June 20, 2024 

Contact: William Lutz 202-785-5100 

Ahead of the Second Anniversary of the Overturn of Roe v. Wade, New IWPR Analysis Shows State Abortion Bans Cost the US Economy $68 Billion Annually 

Washington, DC — The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has unveiled a new data model demonstrating that abortion bans in extremely restrictive states are costing the US economy $68 billion per year. This significant economic loss is attributed to reduced workforce participation among women, leading to a substantial decrease in wages and economic power for women and their families. 

“Sixty-eight billion dollars. That is how much the 16 states that ban or extremely restrict abortion are costing the US economy each year,” said Dr. Jamila K. Taylor, president and CEO of IWPR. “Reproductive rights—including accessible abortion care—are essential to women’s full participation in society. Less talked about is the impact these extremist bans have on the health of the national economy, where women are half of the workforce. States that have taken proactive measures to protect access to reproductive health services offset these costs some, but the economic consequences of abortion bans remain staggering.”  

Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, several states have passed bans and extreme restrictions that harm all women of reproductive age, particularly Black, Latina, low-income, young, and rural women, as well as LGBTQ+ individuals who already face systemic obstacles in accessing health care and economic opportunities. IWPR’s research demonstrates that these bans also impose tremendous costs on the US economy. Abortion bans not only reduce women’s participation in the workforce but also result in significant losses of wages for women. For businesses, restrictions on access to reproductive health care can affect their ability to build a strong workforce, impacting their bottom line and adversely affecting state economies.   

Key Findings 

  • Economic Loss from Restrictions—IWPR estimates that the 16 states with either an abortion ban or extreme restrictions cost the national economy $68 billion annually. (See map here.) 
  • Protective States Mitigate Costs—States that protect abortion rights are reducing these economic losses. If the eight states with strong protections for the right to abortion did not have these in place, the cost of reproductive rights restrictions to the national economy would rise an additional $45 billion. 
  • Impact on Labor Force Participation—In states with bans and extreme restrictions, labor force participation among women aged 15 to 44 would be higher if these bans were absent. For example: 
    • In North Dakota and South Dakota, women’s labor force participation would be 2.6 percent higher. 
    • In Mississippi, women’s labor force participation would be 4.0 percent higher. 
  • National Impact on Labor Force—Nationally, an estimated additional 0.8 percent of women aged 15 to 44 would enter the labor force in the absence of reproductive health restrictions, adding 360,588 more women to the nation’s labor force annually. 
  • GDP Growth—Elimination of these restrictions would increase the national gross domestic product (GDP) by half a percentage point, boosting the most recent GDP growth rate estimate of 1.3 percent for June 2024 by over a third. 
  • State-Specific GDP Increases—Three states with bans—Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri—would have GDPs that are 1.28 percent, 1.28 percent, and 1.29 percent higher, respectively, equating to the most recent estimate of national GDP growth. 
  • Additional Earnings for Women—Without these bans and restrictions, employed women aged 15 to 44 would earn significantly more annually, contributing to economic stability and growth. 

“States that insist on restricting women’s reproductive freedoms are hurting everyone who lives there,” said Kate Bahn, IWPR chief economist and senior vice president of research. “Women are key drivers of the American economy; the more far right lawmakers block access to reproductive health services and hinder the ability of women to participate in the workforce, the more local communities and families suffer. It is a classic lose-lose situation: these laws harm women and hurt state economies in the process.” 

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research strives to win economic equity for all women and eliminate barriers to their full participation in society. As a leading national think tank, IWPR builds evidence to shape policies that grow women’s power and influence, close inequality gaps, and improve the economic well-being of families. Learn more and follow us onTwitter.