Republican Report Shows Abortions Cost America Trillions Annually

Republicans on the Congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC), led by ranking member Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), released a report last Wednesday on the costs borne by Americans as a result of abortions. In 2019 alone, the almost 630,000 abortions performed in the country cost the U.S. around $6.9 trillion.

The report is titled “The Economic Cost of Abortion,” and responds directly to claims by government economists like Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that abortion restrictions would have a negative effect on the U.S. economy.

The Democratic economists argue generally that reducing abortions would hurt women’s outcomes in the labor market. The GOP report says the Democrat arguments “overlook the far greater economic cost” that abortions cause by taking away the lives of the unborn.

The Republican JEC report uses a methodology that is materially different from previous government studies. It analyzes the cost of abortion from the perspective of the lives lost to abortions.

The report says that by using standard valuation methods like those found in studies regarding mortality risks associated with policy decisions, the estimated economic loss caused by abortions in 2019 came in at $6.9 trillion.

That amounts to 32% of America’s entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that year. It is also 425 times greater than the $16.2 billion in lost earnings that new mothers would have been expected to incur over the first six years of the lives of the children lost to abortions.

The report also says that abortions shrink the available labor force. Of the 63 million babies legally aborted since the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, it is estimated that around 45 million would now be of working age if they had been allowed to be born and survived until the current year. That would provide for a U.S. labor force about 20% greater than we actually have.

The loss of the unborn also weakens the economic position of Social Security and Medicare, according to the report. The demographic shifts toward an increasingly older population will make it much more difficult for the relatively lower number of young Americans to provide care and financial support for the elderly.

The report found that the U.S. fertility rate was 1.7 live births per woman as of 2021. That is far below the 2.1 needed in order to simply maintain current population levels over time.

The report concludes by arguing that the claims that abortions help the U.S. economy fail to “recognize the cost of abortion to unborn babies and to society more broadly.” The GOP members say that the “costs far outweigh the short run labor market benefits.”