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News from EPI New report explores connection between abortion access and economic security

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.