Source: NC Policy Watch
A recently released report prepared by researcher Asha Banerjee at the Economic Policy Institute explores an unsurprising phenomenon happening in several Republican-led states throughout the US, according to NC Policy Watch. In the report, entitled “The economics of abortion bans” Banerjee documents how “Abortion bans, low wages, and public underinvestment are interconnected economic policy tools to disempower and control workers.”
Accompanying the report was the following release:
“States with abortion restrictions or bans have lower wages, weaker labor standards, and higher levels of incarceration, according to a new EPI report. Given the consistent pattern of state abortion bans and negative economic outcomes, the results of the analysis underscore the connection between abortion access and economic mobility, and financial security.
On average, states with abortion restrictions or total bans have:
- lower minimum wages ($8.17 compared with $11.92 in the abortion-protected states)
- unionization levels half as high as the abortion-protected states
- only 3 in 10 unemployed people receiving unemployment insurance (compared with 42% in other states)
- lower rates of Medicaid expansion
- an incarceration rate 1.5 times that of the states with abortion protections
As the report explains, abortion access is an economic issue because access to, or denial of, abortion services directly impact labor market experiences and economic outcomes. The decision whether to and when to have children is an economic one with powerful effects on one’s professional and personal life.
“Abortion has long been framed as a cultural, religious, or personal issue rather than a material ‘bread and butter’ economic concern. In reality, abortion rights and economic progress are fundamentally intertwined, and the loss of abortion rights means the loss of economic security, independence, and mobility for millions of people,” said Asha Banerjee, EPI economic analyst and author of the report. “Specifically, in states where abortion has been banned or restricted, abortion bans are yet another economic policy that disempowers workers.”
Following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the report argues that policymakers must recognize that abortion access is an economic issue with economic consequences and restore abortion access nationwide immediately. Further, policymakers must dismantle economic policies that have hurt workers for generations and support working people who are most negatively impacted by abortion bans and restrictions, including by raising the federal minimum wage and expanding Medicaid coverage.”
Abortion remains legal in North Carolina up to 20 weeks, while many of our neighboring states have stricter bans or have outright banned abortion altogether – with this in mind, the report notes that “some states that still have abortion access have seen significant increases in their abortion rates, most notably North Carolina, which borders the new large abortion-restricted region in the South”.
Republican leaders in the NC General Assembly – specifically House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger – have both suggested that they will be seeking more restrictions on abortion during this upcoming legislative session.
The report concluded that:
Abortion bans as an economic policy have not appeared in a vacuum, or even as a narrowly tailored religious concern, since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1972. Rather, denial of abortion access is one additional policy that states have engineered over decades in a sustained project of economic subjugation, control, and worker disempowerment. States that have banned and restricted abortion have largely also kept minimum wages low, underfunded and complicated their unemployment insurance systems, declined to expand Medicaid, suppressed unionization, and preferred to over-incarcerate. These policies, in conjunction, keep working people economically disempowered.
You can read the full report here.