States With Abortion Bans Are Among Least Supportive for Mothers and Children


HR King
May 29, 2001
In Mississippi, which brought the abortion case that ended Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court, Gov. Tate Reeves vowed that the state would now “take every step necessary to support mothers and children.”
Today, however, Mississippi fares poorly on just about any measure of that goal. Its infant and maternal mortality rates are among the worst in the nation.
State leaders have rejected the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, leaving an estimated 43,000 women of reproductive age without health insurance. They have chosen not to extend Medicaid to women for a full year after giving birth. And they have a welfare program that gives some of the country’s least generous cash assistance — a maximum of $260 a month for a poor mother raising two children.
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Mississippi embodies a national pattern: States that have banned abortion, or are expected to, have among the nation’s weakest social services for women and children, and have higher rates of death for infants and mothers.

According to a New York Times analysis, the 24 states that have banned abortion (or probably will) fare worse on a broad range of outcomes than states where abortion will probably remain legal, including child and maternal mortality, teenage birthrates and the share of women and children who are uninsured. The states likely to ban abortion either have laws predating Roe that ban abortion; have recently passed stringent restrictions; or have legislatures that are actively considering new bans.
The majority of these states have turned down the yearlong Medicaid postpartum extension. Nine have declined the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, which provides health care to the poor. None offer new parents paid leave from work to care for their newborns.
“The safety net is woefully inadequate,” said Carol Burnett, who works with poor and single mothers as executive director of the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative, a nonprofit. “All of these demonstrated state-level obstacles prevent moms from getting the help they need, the health care they need, the child care they need.”

Ranks with asterisks are based on fewer than 20 deaths and may be unreliable. States with identical values are assigned sequential rankings in alphabetical order.​

Many anti-abortion activists have acknowledged that improving the health and livelihoods of mothers and young children is an important goal for their movement: “This has been my lecture to the pro-life movement for the last year,” said Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life. “No woman stands alone in the post-Roe America.”
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But in many of these states, skepticism of government aid runs as deep as opposition to abortion. And racism has played a role over generations in weakening safety nets for all poor residents, researchers and historians say.

Studies have repeatedly found that states where the safety net is less generous and harder to access tend to be those with relatively more Black residents. That has further implications for Black women, who have a maternal mortality rate nationally that is nearly three times that of white women.

States that have committed to universal pre-K but have not yet implemented it are included. States with minimum wage+ are those that guarantee more than the federal $7.25 hourly minimum.​

Social spending is not the only answer to poverty and poor public health, and some in the anti-abortion movement stress that they want to help women and children — just not with more government spending. But there is a strong link between state policy choices and outcomes for mothers and children, researchers have found.
Perhaps the clearest example is health insurance. Numerous studies have tied it to improved health and financial security for poor Americans. Since 2014, states have had the option to expand their Medicaid programs to cover nearly all poor adults, with the federal government paying 90 percent or more of the cost. But nine of the states planning to ban abortion have not expanded it, citing opposition to Obamacare, which Republicans have long vowed to repeal; a disinclination to offer health benefits to poor Americans who do not work; or concerns about the 10 percent of the bill left to state governments to finance.
“Closing the Medicaid gap is the first and best option for women’s health care,” said Allison Orris, a senior fellow focused on health policy at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
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Since 2021, states have also had the choice to expand Medicaid to cover women for a full year after a birth instead of two months. Just 16 states have declined to do so or opted for a shorter period — all but three of them are also banning or seeking to ban abortion.

Women who are poor and pregnant are eligible for Medicaid across the country, and the program pays for four in 10 births nationwide. But health experts say it also matters that women are covered for an extended period after birth, and for the years leading up to pregnancy. Conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and substance abuse can lead to pregnancy complications and poor infant health. Research suggests that Medicaid expansion can reduce maternal mortality. Medicaid also pays for contraception.

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HR All-American
Jan 23, 2018
Nice piece, and imo it highlights well how, as the issue is left to the political process to resolve, the pro life side is going to have to put up or shut up and spend less money on lawyers and more on mothers. Otherwise, they’ll eventually lose more than they win in legislatures. Intersstingly, Susan b Anthony list has made a noticeable pivot to this effect in their messaging (though I don’t trust Marjorie any farther than I could throw her).


HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
Increasing the support for parents and children should have been done all along.

You can't support parents and children without spending money and charity will likely never be able to raise enough to provide adequate care for everyone.

This is why people should be pro-life for the whole life.
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HR Legend
Gold Member
Jul 10, 2002
That's because it isn't about saving lives, it's about control. If it was actually about saving lives, they'd include pre/post natal care, food/housing/day care assistance, health care for the mother, day care/preschool/education funding increases, etc.

They'd also include free/low cost birth control (you know, to prevent unwanted pregnancies BEFORE they happen), exceptions for the life of the mother in abortion bills, etc.

Not including any of that is because they ONLY believe in post marital sex (despite their own personal experiences) and sex should ONLY be for procreation. So, the abortion ban is punishment for women having sex.