Attorney general Leslie Rutledge certifying the abortion ban in Arkansas on June 24, 2022. An effort is underway to allow abortion access in some instances. Brian Chilson/Stephanie Smittle

Just ahead of the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a study out this morning from the Gender Equity Policy Institute (GEPI) finds that mothers are more than twice as likely to die while pregnant or giving birth if they live in states that ban abortion. That means Arkansans, particularly Black Arkansans. Other findings:


The study classified states as either supportive, restrictive or banned based on their support for access to abortion and reproductive care, then compared stats from those states, measuring indicators of reproductive and sexual health like contraception access and use, teen births, maternal mortality, and newborn and child mortality.

Natalia Vega Varela, senior researcher at GEPI and lead author of the report, said the study was important because it establishes a baseline for measuring the Dobbs decision’s impact on the health of pregnant people — and the disparities in access to care. “To assess the impact on women’s health and well-being post-Dobbs, it is critical that we track the data,” Varela said. “This year’s study is designed to establish the baseline for that ongoing assessment. In short, it answers a critical question: Before the constitutional right to abortion was stripped away by the Supreme Court, what was the state of reproductive and sexual health in the U.S?”


“This report uncovers a sobering truth,” Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said. “Women and pregnant people living in states that ban abortion face dangerous and sometimes deadly outcomes at a much higher rate than their counterparts in states where abortion is legal. That’s because states hostile to abortion are, in fact, hostile to pregnant people. It’s just that simple and just that horrifying. This is the beginning of the post-Roe world, and the only way to stop these worrying trends from continuing is to ensure everyone has access to the care they need — including abortion.”