The decision is widely thought to be more ideologically and politically motivated, rather than driven by an attempt to protect women from worse outcomes. Those might include financial hardship, restricted ability to attain a higher education and move up the socio-economic ladder, as well as overall poorer health outcomes for women reliant on clinics for preventative care. All of this would affect the state of the workforce, economic output and increase the need for government support, economists say.
The consequences are likely so extensive and far-reaching that it is hard to quantify them, said Jason Lindo, professor of economics at Texas A&M.
The economic burden
Taking away a woman’s right to choose if and when she has a child has serious consequences for her career and economic circumstances, Lindo told CNN Business.
“Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive health care, including abortion, helped lead to increased labor force participation,” Yellen said. “It enabled many women to finish school. That increased their earning potential. It allowed women to plan and balance their families and careers.”
Women who were denied an abortion, meanwhile, had higher rates of poverty, higher unemployment and greater need for government assistance. This, in turn, affects the economic well-being and prospects of their children, according to economists.
“There is a huge [body of] literature showing long-run effects of the economic circumstances of the household in which a child grows up. On educational attainment, adult earnings, use of social assistance programs, involvement in crime, etc. The list goes on and on,” said Lindo.
Health and safety
Economists are also worried that overall female health care will suffer as a result of restricting or prohibiting abortions. For many women, clinics that offer family planning services are often also the local option for preventative care, including cancer screenings and pap tests. Having easy access to these clinics plays a crucial role in their health care.
“When distance to the nearest clinic increases, rates of preventative care go down,” said David Slusky, associate professor of economics at the University of Kansas. And that can lead to worse health outcomes.
“If a woman of childbearing age dies, it has enormous economic consequences,” he added. “It’s someone who society has invested in and who has many productive economic years ahead of them.”