Abortion bans in states linked to nearly 65,000 estimated pregnancies resulting from rape, study finds

According to a recent study, approximately 65,000 pregnancies resulting from rape have been reported in the 14 states that have implemented abortion bans since the Dobbs decision in 2022.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers utilized federal data to estimate the occurrence of pregnancies resulting from rape between July 1, 2022, and Jan. 1, 2024.

According to the data at hand, researchers have made an estimation that there were approximately 519,981 incidents of completed rapes within the given time period. Out of these cases, it is estimated that 64,565 resulted in pregnancies. Among these pregnancies that were a result of rape, it is estimated that 5,586, which accounts for 8.7 percent, occurred in states where abortion bans were in place but had exceptions for cases of rape.

The study stated that in this cross-sectional study, thousands of girls and women in states that banned abortion experienced rape-related pregnancy. However, very few, if any, were able to obtain legal in-state abortions. This suggests that rape exceptions fail to provide survivors with reasonable access to abortion.

The study encompassed a total of 14 states, namely Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.

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Texas has the highest rate of rape-related pregnancies, estimated at 26,313, which is more than four times the number in Missouri, the second state on the list, with an estimated 5,825 pregnancies.

The researchers recognized that their study had some limitations.

According to the authors, they utilized data from the CDC, which is considered the most reliable national data source on cases of rape. However, they acknowledged the challenges of accurately measuring such highly stigmatized experiences in survey-based research.

The researchers emphasized that the high number of rape-related pregnancies in states with abortion bans, compared to the minimal number of legal abortions performed each month in those states, highlights the fact that individuals who have been raped and become pregnant are unable to access legal abortions in their own state, even in states with rape exceptions.

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