Abortion Is Power

commentary

(Bloomberg)

Demonstrators protest outside the United States Supreme Court as the court overturns the Roe v. Wade decision in Washington, D.C., June 24, 2022, photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Demonstrators protest outside the United States Supreme Court as the court overturns the Roe v. Wade decision in Washington, D.C., June 24, 2022

Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

by Kathryn A. Edwards

July 15, 2022

The Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will affect much more than women's access to abortions. Decades of economic research demonstrate that, by limiting their power over when and with whom they form families and relationships, it will threaten their livelihoods and even their lives.

Arguably the most telling research has nothing to do with abortion at all. It involves divorce, or more specifically a revolution in family law that occurred nearly 50 years ago, about the time of the original Roe v. Wade decision. Instead of requiring both parties to agree to dissolve a marriage, or one party to prove that the other was at fault, states started allowing either spouse to act unilaterally. This gave women more power to leave unhappy or abusive marriages.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at bloomberg.com.


Kathryn Edwards is an economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

This commentary originally appeared on Bloomberg on July 15, 2022. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.