conception, heartbeat detection, or post-first trimester, are making a difference.
However, it’s crucial to recognize the disparity in abortion policies across the nation. States like California, New Mexico, and New York, which haven’t yet reported their 2022 totals, are known for their pro-abortion stance, actively encouraging out-of-state women to seek abortions. In contrast, states like Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, and Washington, neighboring pro-life regions, have shared their data, giving us a clearer picture of the effects of cross-state travel on abortion rates.
The data from 2022 indicates an 8% decrease in the abortion rate across these 32 states. This rate, which assesses the number of women of reproductive age undergoing abortions, suggests a trend where fewer women are choosing abortion, despite the availability of out-of-state options. This aligns with findings from the Institute of Labor Economics, which reported an increase of 32,000 births in states with pro-life laws.
The pattern is unmistakable: states enforcing pro-life laws, such as heartbeat or life-at-conception legislation, experienced a downturn in abortions. On the other hand, states permitting abortions at 15 weeks or later saw an uptick in numbers, with Vermont being the sole exception, showing a decrease even with its permissive abortion laws.
The most significant reduction was observed in Texas, with a staggering 33,572 fewer abortions. Nine other states also reported declines exceeding 1,500 abortions. Florida’s situation is particularly noteworthy. Despite enforcing a 15-week limit since July 2022, its abortion numbers increased by 2,700, likely due to neighboring states like Alabama and Georgia adopting more stringent laws.
Florida’s response? The enactment of the Heartbeat Protection Act in 2023 by Governor Ron DeSantis, aiming to fortify the state’s pro-life stance. Conversely, Kansas, despite its history of pro-life legislation, allows abortions up to 22 weeks and saw an increase of over 4,000 abortions, primarily from residents of Oklahoma and Texas. This underscores the profound impact a constitutional right to abortion can have on a state’s ability to enact strong pro-life laws.
Despite progress, challenges remain for pro-lifers. The Biden administration’s lawlessness, exemplified by the illegal performance of abortions at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities in pro-life states and facilitating out-of-state elective abortions for service members, stands as one hurdle. Additionally, pro-abortion states are blatantly defying federal and state laws by distributing chemical abortion pills across pro-life states and offering legal protection to dubious abortion providers.
Fortunately, two pivotal cases at the U.S. Supreme Court could address these critical issues. One case scrutinizes whether the Food and Drug Administration can prioritize politics over science by permitting women to receive hazardous chemical abortion pills by mail without a physician’s consultation. The other case involves the Biden administration’s attempt to manipulate an old law, intended to ensure emergency room screenings, into a mandate for pro-life states to perform so-called lifesaving abortions. However, the law’s stipulation for screening both pregnant women and their unborn children negates its use as an abortion mandate.
The state-level abortion data post-Dobbs confirms the efficacy of pro-life laws. The year 2023 saw more states enact and enforce new pro-life legislation, and 2024 must become the year of upholding the rule of law and ensuring quality healthcare for women and their unborn children. The journey continues, and the fight for life must persist with renewed vigor and commitment.