Dobbs, One Year Later: Tens of Thousands of Babies Saved

By Jonathon Van Maren

This Saturday will mark one year since the Dobbs v. Jackson decision from the U.S. Supreme Court declared that abortion is not a constitutional right in America and inaugurated the post-Roe era. State-level battles promptly ensued, with some pro-life laws immediately going into effect, other trigger bans getting blocked by judges, and abortion activists gaining success with direct democracy initiatives in states such as Michigan and Montana. 

So what is the state of the abortion wars one year after Dobbs? As of April, twenty states have passed pro-life laws of some kind. Abortion is almost completely banned in West Virginia, Texas, South Dakota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Idaho, Arkansas, and Alabama. Both Florida and Arizona have fifteen-week abortion bans, with Governor Ron DeSantis recently signing a six-week abortion ban that has not yet gone into effect. Utah has an 18-week abortion ban. 

Six-week bans are also in effect in Georgia and North Dakota, with 12-week bans in North Carolina, which will come into effect July, and Nebraska. Abortion bans are currently being blocked by judges in Wyoming (a trigger ban); Arizona (a pre-Roe ban); Indiana; North Dakota (a trigger ban); Ohio (a six-week abortion ban); South Carolina (a six-week ban); and Utah (a trigger ban that prohibits abortion clinics from operating within the state). Many states are awaiting judicial decisions. 

These laws are having a real impact. As I noted several months ago, reliable data estimated that a total of 32,260 fewer abortions were committed in the United States in the first six months after Dobbs—with Bloomberg reporting that in “Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin — there were 265 abortions per month on average from July to December. That’s a 96% drop from April and May.” 

There is more good news, as well. According to the estimates of FiveThirtyEight, there were 24,290 fewer legal abortions between July 2022 and March 2023 when compared to the pre-Dobbs baseline. This data was collected by contacting every abortion clinic in the U.S. multiple times over a year and finding that there were an estimated 93,575 fewer legal abortions in states with strong pro-life laws, with a rise in other states where abortion is largely legal rising by 69,285, reflecting that many women travelled out of state to procure abortions. Still, the abortion rate is consistently dropping—and some pro-life laws like Florida’s ban, have not yet gone into effect. 

Despite a relentless torrent of negative news coverage attempting to portray abortion as essential, pro-life laws as cruel and dangerous, and the pro-life movement as a nefarious force in the United States, public opinion on the issue is remaining stable, with Gallup showing a slight increase in pro-life sentiment—which is extraordinary, considering the lies being released by the mainstream media on this issue daily.  

It is also important to note that the massive political backlash promised by abortion activists after Roe fell, many of the politicians who championed and signed pro-life laws were returned to office by the voters. Georgia governor Brian Kemp won re-election by 8 points after signing a 6-week abortion ban in a state Trump lost, that Ohio governor Mike DeWine won by 25 points after signing a 6-week ban, and Iowa governor Kim Reynolds won by 19 points. This is a key indication that many Americans see pro-life laws not as cruel, but compassionate. Politicians can run and win on pro-life laws if they know how to speak compellingly to the issue. 

One year after Dobbs, the issue is still very much in flux. After their successes in Michigan and Montana with direct democracy initiatives, abortion activists are likely to continue pushing this strategy, where their enormous war chests and monolithic grip on the media give them an enormous advantage. But more than 25 states have already taken enormous steps towards protecting the pre-born, and at a very minimum, tens of thousands of children are alive today because Roe v. Wade was overturned. 

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