Economic toll of a Roe reversal is ‘potentially devastating,’ advocates say

Parker Dockray has listened to budget commitments before: is cash intended for groceries, bills, or rent? Or do you pay for an abortion?

He has heard a flurry of ideas about what can be sold quickly, such as furniture or electronics, to pay for abortion.

She has listened to parents who already know the costs of raising a child (financially, temporally, emotionally and career-wise) and say it is a commitment they are not prepared to make.

“It takes a week to save $ 200 and then the procedure is $ 200 more expensive, so you’re stuck in the same place,” said Dockray, executive director of All-Options, a national organization with services that include a line of conversation to help pregnant women. with the steps they believe best. This could be support for parenting, adoption or abortion.

The nonprofit also has the only state abortion fund in Indiana, with an annual budget of about $ 100,000. In the applications it can fill, Dockray said, the fund pays an average of $ 270. Out-of-pocket costs for the procedure alone can cost between $ 500 and $ 900 for those not traveling outside of Indiana, which has several abortion restrictions in place.

Access to abortion and affordability are already a challenge for many women, although Roe v.

But the Conservative majority in the Supreme Court appears willing to overturn the ruling and leave decisions on access to abortion in the hands of state lawmakers and voters, according to a leaked draft opinion. More than 20 states already have statutes governing access to abortion, and many have “activating laws” in place to ban abortion if Roe. it is overturned.

If access to abortion becomes a state-by-state issue, “I think the reality is that people with money will travel; they’ll find care elsewhere,” Dockray said. Some top corporations already say they will pay for travel expenses.

But paid work may not be the reality for many women considering abortion. Nearly half of abortion patients lived below the poverty line in 2014, and another quarter were at or near this point, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank that supports access to abortion.

Indiana’s private health insurance and state exchange plans, established through the Affordable Care Act, only cover abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life-threatening, or risk of seriously compromising women’s health, the organization said. The Hyde Amendment also restricts federal funding for abortions for those enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare, the Indian Health Service and the Child Health Insurance Program, although 16 states use their own funds for abortions. abortions under Medicaid.

The average out-of-pocket charge for drug abortion, now estimated to account for more than half of all abortions in the United States, rose from $ 495 to $ 560 between 2017 and 2020, according to research published last month. in Health Affairs magazine. Average abortion charges in the first trimester increased from $ 475 to $ 575, while abortion charges in the second trimester decreased from $ 935 to $ 895. The proportion of clinics that accept insurance was reduced from 89% to 80%.

Read more: The next battle against abortion could be for the pills

Dockray estimates that All-Options has raised at least $ 50,000 from about 700 donors, most of them making small dollar promises, since Politico told the story about the Supreme Court’s draft opinion.

If the draft decision becomes the end result, Dockray expects more women to call organizations like hers, and they need more money to cover higher costs, with more widespread financial consequences for some of the women than not. they aborted. The potential toll “is difficult to quantify, but it is quite intense,” he said.

“Our research provides strong evidence that such restrictions will have long-term negative effects on women’s financial and economic well-being.”

—New York University Professor Laura Wherry

Economists and abortion rights advocates have published estimates of the financial consequences of a world with and without Roe, especially for low-income women and women of color. Advocates against abortion, meanwhile, say these estimates are exaggerated and cannot be traced back to access to abortion.

There is “a substantial body of well-developed and credible research that shows that legalization and access to abortion in the United States has had, and continues to have, a significant effect on birth rates, as well as social and social effects. economic opportunities, including in women’s education. “achievements and job opportunities” 15 weeks.

The brief points to the findings of several studies, including one that found that women who ended an unplanned pregnancy had an 11% increase in wages per hour later. With access to abortion, women in another study increased their chances of finishing college by almost 20% and increased their chances of getting a job by 40%. The effects were especially pronounced among black women, the authors said.

See also: Opinion: If the Supreme Court’s plan to reverse Roe is child-friendly, where is the aid to alleviate the costs of caring for children?

Another 2020 study cited in the writing of researchers from New York University and the University of Michigan asked what came out of the finances of women who rejected abortion clinics because they were too advanced during the pregnancy.

Compared to their counterparts who did get abortions, the “deviation group” of 180 women faced a 78% increase in overdue debts over the next five years, as well as an 81% increase in public records related to bankruptcies, evictions and court rulings, “the friend’s letter said. (The study was the result of a larger longitudinal study of the lives of women who had and not had abortions at any given time.)

And Roe Canceled, these findings could be replicated on a larger scale, New York University professor Laura Wherry, one of the study’s authors and co-signatories, told MarketWatch. “Our research provides strong evidence that such restrictions will have long-term negative effects on women’s financial and economic well-being,” she said.

There were about 630,000 legal induced abortions in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means 11.4 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 and a ratio of 195 abortions per 1,000 live births, the agency said. The number of abortions decreased by 18% compared to 2010, while the rate and proportion decreased by 21% and 13% respectively, according to the data. Experts say the decline in abortions in recent years appears to be linked to a decline in pregnancies and births.

Twenty-year-old women accounted for approximately 57% of abortions in 2019 and the vast majority, almost 93%, were performed at or before 13 weeks of gestation. Four decades earlier, in 1979, there were 1.25 million legal abortions, according to CDC data.

Roe’s potential change “will also dramatically affect women’s ability to participate fully in the U.S. economy by reducing their share of the workforce, reducing their income, and increasing turnover.”

– C. Nicole Mason, President and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research

The Supreme Court’s decision, scheduled for June or July, comes at a time when the pandemic is stacking new job challenges for women with long-term ones such as the narrowing but persistent pay gap. Women earn an average of about 83 cents a dollar, with even larger pay gaps between black women and white men. That overall figure is more than 62 cents on the dollar earned in 1979, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meanwhile, a separate amicus letter urging the revocation of the historic ruling listed several laws prior to Roe. which pushed the economic power and protection of women to new levels, including the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Equal Equality Act of 1968 occupation of 1972.

“None of these pre-Roe “The laws or cases were based on women’s access to abortion, but they laid the groundwork for further legal developments that continue to contribute to sexual equality,” the document noted. He also questioned research such as the study on the financial records of rejected women, saying that the small sample size was a flawed basis for suggesting economic damage.

(Wherry defended the statistical methods and standards of the study and said that the design took into account the sample size.)

Unfortunately, there is a “maternity penalty” that forces too many women to choose between career, income and children, said Teresa Collett, author of the document amicus against abortion and a professor at St. Paul’s University. Thomas who runs the school. Prolife Center, but an abortion is not the solution, he said. In fact, life after Roe “would encourage both the state and federal government to take pregnancy discrimination seriously,” Collett said.

If the draft decision turns out to be the end product, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List Against Abortion, said her organization “applauds wholeheartedly.[ed]”He.

Dannenfelser said the organization recognized “the need for the pro-life movement to continue its existing work to support pregnant women and children in need.” “There are thousands of pro-life pregnancy and maternity centers across the country and a growing pro-life safety net,” she said. “The pro-life movement will continue to grow to meet the needs of these women and their families, walking and planning with them to love and serve both mother and child.”

Although Collett questioned the link between women’s access to abortion and the economic power of women, C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Women’s Policy Research Institute, said it is .

“The potential overthrow of Roe will do enormous damage to women’s equality. But it will also dramatically affect women’s ability to participate fully in the U.S. economy by reducing their share of the workforce, reducing their income, and increasing their turnover, “she said.” the impact on women and their families of this dark day in history is potentially devastating. “

According to the Women’s Policy Research Institute, the various restrictions that are already in place cost the state economies a set of $ 105 billion in annual turnover, free time, and reduced wages for women ages 15 to 44. If all state restrictions were removed, women in this demographic group would earn nearly $ 102 billion more a year, according to the Washington, DC think tank.

These are big money projections, but going back to All-Options, Dockray says the presence or absence of smaller sums, such as the incidental travel costs that many women incur if they decide to have an abortion, or the costs of missing out. of work, are already determinants. consequences.

“Many of us don’t realize the limit of how many people live,” Dockray said.

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