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Study reveals major abortion ban impact on US birth rates

Approximately 32,000 more babies were born in the US as a result of abortion bans in restrictive states ever since the overturning of Roe v Wade last year.

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and Middlebury College, births rose by an average of 2.3 per cent in states with total abortion bans in the first six months following the June 2022 Supreme Court decision. That number was compared to states with protected abortion rights.

The data is based on preliminary birth numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, released last week, has not been peer-reviewed.

A total abortion ban means that the procedure is not allowed under any circumstances or with limited exceptions.

States with the most restrictive abortion bans include West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, South Dakota, North Dakota and Idaho, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Researchers did not include Texas in the 2.3 per cent increase because the state managed to effectively ban abortion 10 months prior to the Supreme Court decision.

On its own, the study found that births in the state had increased by 5.1 per cent following the ruling.

Though the demographics varied from state to state, the study indicated that the bans predominantly impacted Hispanic and Black women and women aged 20 to 24, with more births occurring in states that bordered other restrictive locations, resulting in pregnant people needing to travel longer distances for care.

For example, the number of births were particularly high in Texas and Mississippi, which saw a 4.4 percent rise in births, according to the report. Both states border other restrictive states.

Abortions could cost up to thousands of dollars when factoring in child care, travel, time taken off work and the cost of the procedure itself.

Roughly one-fifth to one-fourth of people seeking abortions did not obtain them due to bans, the study found, even though requests for mail-order medication abortions shot up.

Previous research from the Guttmacher Institute has found that medication abortions make up more than half of all abortions in the US.

Despite the increase in births, other data has suggested that abortions in the months following the Supreme Court ruling increased.

According to #WeCount, a national abortion reporting organisation, there were 2,200 additional abortions from July 2022 to June 2023, when compared to the year prior.