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8 Aug 2022

Cristina Lindblad, Bloomberg

Abortion bans will unravel decades of economic progress

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade could keep women out of the workforce just when we need them the most.

... Removing barriers to women’s economic empowerment has paid huge dividends for us as a nation. At least 25% of the increase in US gross domestic product from 1960 to 2010 can be attributed to greater gender, as well as racial, balance in the workplace, according to a 2019 paper authored by a group of economists from the University of Chicago and Stanford University.

... Men also benefit from abortion being legal. A paper published in 2019 found that 22% of adolescent boys whose partners terminated a pregnancy went on to graduate from college, compared with less than 6% for those who became fathers.

... These and other studies have noted that positive effects tend to be more pronounced among Black women, who have higher rates of unintended pregnancies because they’re more likely to live in poverty and cannot readily obtain contraception. In a 2021 paper, Kelly Jones of American University noted that Black women who had access to abortion at a young age had two- to threefold increases in college graduation rates. There was also a 44% greater likelihood of them entering a professional occupation.

... Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen alluded to this body of research during a May 10 [2022] congressional hearing. “I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades,” she said.