Deep Dive

Happy Birthday, Dobbs - Tens of Thousands of Babies Saved Over Last Year - Here Are the Stats


A year ago today, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization changed the world.

With the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade, the slaughter of preborn children had been deemed a constitutional right. This made the U.S. one of the world leaders in liberalizing abortion at the time, according to PBS.

Nearly 50 years later, the Dobbs decision overturned this precedent, returning the decision to legalize or ban abortion to the state level, allowing the U.S.’s more conservative states to enshrine into law protections for children in the womb.

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Thirteen states even had “trigger laws” in place long before the Dobbs ruling, creating abortion restrictions and bans set to go into effect after the overturning of Roe. According to an Associated Press report from Thursday, over the past year, half of all U.S. states passed laws either banning or restricting abortion access.

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But were those efforts successful? Did the Dobbs decision actually save lives?

The answer is complicated because, while conservative states have gone far toward protecting preborn life, pro-abortion lawmakers in Democrat-run states have been doing their best to even things out.

As revealed in the Associated Press’s Thursday report, “as some states restricted abortion, others locked in access.” While 25 states enacted restrictions and bans, 20 others passed abortion protections via various constitutional amendments and new laws.

Many women crossed state lines in order to access abortions. In some cases, funds were set up via employers and other pro-abortion organizations in order to help pay for the travel expenses of such women.

Should elective abortion be outlawed in every state?

So, then, how do the final numbers shake out?

How Many Lives Were Saved by Dobbs?

Though the Associated Press notes that such numbers are hard to come by, the Society of Family Planning (a pro-abortion organization) has been tracking the rate of abortions since Dobbs via the #WeCount project.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a self-described “independent source for health” issues, SFP is one of three reliable “major data sources on abortion incidence” and the only one of the three with data from 2023.

#WeCount uses self-reported data from abortion providers across the country in order to zero in on how many abortions have occurred per month across the country since Dobbs.

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On June 15, 2023, the project’s most current data — comparing the average monthly rate of abortions in the two months before the court’s decision with March 2023 — was released.

According to that report, Dobbs has without a doubt been a resounding victory for the pro-life movement.

Between April and May 2022, the average number of abortions was 81,730. As state-level pro-life laws continued to roll out over the next nine months, the number of abortions dropped by an average of 2,849 per month.

From July 2022 to March 2023, according to the report, 25,640 pre-born lives were saved.

“Even nine months after the Court’s decision, the increase in numbers of abortions in states where abortion was permitted did not compensate for the reductions in states where abortion was banned,” the report said.

In states with total abortion bans, 65,920 fewer abortions occurred over those months.

The Next Abortion Battleground

Now, there is a shocking trend that may shift the tide in the coming years: self-managed abortions. These abortions occur outside the health system and are now easier than ever to conduct, due to abortion medication that can be sent in the mail.

Given the nature of these abortions, they are nearly impossible to trace. Presumably, a woman could order a pill and conduct a self-managed abortion without anyone ever finding out she was pregnant in the first place.

Even before Dobbs, self-managed abortions were on the rise, though as of 2019 they were “probably not a significant driver of the overall decline” in the number of reported abortions as reported by the Guttmacher Institute.

The non-profit group Aid Access was created in 2018 for the sole purpose of mailing abortion medication to individuals across the U.S. and even the world.

“Aid Access works with doctors overseas and in states with shield laws, which are intended to bar abortion-related investigations by other states. Those doctors prescribe the medications and Aid Access ships them,” the Associated Press reported.

“It saw requests in a sample of 30 states more than double from before a draft of the Dobbs ruling was leaked last year until it became official and bans started taking effect.”

According to the #WeCount report, Aid Access has received roughly 6,500 abortion medication requests per month since the Dobbs decision, though it remains completely unknown how many requests were fulfilled.

Some women could be ordering pills ahead of time as a precaution, while others may receive their pills and decide not to follow through with taking them. There is simply no way to know how many abortions are taking place from only that one number of requests.

Nevertheless, self-managed and illegal abortions appear to be a growing problem, and one that’s not going away anytime soon.

In April, the Supreme Court rejected a lower court’s decision to restrict one of the drugs used for such abortions.

Now that Roe v. Wade is out of the way, thousands of lives are being saved. If the pro-life movement hopes for this trend to continue, this emerging crisis will need to be addressed.

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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