The number of abortions continues to drop, according to #WeCount

Over 24,000 babies saved

By Dave Andrusko

#WeCount, a national research project led by the Society of Family Planning, has been on the cutting edge of charting the impact on the number of abortions since Dobbs uprooted Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022According to Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, there numbers have been “collected by contacting every abortion clinic in the country multiple times over a period of twelve months.” 

What have they found? Thomson-DeVeaux writes, based on “new estimate provided exclusively to FiveThirtyEight by #WeCount”

that there were 24,290 fewer legal abortions between July 2022 and March 2023, compared to a pre-Dobbs baseline.1 These people might have remained pregnant or obtained an abortion outside the legal system, which would not be captured in #WeCount’s data.

As you would expect there are huge regional differences. “Underneath these topline trends, meanwhile, is a huge amount of variability by state. Some parts of the country, like the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest, have seen relatively small changes. But a handful of states bordering the large swath of the South where an abortion is almost impossible to obtain are absorbing large numbers of new patients.”

But when you dig in, the differences are even more stark. Thomson-DeVeaux tells us

“There were an estimated 93,575 fewer legal abortions in states that banned or severely restricted abortion for at least one week in the nine-month period after Dobbs.2 The number of legal abortions in states where abortion remained mostly available did rise by 69,285 in the same period, signaling that many people did travel and successfully obtain an abortion within the U.S. health care system.”

93,575 minus 69,285 =24,290 fewer abortions.

The account is lengthy and involved. While we may just scratch the surface in this story, the results are very encouraging.

*“With more bans on the horizon in big states like Florida — and abortion clinics and funds struggling to keep up in other states — abortion access seems likely to erode further in the second year after Dobbs.” Consider…

If the Florida Supreme Court upholds HB 5, or the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality bill, it will protect most children from abortion after 15 weeks. It would also give them the opportunity to consider The Heartbeat Act.

That law allows abortion throughout pregnancy to protect the life of the mother or in cases of reported rape, incest, medical emergency or when the child has a fatal condition, but it will protect unborn children from elective abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy—a time at which the unborn child has a beating heart.

The following illustrates why Gov. DeSantis’ efforts to fundamentally change the situation in Florida is so critical:

[A] handful of states bordering the large swath of the South where an abortion is almost impossible to obtain are absorbing large numbers of new patients. There were 12,460 additional abortions in Florida in the nine months after Dobbs,4 12,580 additional abortions in Illinois and 7,975 additional abortions in North Carolina.

An awful lot of abortions—12,460 to be exact–are performed on women who do not live in Florida.

One other very important finding: the impact of Heartbeat laws. Thomson-DeVeaux writes that Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, and Florida have [passed/implemented] six-week bans since the fall of 2021.

FiveThirtyEight found a remarkably consistent decline in [those states that have implemented]  the bans — in each, the number of abortions declined between 50 and 60 percent in the two months after the ban was implemented, compared to the two months before the ban went into effect. If the same pattern holds true for Florida, the impact could be massive, with a sudden decline of thousands of abortions in the state each month.

We’ll return tomorrow to this highly revealing story and report by #WeCount.