Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Geography Matters

"Mr. Chart" at Power Line - Steven Hayward - has a bar chart that looks at the impact of state restrictions on abortion following the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Apparently the only states included were those which passed legislation following Dobbs or had on-the-books legislation that took effect when Dobbs was announced, some 13 states in total.

For each state the bar has two parts, that on the left represents the increase in births, that on the right represents the reduction in number of abortions done in that state. I got interested in the relative proportions of the two components of the bars. Be aware that total length of bar is somewhat proportional to state population, TX has a lot of folks, while WV and SD have few.

Why, for example, did a reasonable reduction in abortions produce almost no increase in births in South Dakota, Missouri, Idaho, and Arkansas? A substantially larger ratio of births to foregone abortions in Tennessee, Texas, and Louisiana? 

My hypothesis is that the greater distance a pregnant woman had to travel to reach a state with easy abortion access the less likely she was to drive or be driven there to have an abortion. When a state was relatively far from states not listed in the chart, more births seemed to occur, relative to abortions foregone.