Economists: Abortion ban would have negative impacts on labor force, education

By: - May 17, 2022 3:50 am

COLUMBUS, OH — MAY 14: Hundreds gather at a rally to support abortion rights less than two weeks after a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion showed a likely reversal of Roe v. Wade, May 14, 2022, at the Ohio Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for the Ohio Capital Journal. Republish photo only with original story.)

Nearly two dozen economists in the state agreed that prohibiting abortion in Ohio would negatively impact labor force participation and educational attainment, according to a new survey.

The Ohio Economic Experts Panel answered a survey conducted by Scioto Analysis. The survey asked whether the economists agreed that prohibition of abortion in Ohio would reduce “women’s educational attainment in the state,” would “reduce women’s labor force participation in the state,” and would reduce “women’s earnings in the state.”

The survey comes as Ohio awaits a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on an abortion ban case, after a draft opinion was leaked indicating the court is poised to strike down Roe v. Wade and with it, national abortion rights.

It also comes as legislation that would ban abortion if the 1973 abortion legalization court case is overturned sits in the General Assembly awaiting committee meetings and possible passage.

In the survey, 22 of 24 economists in the state agreed that abortion bans would cause decreases in education and economic abilities. 

“Of the 22 who agreed abortion prohibition would decrease wages, economists commented on the tradeoff women have between working and parenting,” Scioto Analysis stated in their survey summary. 

Of all the responses received, “strongly agree” overwhelmingly surpassed any other response.

Individual responses came mostly from those that agreed with the statements.

“The empirical evidence is very clear about the negative impact of unplanned pregnancies on women’s educational attainment, especially when support services are unavailable or unaffordable,” said Dr. Fadhel Kaboub, of Denison University.

Those that entered “strongly disagree” responses didn’t include elaboration through individual responses.

Dr. Jonathan Andreas, of Bluffton University, agreed that abortion prohibitions would reduce women’s earnings in the state, but he said abortion “will have a small effect on average income and education statistics” because those most affected by prohibition are “the poorest women who have the least opportunities.”

“Middle-class and wealthy women just pay more money and get out-of-state abortions or pay illegal providers in the state,” Andreas wrote.

Many of the comments focused on low-income communities and people of color as disparately impacted by an abortion ban in Ohio. 

“Economic research overwhelmingly indicates that abortion rights greatly affect the educational level, career opportunities, earning and wealth enhancement potential for women,” said Dr. Diane Monaco, of Heidelberg University. “Abortion rights advantages are especially profound for historically marginalized women as well.”



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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow (KY) Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.