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Researchers estimate 64,000 pregnancies from rape in U.S. states with total abortion bans

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A new study estimates there have been over 64,000 pregnancies resulting from rape across 14 U.S. states since Roe v Wade was overturned.
U.S. pregnancies from rape
CW: Distressing content

A new study estimates there have been over 64,000 pregnancies resulting from rape across 14 U.S. states since Roe v Wade was overturned.

Roe v Wade was a 1973 Supreme Court decision that protected a pregnant woman’s right to an abortion.

When the decision was overturned in 2022, it didn’t automatically make abortion illegal. However, the ruling gave individual states the power to implement their own abortion laws.

14 U.S. states, most of which are in country’s south, have since banned abortion.

Abortion bans

In the 14 states with total abortion bans, it is a criminal offence to undergo or perform a termination at any stage of pregnancy, with rare medical exceptions.

Five of these states have exemptions allowing abortions for pregnancies resulting from rape.

Strict limits still exist in these states, and those seeking abortion must report the rape to law enforcement.

Estimated pregnancies

U.S. researchers used multiple data sources to create “reliable estimates” of the number of pregnancies from rape in states with total abortion bans.

They estimated pregnancies from rape were highest in Texas, the country’s second biggest state by population.

The study estimated that since 2022 in the 14 total-abortion states, there had been 64,565 pregnancies from rape.

More than 91% of these estimated pregnancies occurred in the nine states where rape is not considered a reason to grant an abortion.

Very few people in any of the 14 states are believed to have accessed a legal in-state abortion. The study suggested many may have attempted dangerous at-home terminations, or travelled to another state for an abortion.

Researchers concluded that those who fall pregnant from rape face significant obstacles to accessing abortion, even in states with an applicable exception.

One of the study’s authors, Dr. Samuel Dickman, told U.S. outlet NPR he was “horrified” by the findings.

“Sexual assault is incredibly common — I knew that in a general sense. But to be confronted with these estimates that are so high in states where there’s no meaningful abortion access? It’s hard to comprehend.”

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