Close to 60,000 women became pregnant from rape in states where sexual assault is not considered a valid reason for an abortion after the end of Roe v Wade, a study has suggested.

Researchers found that of 519,981 rapes in 14 states with abortion restrictions, there were 64,000 pregnancies between July 1, 2022 and January 1, 2024.

Some 91 percent of these – or around 58,979 – occurred in states where rape is not an exception to abortion.

Montana abortion provider Dr Samuel Dickman, lead author of the study, said he was ‘horrified’ at the results. 

‘To be confronted with these estimates that are so high in states where there’s no meaningful abortion access? It’s hard to comprehend,’ he said.

Following the US Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade, 14 states implemented near-total abortion bans during any point in pregnancy.

More than 60,000 women became pregnant from rape in states where sexual assault is not considered a valid reason for an abortion after the end of Roe v Wade, research has suggested

More than 60,000 women became pregnant from rape in states where sexual assault is not considered a valid reason for an abortion after the end of Roe v Wade, research has suggested

Following the US Supreme Court ¿s 2022 Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade, 14 states implemented near-total abortion bans during any point in pregnancy

Following the US Supreme Court ’s 2022 Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade, 14 states implemented near-total abortion bans during any point in pregnancy

Because no recent, reliable state-level data on rapes was available, the researchers, from Montana, Texas and New York, analyzed multiple data sources to estimate reported and unreported rapes in states with total abortion bans.

They also estimated the number of resulting pregnancies based on findings from prior research on rape-related pregnancy rates.

To estimate the number of rapes nationally, the team looked at the CDC’s 2016 to 2017 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence survey, which estimated not sexual assaults reported to law enforcement and those that weren’t reported.

They then used Bureau of Justice Statistics data on criminal victimization and FBI Uniform Crime Reports to assess the number of vaginal rapes of women aged 15-45 that happened in the 14 state while abortion bans were in effect.

To gauge rape-related pregnancies, they multiplied the state-level estimate of vaginal rapes by the fraction likely to result in pregnancy, then adjusted for the number of months between July 1, 2022, and January 1, 2024, that a total abortion ban was in effect. The time period varies state to state. 

In the 14 states that put total abortion bans in place, the researchers estimated that 519,981 rapes took place.

They calculated that 12.5 percent of the assaults would result in pregnancy, based on CDC data. 

This gave them the figure of 64,565 pregnancies during the four to 18 months that bans were in effect.

Of these, an estimated 5,586 (nine percent) of rape-related pregnancies occurred in states with rape exceptions, while 58,979 (91 percent) happened in states with no exception.

Some 26,313 (45 percent) of these occurred in Texas alone.

Montana abortion provider Dr Samuel Dickman, lead author of the study, said he was gobsmacked by the team’s findings.

‘I was horrified,’ he said. ‘Sexual assault is incredibly common — I knew that in a general sense. But to be confronted with these estimates that are so high in states where there’s no meaningful abortion access? It’s hard to comprehend.’

Dr Dickman has patients who routinely tell him they became pregnant after a rape. But he knows there are many more.

‘There are certainly far more survivors of rape who become pregnant as a result, who — for totally understandable reasons — don’t want to disclose that fact to a medical provider that they just met,’ he told NPR.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Network.

The 14 states which banned abortion following the overturning of Roe w Wade are: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

States with a rape exception are Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, West Virginia and North Dakota.

The states with no rape exception are Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

Not all of the people who become pregnant due to rape want an abortion, noted Dr Rachel Perry, a professor of OB-GYN at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the study.

‘We do know that those who become pregnant after rape are more likely to choose abortion than to continue their pregnancies,’ she said.

Back in 2022, a 10-year-old-girl had to travel from her home in Ohio to Indiana to receive an abortion after she was raped.

The child was almost six-and-a-half weeks pregnant and could not legally receive an abortion in Ohio due to the state’s ‘fetal heartbeat’ law, which began after the court 

Advocates of abortion rights said the case was an example of how new abortion restrictions were harming the most vulnerable. 

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