Keep Scrolling for continue reading for more stories

Study Estimates Over 65,000 Pregnancies from Rape in Abortion Ban States

An abstract representation of the concept of reproductive rights.

A study featured in JAMA Internal Medicine estimates that more than 64,500 pregnancies from rape have occurred in the 14 states that implemented abortion bans following the overturn of Roe v. Wade. As reported by Axios, this research brings critical insights into the prevalence of pregnancies resulting from rape in the context of the ongoing abortion debate, particularly in states with no exceptions for rape in their abortion laws.

The study, spearheaded by the medical director at Planned Parenthood of Montana, utilized data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the FBI. Researchers estimated that approximately 519,981 rapes took place in states with abortion bans from July 2022 to January 1, 2024. After adjusting for factors such as the age and likelihood of pregnancy in rape cases, the research projected that these incidents led to 64,565 pregnancies.

Notably, 90% of these pregnancies occurred in states without rape exceptions in their abortion laws, with Texas accounting for 45% (26,313) of these cases. Missouri followed with 5,825 pregnancies. Among states with exceptions for rape, Idaho and Mississippi had the highest numbers, with roughly 1,400 pregnancies each.

The Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate federal protection for abortion rights shifted the regulatory power to individual states. Some states had trigger laws that immediately banned abortions, while others quickly enacted anti-abortion legislation. Researchers noted that in states with abortion bans, there were fewer than 10 legal abortions per month. Additionally, even in states with exceptions for rape, other restrictions often disqualify victims from accessing abortion services.

The study highlighted the complexity of measuring sexual assaults accurately, as it relied heavily on statistical assumptions and available data. The lack of state-level data in CDC and Bureau of Justice Statistics reports led researchers to use the FBI’s most recent uniform crime reports, which include rapes reported to law enforcement in 2019.

This research underscores the critical implications of state-level abortion bans on victims of rape, particularly in the absence of legal exceptions for such cases.