Financial Implications of Being Denied an Abortion

What can we expect for those being denied abortions in the 11 states that currently deny access to reproductive healthcare?

It turns out it can have some pretty negative financial implications.

Denying abortions leads to increased rates of economic hardship and poverty

A study by the Guttmacher Institute found that women who were denied abortions were more likely to experience poverty and economic hardship than those who could obtain one. The study found that women denied an abortion were three times more likely to be below the poverty line two years later and more likely to rely on public assistance.

What are poverty and economic hardship?

When discussing economic hardships and poverty, it is important to understand the differences between them. Economic hardships refer to difficulties that are temporary and typically related to financial problems.

Some examples of economic hardships include:

  • Losing your job
  • Having to take on extra jobs to make ends meet
  • Getting sick or injured and not being able to work

Poverty, on the other hand, is a long-term condition that can have multiple causes, including a lack of access to resources, education, or employment opportunities.

While economic hardships can happen to anyone, poverty disproportionately affects certain groups of people, including women, children, and minorities. For example, the poverty rate for African Americans in the United States is more than twice that of whites.

Measuring poverty

There are several ways to measure poverty. The most common method is to look at someone’s income and compare it to the poverty threshold, an amount set by the government that represents the minimum amount of money needed to live.

Persons in family/householdPoverty guideline
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,720 for each additional person.
This information was provided by the ASPE

Other poverty measures may include looking at someone’s access to resources, such as food, housing, or education level.

Impact of poverty

Poverty takes a toll on people’s emotional well-being. A study by the American Psychological Association found that people who live in poverty are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. They also found that poverty can lead to chronic stress, worsening existing mental health conditions.

Physical health is also affected by poverty. People who live in poverty are more likely to experience poor health, and their health problems are often more severe than those who don’t live in poverty. Deprivation can lead to malnutrition, weakening the immune system and making people more susceptible to illness.

While people of all ages feel the impact of poverty, it is especially detrimental to children. Children who grow up in poverty are more likely to experience poor health, lack of educational opportunities, and social problems. They are also more likely to experience poverty as adults, creating a cycle of poverty that is difficult to break.

Poverty also harms cognitive development. Studies have shown that children who grow up in poverty are more likely to have lower test scores and are less likely to finish high school or go to college than their peers from more affluent backgrounds.

The impact of poverty is not limited to individuals. Poverty also affects entire communities. Poor neighborhoods are often characterized by high crime rates, poor schools, and a lack of access to essential services. This can create a sense of despair and hopelessness, further perpetuating the poverty cycle.

Specific Financial Outcomes from Denying Abortion

In another study, researchers found that being denied an abortion can lead to long-term financial instability. The study, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, found that women who were denied an abortion were more likely to experience financial difficulties ten years later.

The Turnaway Study, done by the University of California, found that being denied an abortion “lowered a woman’s credit score, increased a woman’s amount of debt and increased the number of their negative public financial records, such as bankruptcies and evictions.”


  • Higher amounts of debt 30 days or more past due — an average increase of $1,746 (78 percent)
  • An 81 percent increase in negative public records such as bankruptcies, evictions, and tax liens
  • A greater likelihood of credit below 600

It also found that women were more likely to stay in contact with a violent partner. Meanwhile, physical violence from the man involved in the pregnancy decreased for women who received abortions but not those who were denied abortions and gave birth.

For those who had access to abortion

The Turnaway Study is one of the most important pieces of abortion research ever conducted. The study followed over a thousand women who had abortions and compared them to a similar group of women who were denied abortions due to clinic restrictions.

Abortion opponents will often claim that women regret their abortions, but the Turnaway Study data shows this simply isn’t true. In fact, women who were denied abortions were more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety and were more likely to say that they regretted their decision to have an abortion. It found that 95% of women report that having the abortion was the right decision for them over five years after the procedure.

The findings from the Turnaway Study and those like it show that increased access to abortion leads to better outcomes. In conclusion, these findings should inform policy decisions and conversations about abortion access to ensure women have the best possible outcomes.

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