The states where abortion is prohibited are among the least supportive of mothers and children

In Mississippi, which brought the abortion case that ended Roe v. Wade to the Supreme Court, Governor Tate Reeves pledged that the state would “Take all necessary steps to support mothers and children. “

Today, however, Mississippi performs poorly on almost any measure for this goal. Infant and maternal mortality rates are among the worst in the country.

State leaders refused to expand Medicaid into the Affordable Care Act, leaving what is estimated 43,000 women of childbearing age Without health insurance. They have chosen not to extend Women’s Medicaid for a full year after giving birth. And they have a sponsorship program that offers some of the least generous cash assistance in the country – max. $260 per month A poor mother raises two children.

Mississippi embodies a national pattern: states that have outlawed abortion, or are expected to have among the weakest social services in the country for women and children, and have higher rates of infant and maternal mortality.

According to a New York Times analysis, the 24 states that have outlawed abortion are (or will probably do) worse off on a wide range of outcomes than states where abortion is likely to remain legal, including infant and maternal mortality, teenage birth rates, and the proportion of women . and uninsured children. States likely to ban abortion have either pre-Roe laws banning abortion; have recently bypassed strict restrictions; Or have legislatures actively considering new bans.

Most of these states have refused to extend the period of postpartum Medicare for a year. Nine of them refused to expand Medicaid, which provides health care to the poor. None of the new parents offer paid time off work to care for their newborn.

said Carol Burnett, who works with poor and single mothers as CEO of Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative, a non-profit organization. “All of these state-proven obstacles are preventing mothers from getting the help they need, the health care they need, and the childcare they need.”

Many anti-abortion activists have acknowledged improving the health and livelihoods of mothers and young children as an important goal of their movement: “This was my lecture for the pro-life movement last year,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of lifelong students. “No woman stands alone in post-Roe America.”

Social spending is not the only solution to poverty and poor public health, and some in the anti-abortion movement stress that they want to help women and children — not just through more government spending. Researchers have found a strong link between state policy choices and outcomes for mothers and children.

Perhaps the clearest example of this is health insurance. Many studies She linked it to improving the health and financial security of poor Americans. Since 2014, countries have had a choice Expand their Medicaid programs To cover nearly all poor adults, the federal government pays 90 percent or more of the cost. But nine states planning abortion bans haven’t expanded it, citing it Opposition to Obamacare, which Republicans have long vowed to abolish; Unwillingness to provide health benefits to poor Americans who do not work; or Concerns about 10 percent of the bill is up to state governments to fund it.

“Bridging the Medicaid gap is the first and best choice for women’s health care,” said Alison Oris, a senior fellow who focuses on health policy at the Left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Since 2021, states have also had the option to expand Medicaid to cover women for a full year after giving birth instead of two months. Only 16 states have refused to do so or opted for a shorter period – and all but three of them ban or seek to ban abortion.

Poor and pregnant women are eligible for Medicaid nationwide, and the program pays for it Four out of 10 births nationwide. But health experts say it’s also important for women to be covered long after giving birth, and for the years before they become pregnant. Conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and substance abuse can lead to pregnancy complications and the deterioration of infant health. Research indicates that expanding Medicaid can Reducing maternal mortality. Medicaid also pays for contraception.

Other examples are paid family leave and subsidized childcare. None of the states that have banned abortion (or are likely to) guarantee parents paid time off from work to care for and communicate with their newborns. Just 11 states and the District of Columbia an act. Paid Vacation Offered Benefit infant health and mothers Physical and mental health as well as them Economic prospects.

In most states, there is no guaranteed childcare for children until they enter kindergarten at age five. Subsidies available to low-income families Coverage Small piece of eligible children, range from Less than 4 percent in Arkansas (which now bans abortion) to more than 17 percent in Vermont (which has passed abortion rights legislation).

In many states, benefits also present a dilemma: Parents have to work to get them, yet they can’t find or start work without childcare. add some countries Other obstacles. Mississippi requires single mothers to apply for child support from fathers before they can receive benefits. Also, a job that pays the minimum wage — which is no higher than the federal minimum of $7.25 in 20 states — doesn’t necessarily pay enough to cover even subsidized care.

Family support varies in some states Once children reach 3 or 4 years old. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia offer or have committed to offering universal kindergarten. Unlike other family benefits, anti-abortion states are almost as likely as other states to offer public custody. Six of these 13 states prohibit abortion or may do so.

“This is consistent with the view that education is a public responsibility,” said Stephen Barnett, senior co-director of the National Research Institute for Early Education at Rutgers, while other safety net programs fall “beyond the acceptable range of public responsibility in conservative states.”

Poor countries may have fewer resources to fund benefits such as parental leave, or State Supplement to the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit. But what they choose to do with federal grants can reveal what they choose to do with federal grants, said Zachary Parolin, a professor of social policy at Milan’s Bocconi University, who has studied how states use the broad discretion granted to them through the Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families.

“You can’t say that Alabama is providing very little cash assistance to low-income families with children because they can’t afford the program,” said Mr. Parolin. “It has a TANF program, and it’s primarily funded by the federal government.”

But in 2020, only Alabama spent About 8 percent of social welfare funds direct cash assistance to families. Mississippi spent 5 percent. Instead, states often spend these grants on a wide range of other programs such as pro-marriage advertising campaigns and abstinence-only sex education (in 2020, a state auditor in Mississippi found that The state missed spending millions of federal welfare dollarsincluding speeches he never gave Former midfielder Brett Favre).

Mr. Parolin’s research has shown that states with more black populations Tend to spend as little as possible on cash assistanceThis widens the poverty gap in America between black and white children. Likewise, the Times analysis found that states likely to ban abortion allocate a smaller share of welfare funds for basic assistance.

Countries with less generous safety net programs often use safety nets Complex rules and papers to me More limit access to benefitssaid Sarah Broch, professor of social policy and sociology at the University of Delaware. She said states can help women and families, not only by increasing investment in the safety net, but also by making it easier to find and use them.

Angela Rashidi, a senior fellow who studies poverty programs and safety nets at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, said government has some role to play, but not alone: ​​“We have a broader responsibility as a society — employers, churches, and community organizations — to ensure that mothers feel that they They can bring these children into the world.”

Evidence so far indicates that these organizations You will struggle to meet the growing need.

After the Supreme Court’s decision, other governors who banned abortion declared their commitment to pregnant women and children. C books. Kevin State, Governor of Oklahoma, “Being pro-life entails more than being ‘pro-birth,'” in executive order Signed on 11 July.

Oklahoma ranks among the lowest ten states in terms of measures of child poverty, infant mortality, and the proportion of women of childbearing age without health insurance.

In Texas on the day of the sentencing, Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement that the state had “prioritized support for health care for women and pregnant mothers in need.” “We look forward to continuing to work with the legislature to ensure the health of all Texas women and their families,” the governor’s press secretary, Rina Eazy, said Wednesday.

Mr. Abbott referred to Texas’ decision to give mothers six months of postpartum medical coverage. The state declined the full-year coverage provided by the federal government. Texans have also used techniques to Disinfect children from Medicaid coverage Expiry of paperwork. It has a higher rate of uninsured children and women of childbearing age than any other country.

In its legislation restricting abortion, Texas allocated $100 million over two years to a program that connects women with counseling, education, and supplies, called Abortion Alternatives. This funding pales in comparison to another interest that Texas has rejected – the An estimated $6 billion in federal money each year He loses by choosing not to expand Medicaid.

Josh Katz Contribute to the preparation of reports.


Summary table:

Sources: Poverty data (2019) from the American Community Survey. Uninsurance Data (2019) from ACS; Data for Low Birth Weight Babies (2019) from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Teen Birth Data (2019) from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Maternal mortality data (2018-20) from the Centers for Disease Control; infant mortality data (2018-19) from the Centers for Disease Control; Medicaid Extension (2022) data from the Kaiser Family Foundation; Paid leave data (2022) from the National Partnership for Women and the Family; Pre-kindergarten data (2022) from the National Early Education Research Institute; Minimum wage data (2022) from the Ministry of Labor.

Table of results: Maternal mortality data (2018-20) from the Centers for Disease Control; Infant mortality data (2018-2019) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Poverty data from the ACS (2019); Uninsurance data from ACS (2019).

Policy table: Medicaid Extension (2022) data from the Kaiser Family Foundation; Paid leave data (2022) from the National Partnership for Women and the Family; Pre-kindergarten data (2022) from the National Early Education Research Institute; Minimum wage data (2022) from the Ministry of Labor.