Would Abortion Bans Actually Make a Difference in Birth Rates?

There's good reason to be skeptical about much of the abortion narrative.

The pro-abortion lobby is throwing out everything it can in a frenzied effort to push the debate where it wants it to go. The latest are the warnings of a "baby boom".

Red states aren't prepared for a post-Roe baby boom - Axios

"What we're facing as a country is hundreds of thousands of births, probably disproportionately located in the states that have been most limited in what they do for pregnant women, infants and children. So this is the great paradox that we are dealing with," said Sara Rosenbaum, a health law and policy professor at George Washington University.

"We have not ever designed these programs for a world without Roe," she added. "You need a child welfare system, the likes of which we've never seen.”

Would we?

The Texas law was a trial run to see what would happen. The results wouldn't surprise anyone with an inkling of an understanding about human nature.

Most Women Denied Abortions by Texas Law Got Them Another Way - New York Times

In the months after Texas banned all but the earliest abortions in September, the number of legal abortions in the state fell by about half. But two new studies suggest the total number among Texas women fell by far less — around 10 percent — because of large increases in the number of Texans who traveled to a clinic in a nearby state or ordered abortion pills online.

So are we going to see a baby boom? Not likely. I suspect birth rates won't even change all that dramatically due to it. 

There was a compelling moral case and legal case for eliminating Roe v. Wade, but realistically speaking, with abortion legal in some states, anyone who really wants to will get an abortion, and with Plan B and other similar materials available, the impact will be mostly limited to women who don't really want an abortion, but might have gotten one anyway. Those are the same women that pro-life groups tried to reach with pregnancy centers. And, vice versa, Planned Parenthood.

There will be babies, thousands likely, who would be born, who otherwise would not exist. And every life is precious. But no baby boom is likely coming.

One paper had suggested a 4% to 11% reduction in birth rates before and after Roe v. Wade, but that was a different era. And that came with predictions of a 400,000 increase in births. That would have a significant impact, but I'm skeptical that we'll actually see anything remotely like that.

Abortion is both a supply and demand problem. Roe v. Wade addresses the supply side. But we haven't even begun to make a dent in demand. And as we've already seen, fighting supply when there's demand will only have a limited impact on the sources of the problem.


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