Economic ripple effect of decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

Abortion-rights activist Jamie McIntyre reacts to the 6-3 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization which overturns the landmark abortion Roe v. Wade case in front of the Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Abortion-rights activist Jamie McIntyre reacts to the 6-3 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization which overturns the landmark abortion Roe v. Wade case in front of the Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. Photo credit Nathan Howard/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday morning, a decision that could have economic impacts.

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The decision has not come as much of a surprise since a draft of the decision was already leaked. In the weeks before the final decision, people have weighed in on how this will impact the country.

Last month, economist Janet Yellen said the reversal of abortion rights and access across the country will damage the economy and that access to abortion leads to lower odds of living in poverty or on public assistance.

"Women who are in states that will implement greater restrictions on abortion, including bans, are going to have to travel further if they want to access care," said Madeline Zavodny, Professor of Economics at the University of North Florida to KCBS Radio's Melissa Culross on Friday.

"This is going to be expensive – not only do they have the cost of the abortion, but then they'll have travel costs, lost work, lost wages, and so on," she said. "And we all know travel costs right now are incredibly expensive given the price of gas."

That's not all.

For women who can't even go to those lengths, the cost is greater.

"They will have children that they otherwise would not have had," she said. "Children, we know, they're wonderful, but they're expensive."

The states likely to or already have restricted abortion typically do not have strong public assistance programs, and this decision will likely create an additional need. "You will have women less able to work, or less ability to schedule hours perhaps when they could, because they have more children at home," said Zavodny.

This increases the implications for taxpayers and employers as well as for women and their families that are directly impacted.

The ripple effect will hit other states as well, including those like California that protect abortion rights.

"You will have women coming from states that have implemented bans or bigger restrictions on abortion coming into those states," she said.

This will create more congestion at clinics and make it harder for women across the country to access care.

"This is beyond abortion, this is about healthcare in general," she added, particularly for Planned Parenthood, which offers a variety of much-needed services, not just to women, but also to men.

Providers across the board are going to have a harder time giving timely care.

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