Study estimates nearly 65,000 pregnancies from rape happened in states with abortion bans

FILE-People take part in a march for abortion rights from Pershing Square to City Hall in Los Angeles, April 15, 2023. (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

Thousands of pregnancies resulting from rapes occurred in states that have abortion bans following the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a new study

In a report published by Journal of the American of Medical Association (JAMA), researchers collected data using federal surveys on crime and sexual violence to assess the number of rape-related pregnancies between July 1, 2022 and Jan. 1, 2024. 

Findings from the report revealed that 519,981 completed rapes took place during that time, with 64,565 pregnancies. Separately, an estimated 5,586 rape-related pregnancies took place in states with abortion bans that included exceptions for rape, the study noted. 

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The report states that thousands of girls and women in states that banned abortion experienced rape-related pregnancy, but few (if any) victims received an in-state abortion legally and suggests that "rape exceptions fail to provide reasonable access to abortion for survivors."

Fourteen states with abortion bans listed in the report are Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

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According to the study, Texas is estimated to have had the highest rate of rape-related pregnancies at 26,313.

Researchers also acknowledge that there were limitations to their report offering that they used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which they explain provides the most accurate stats on rapes but state that it can be challenging to accurately calculate in their survey. 

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The team concluded their report by writing "the large number of estimated rape-related pregnancies in abortion ban states compared with the 10 or fewer legal abortions per month occurring in each of those states indicates that persons who have been raped and become pregnant cannot access legal abortions in their home state, even in states with rape exceptions."

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.