A Federal Abortion Law Is Something Americans Need and Want
Despite the divisiveness often portrayed in the media, there is both overwhelming and long-standing support in the U.S. for abortion rights. And those rights are something that need to be protected for the safety and health of the nation's women.
Having access to safe abortions is vital for the health, safety, and livelihoods of American women. In a pre-Roe U.S., women still had abortions—the only difference was that they would risk their lives in unsafe conditions or be forced to pay inordinate sums of money. A federal abortion law protects women's health, especially in the case of incest, rape, or late-stage pregnancy complications. Access to abortion is also important for the livelihood of American women—and American families in general. Forcing a woman to carry a child she does not want to term can lead to negative consequences on her career, perhaps forcing her to drop out of college or take time off work, both outcomes that would negatively affect her earning power and possibly push her into poverty. A long-term study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that women who sought out abortions and were denied were nearly four times more likely to live under the poverty line than those who were given the requested abortion. “When they receive an abortion, they slowly gain employment, and their income goes up,” said lead author Diana Greene Foster, a professor at the University of California. “But when they’re denied an abortion, they’re set back economically, and it takes them years to get where they would have been if they had received an abortion.” Leaving this choice up to state law is inequitable. Many women cannot afford to take time off and travel to another state to secure an abortion—much less move to a state that aligns with their views on the issue. And forced pregnancy can have dire effects: Over half of the country's Black population lives in the South, where states have the most restrictive abortion laws. Black mothers in the U.S. have some of the worst maternal health outcomes. And women living in abortion-strict state have some of the worst child health incomes, according to research from the Commonwealth Fund. The imbalance of state legislating power has led to a tyranny of the minority, where abortion restrictions have increased despite the fact that less than 40 percent of Americans support them. On the contrary, support for abortion rights has remained relatively stable over the past few decades, with between six out of 10 and seven out of 10 Americans saying that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to Pew Research. What's more, legislation protecting abortion rights is something that most Americans want. Nearly 60 percent of Americans support a federal law protecting abortion rights, according to a CBS New/YouGov poll published in May 2022.