When Roe v. Wade was overturned, much of the country was in disbelief. A vital part of health care had been stripped away overnight. Now those with the capability to get pregnant have to deal with the sudden emotional and financial burden that having improper abortion access causes.
There are many people who will be affected by this Supreme Court ruling. Yes, the largest groups are women, trans men, and non-binary people, but the economy as a whole may be facing some serious consequences as well.
Health Care Costs are Going to Skyrocket for Those Who Do Need Abortions
Perhaps the largest and most direct financial impact of the overturning of Roe v. Wade is how it will affect the cost of having an abortion. Since many states plan to or have already quickly passed laws criminalizing abortion, those who need abortions in those states will need to seek care elsewhere.
“Firstly, for people who were born with uteruses, making abortion illegal in many states results in the need for travel, lodging, and out-of-pocket medical expenses which will very likely no longer be covered by health insurance.”
Charbonneau also told me that, for those who decide to (or have to) keep their babies, insurance costs jump substantially, adding yet another cost to the many other costs associated with having a child.
Poverty Rates Could Increase for Those Turned Away and Their Children
Many people choose not to have children because it’s impossible for them to financially afford to do so. In a study where participants were asked why they were getting an abortion, 56% cited financial concerns.
Additionally, the American Journal of Public Health published a study that examines the outcome, economically, of denying proper abortion access.
“Throughout the period between 1 and 5 years after seeking an abortion, turnaway-birth women were more likely than near limits to report subjective poverty — not having enough money to cover basic living expenses.”
The effects don’t stop at the person that gives birth, either. With a parent or both parents potentially living in poverty, the child is likely to face these unintended consequences.
The Turnaway Study, a long-term study that looked at how unintended pregnancy affects women’s lives, found that children born after an abortion is denied are more likely to live below the federal poverty level than those born to women who were able to get an abortion at an earlier point in their life.
There’s Going to Be Decreased Participation in the Workforce
Forced birth takes away from the overall productivity of the working world in general. Predominantly, it’s women (or those who give birth to their children) that take time off or leave the workforce altogether to care for a child. If birth rates go up, more people could leave the workforce, adding to the current labor shortage we’re facing.
This is harmful both to employers and employees.
“In the case of the need for travel for care, absenteeism is an expensive cost for the employer, not just for the person receiving care, but possibly in terms of family leave for the person accompanying her,” explains Charbonneau.
Many employers now offer inclusive leave options that include both parents, putting two people out of work during unplanned pregnancies.
State Economies and the GDP Could Also See Negative Changes
There have already been documented studies that show how restricting abortion access can negatively affect the economy, specifically the economies of the states that don’t provide abortion access. Since it’s expected that those states will have higher rates of pregnancy, the labor force will shrink as more people stay home with newborn children.
This isn’t the only issue with higher birth rates, though. Charbonneau explains that these states now have to factor in the cost of these additional births.
“States which have made abortion illegal or inaccessible have not factored in the costs associated with this. In each of the 50 states, currently, the state pays for between 47% and 52% of all births, and attendant expenses for the postpartum period. Forced pregnancy radically increases the budget required to finance these policies.”
Who Feels the Financial Effects Most?
It’s also important to discuss that a lack of access to abortion will not affect people the same across the board.
Those who will be most financially affected by the overturning of Roe v. Wade are the ones who historically need access to abortion the most. These include:
Those With a Low Income
Those with lower incomes often have less access to comprehensive health care and education, which can lead to more pregnancies. Many of the states that are passing abortion restrictions also have the largest number of low-income households.
The reversal of Roe v Wade will likely raise the cost of abortions for many people, meaning lower income households will have less access to this procedure than those with higher income.
Here’s more information about how the cost of abortions has changed in a post Roe v Wade world.
Women of Color
Women of color are also affected by societal systems in place more so than white women, since they live in areas that have historically low levels of contraceptive education and fewer health care facilities.
Specifically, Black women have the highest rates of abortion accounting for almost 24% of total abortions performed. This means reducing access could have serious implications for this section of society.
An unplanned pregnancy will both reduce their ability to earn income while simultaneously increasing their living expenses.
Those with disabilities often face discrimination when seeking proper health care. Decreasing abortion access could make this yet another hurtle that disabled individuals have to face.
Add to the fact that disabled people are three times more likely to be subject to a sexual assault and the risks here are even greater.
Trans and Non-Binary People Who Can Get Pregnant
Many trans men and non-binary people still have the ability to get pregnant. Like the other groups mentioned above, they face increased levels of discrimination in education and health care, and already lack legal protections that keep them safe when seeking out medical providers, making abortions even more difficult and expensive to find.
How to Support Those Who Need Abortions
Since there are no real financial positives to reducing access to abortions, if you’re looking for ways to help or you need access to a safe abortion, there are different abortion funds you can support or use to get the help you need.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade is set to have financial implications for much of the country, both emotionally and economically. There could be labor shortages, negative economic consequences, and severe psychological harm to both the person giving birth and the child.
Additionally, Roe v. Wade set a precedent for many rulings that gave Americans a right to privacy. Without it, there could be more disastrous changes on the horizon.
Featured image: Eli Wilson/Shutterstock.com