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Good News: Abortions dropped in the nine months following the Dobbs decision


“Sometimes pro-lifers may believe that these ‘compromise’ laws aren’t making a difference given that the goal is a total ban on abortion, but this data does show that the fall of Roe and the introduction of limits on abortion has likely resulted in the births of tens of thousands of babies who otherwise would have been killed in the womb.”

According to data released by a national research project, abortion limitations and bans helped decrease the number of abortions from July 2022 to March 2023 by 24,290.

Quick Facts

The statistics come from #WeCount, a national research project led by the Society on Family Planning, which supports research on abortion and contraception. #WeCount obtained the data by contacting every abortion clinic on numerous occasions over the last 12 months.

Following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, states were able to restrict or ban abortion for the first time in 50 years.

As a result, from July 2022 to March 2023, there were an estimated 93,575 fewer abortions in states that banned or limited abortions to before six weeks’ gestation. The estimations were based off of pre-Dobbs data and extrapolated over a nine-month period. Unfortunately, in states where abortion rights continued to be legal, or even expanded, abortions rose by 69,285.

#WeCount stated that its number don’t include Texas, which had already implemented a six-week abortion ban before the Dobbs ruling. The organization estimates that if data from Texas had been included there would have been a total of 44,210 fewer abortions over the nine-month time frame.

The research project stated that the decreases are even “more striking” because the total number of abortions had been increasing since 2017.

The largest reduction in estimated abortions were in Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee, with a combined total of almost 50,000 fewer abortions in those states. The states with the largest increases were Illinois, Florida, and North Carolina with a growth of over 33,000.

Data also shows that women are traveling out of state to have an abortion if their state bans it. In an report titled “The Dobbs Divide” based on the #WeCount findings, the analytics firm FiveThirtyEight wrote:

“Underneath these topline trends, meanwhile, is a huge amount of variability by state. Some parts of the country, like the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest, have seen relatively small changes. But a handful of states bordering the large swath of the South where an abortion is almost impossible to obtain are absorbing large numbers of new patients. There were 12,460 additional abortions in Florida in the nine months after Dobbs, 12,580 additional abortions in Illinois and 7,975 additional abortions in North Carolina.”

While the #WeCount statistics don’t record women’s state of residence, public health departments do show that women are traveling to obtain abortions. FiveThirtyEight noted, “In Colorado, the share of out-of-state patients doubled in one year, from 14 percent in 2021 to 28 percent in 2022, when 17 percent of Colorado’s abortion patients were from Texas alone.”

Abortion numbers should continue decreasing following legislative efforts in several states.

According to FiveThirtyEight, in the first five months of 2023, seven states, including Florida and North Carolina, passed full bans or first-trimester abortion laws, and none of those were accounted for in the #WeCount figures. Additionally, FiveThirtyEight found that six-week abortion laws, also known as heartbeat laws, had an outsize effect on the number of abortions. Its data shows that Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Ohio abortions decreased 50 to 60 percent in the two months after implementing a six-week restriction compared to the two months before implementing the law.

If Florida’s current 15-week ban is upheld by the state Supreme Court, it will implement a six-week ban, which FiveThirtyEight thinks will mean a decrease of 51 to 61 percent or thousands each month. North Carolina in May passed a 12-week limit on abortions, except in very limited circumstances.

This data shows how important passing abortion restrictions is to saving innocent lives. Sometimes pro-lifers may believe that these “compromise” laws aren’t making a difference given that the goal is a total ban on abortion, but this data does show that the fall of Roe and the introduction of limits on abortion has likely resulted in the births of tens of thousands of babies who otherwise would have been killed in the womb.

Christians should praise God and appreciate the efforts of pro-life legislators and governors. We must also keep voting for those who would implement more limitations and hopefully one day the total elimination of abortion.

Psalm 139:13-15 states:

“For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;”

Each baby is a precious work of God, given as a gift to their parents. Each baby is a person who God designed and fashioned in the womb for His purposes. We must continue to work to protect these babies and strive to assist them and their families before and after they are born.

Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.

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