Study: Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Seekers Are Often Repeat Customers

Medicaid data paint grim picture of a post-Hyde Amendment world

Pro-life and pro-choice protesters in front of the Supreme Court / Getty Images
July 9, 2021

Women receiving taxpayer-funded abortions often get multiple abortions within three years, according to Medicaid records.

A peer-reviewed study found that 60 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries who aborted their first pregnancy went on to abort their next one. This finding has sparked concerns that taxpayer-funded abortions can potentially incentivize the practice among poorer women, as nearly half of abortion patients live below the federal poverty level.

"Taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand often extends or exacerbates real challenges faced by brave women who are being exploited by a predatory abortion industry," Charles Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said. "Pro-choice policymakers should recognize they offer women a poor choice and would do well to focus available resources on real support for women, including pregnancy help centers, community health centers, and other community-based resources that can address underlying needs."

The study reviewed data from 17 states that pay for abortions through Medicaid, a policy that could soon become the norm in America. Democrats, including President Biden, are pushing to expand taxpayer-funded abortion by eliminating the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal tax dollars from directly funding abortions. Tessa Longbons, a research associate with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said the study shows a pattern of struggle among poorer women, contradicting public policy narratives that abortion is empowering.

"[The study] suggests that abortion hasn't been helpful to women: It hasn't been solving their problems and it hasn't been improving their health," she told the Washington Free Beacon. "We hear all the time that abortion is health care but looking at these numbers it's clearly not."

David Reardon of the Elliot Institute and Christopher Craver of the Charlotte Lozier Institute conducted the study. Reardon said his findings are consistent with similar studies, such as one that found that a minority of women who had abortions described the pregnancy as unwanted.

"Building on these earlier studies, our new analysis of the raw Medicaid data suggests that when a woman is pressured into an unwanted first abortion, those same conditions are likely to persist and contribute to rapid repeat second abortions," Reardon said.

American voters widely oppose Democratic positions on abortion, especially the party's defense of late-term abortion and taxpayer funding. A June poll from the Associated Press found that 61 percent of respondents support legal abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy, 34 percent in the second trimester, and 19 percent in the third trimester. A Marist poll in January found that 58 percent of respondents oppose funding abortion with tax dollars. Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project, said the days of pro-choice politicians promoting "safe, legal, and rare" abortions are long gone.

"It has been clear for some time that abortions are very often not safe for women—and of course never safe for the unborn child," Schilling told the Free Beacon. "Now we are finding that legal abortions are also by their very nature not rare; in fact, one abortion frequently leads to another. This assembly line of death may be very profitable for grisly businesses like Planned Parenthood, but it is exacting a terrible cost on our society."