Six predictions about the end of Roe, based on research

1. Wealthier Americans will still get abortions. Lower-income Americans will have children at the wrong time. There is a slogan, based on the experiences of pre-Roe America that says, “You can’t ban abortion, you can only ban safe abortion.” But the Turnaway Study suggests a more nuanced outcome than a proliferation of back-alley abortions. In states that ban abortion, people with the information, financial resources and physical capability will travel hundreds of miles to get an abortion in another state or find a way to access medication abortion pills online. These abortions will be as safe as if they had occurred in their own state, as long as it doesn’t take people too long to get them. But people without the means to circumvent their state’s laws will give birth instead. My conservative estimate, based on studies of other restrictions on abortion, is that a quarter of those who would previously have been able to get an abortion will instead give birth. Already in the United States, thousands of people who want abortions can’t get them. Abortion bans will sharply increase this number…

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3. Few people will place their children for adoption. During oral arguments in December of last year, Amy Coney Barrett suggested that women could simply drop off their newborns at hospitals or fire stations to be adopted by other families. The Turnaway Study results indicate there will likely be no great increase in the “domestic supply of infants” for adoption. We found that when someone has gone through the literally life-threatening process of staying pregnant and giving birth, the vast majority — about 90 percent — choose to parent the child.

4. More unwanted births now will result in fewer wanted births later. Based on Turnaway Study findings, I do not anticipate that banning abortion will result in a large increase in the total number of children born. Yes, in states that ban abortion, approximately a quarter of women who otherwise would get an abortion will give birth. But these births will come at the cost of people having wanted pregnancies later. Banning abortion means that people have children before they’re ready — and then are less likely to have children later, either because they have had all the children they can care for or because, although they may want more children, their life circumstances don’t improve to a point where they can do so.

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