Life After Roe: Supporting Women and Families Facing Unexpected Pregnancies | American Institute of Enterprise

Key points

  • In the post-Roe vs. Wade world, state governments will review abortion access laws and regulations. All states, whether their elected officials promote access to abortion or decide to restrict access to the procedure, should review laws and programs affecting women facing unexpected pregnancy.
  • For many women, an unexpected pregnancy comes with financial difficulties, health issues, substance use disorders, housing needs, and other challenges. To help these women, states should review delivery and service strategies to ensure women have the support they need for healthy pregnancies and babies, whether they live in states that allow abortion or those who seek to restrict it.
  • The federal government can help by implementing a balanced and pro-family tax credit; increasing funding for existing maternal and child health protection programs; and the creation of a new maternity choice voucher program to provide immediate and additional support to women facing unexpected pregnancies.

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On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruled that the United States Constitution does not protect abortion as a constitutional right, reversing the Court’s previous opinions in Roe vs. Wade and Family planning c. Casey. The Dobbs
The ruling closes the era where abortion policy was set at the national level and begins a new era in which abortion policy will be determined by state legislatures and governors. It also means that federal and state governments will have more to do than just regulate the abortion procedure. Particularly in states likely to restrict abortion, governments will need to undertake a thorough review of the supports and benefits afforded to women who can no longer terminate a pregnancy.

Federal abortion policy has been at the center of social policy debate for decades. The polarized political era in which we live was created and shaped in large part by deer decision itself. As Chief Justice John Roberts said in his Dobbs Okay, this “is a serious jolt to the legal system” – and not just the legal system, but also our political and administrative state.1 Elected officials — local, county, state and federal — who have had the ability to defer to the Court for 50 years on abortion policy now face judgment: They must determine how to shape policies. programs that reflect public attitudes and plan to support low-income pregnant women and their children in jurisdictions where access to abortion is limited or non-existent.

It will be difficult and controversial work – the kind chosen ones, accustomed to symbolic politics channeled through social media, are sorely lacking in practice in the execution. Abandoning women who experience unexpected or unwanted pregnancies to a world in which they can neither have abortions nor find adequate social and financial supports for pregnancy and childbearing seems both contradictory and callous, a betrayal of a true pro-life position. For the pro-life movement, the long-awaited disappearance of deer marks a starting point rather than an ending point.

Dobbs creates new challenges, but it also contains new opportunities to advance the way we support women facing unexpected pregnancies. Now that the constitutional question has been decided, people of good will – pro-life and pro-choice – who share a commitment to the worth and dignity of the human person may be able to work together to craft compromises that affirm the intrinsic value of women. and the children they give birth to.

Tough debates are ahead. If we remain polarized between an unrestricted abortion policy and a sometimes punitive pro-life stance that stresses pregnancy and skimps on financial and social resources, we will only demonstrate that neither side has ever been sincere in his arguments about human dignity or what a compassionate response to dignity entails. life after deer will require open hearts and open checkbooks, public and private, to prove otherwise.

This report outlines some key policies that can provide a foundation for state and federal policymakers to use to build a culture of acceptance and affirmation for mothers facing unplanned pregnancies and the children they bring into the world. The report first examines the current landscape of unexpected pregnancies and abortions, then moves on to a set of policy recommendations that could be used to strengthen the financial and social safety net supporting pregnant women and families. These proposals are far from being exhaustive. In fact, they can only scratch the surface of the compassion and creativity that the moment demands as we move into the post-deer time. But they are a start.

Read the full report.


  1. Nina Totenberg and Sarah McCammon, “Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade, Ending Right to Abortion Upheld for Decades,” National Public Radio, June 24, 2022, -overturn.

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