New Peer-Reviewed Study Debunks Myth of Abortion as “Normative” for Mothers

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

Analysis of Millions of Pregnancies in 17 States With Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Finds Mothers With Both Births and Abortions Are “Rare”


Washington, D.C.A new peer-reviewed study of nearly eight million pregnancies debunks the abortion industry narrative that abortion is a normative experience for mothers, finding that mothers with both births and abortions are rare.


The new study, authored by Dr. James Studnicki and a team of Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) scholars, revealed that out of nearly five million Medicaid-enrolled women with at least one pregnancy, less than 6% had both births and abortions.  Researchers also found that women in the study population almost never used abortion as a tool to space their children.


CLI President Charles A. “Chuck” Donovan said:


“The abortion industry wants America to believe that abortion is a normal experience for mothers.  They want to make it acceptable to target vulnerable women and children by citing estimates and surveys conducted at abortion centers to support the narrative that ‘everybody is doing it.’  This new peer-reviewed research proves those narratives simply aren’t true.


“What Dr. Studnicki and his team have done is truly remarkable.  This peer-reviewed research is based on nearly five million women who had nearly eight million pregnancies.  By comparison, the frequently cited ‘Turnaway Study’ from the abortion industry is based on interviews with just 813 women.


“Most mothers are not undergoing abortions.  We know that instinctively.  We know that based on logic.  Now, we know it based on data.”


The paper, titled “Estimating the Period Prevalence of Mothers Who Have Abortions:  A Population Based Study of Inclusive Pregnancy Outcomes,” was recently published in the international peer-reviewed journal Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology.  In addition to Dr. Studnicki, CLI scholars Dr. John Fisher, Tessa Longbons, Dr. David Reardon, Christopher Craver, Dr. Donna Harrison, Dr. Maka Tsulukidze, and Dr. Ingrid Skop conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional, longitudinal analysis of the pregnancy outcome sequences (their patterns of births, abortions, and pregnancy losses) experienced by 4.9 million Medicaid-enrolled women who had 7.8 million pregnancies between 1999 and 2014.  These women were at least 13 years old, had at least one identifiable pregnancy outcome, and were from the 17 states whose official policies use state taxpayer funds to pay for abortions.


Key findings include:


  • Abortion is not a ‘normative experience’ for mothers:
    • Only 5.7% of the Medicaid-eligible study population had both births and state-funded abortions.
    • Mothers without abortions had 92.8% of total births compared to only 7.2% of total births to mothers who also had state-funded abortions.
  • Women with both births and abortions have more abortions than births:
    • Women in the study population who had both births and state-funded abortions averaged 3.2 pregnancies, or more than twice the average number of pregnancies for women with “only births” or “only state-funded abortions.”
    • CLI peer-reviewed research published in June found that rapid repeat pregnancy was most common among women who had abortions.
  • Abortion was rarely used to support healthy families or space out children:
    • Abortions that could have been performed to delay a first birth (2.2%), space two births (1.0%), or end childbearing (3.0%) were rare.


Dr. James Studnicki, CLI vice president and director of data analytics, explained:


“After studying the largest universe of actual pregnancy outcomes ever analyzed, our team found that abortion is in no way typical of motherhood.  We didn’t sample or conduct surveys – we analyzed all recorded events.   We followed the data.  It is quite uncommon, if not rare, to have both births and abortions.  The overwhelming number of children are born to mothers who never have an abortion.”


This latest study expands on an ongoing series of CLI research led by Dr. Studnicki analyzing Medicaid claims data to shed light on pregnancy outcome patterns.  The first study, “Pregnancy Outcome Patterns of Medicaid Eligible Women, 1999-2014:  A National Prospective Longitudinal Study,” was published online in the journal Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology in July 2020.  The second study, “Estimating the Period Prevalence of Publicly Funded Abortion to Space Live Births, 1999-2014,” was published online in the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health in May 2021.


Charlotte Lozier Institute was launched in 2011 as the education and research arm of Susan B. Anthony List.  CLI is a hub for research and public policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States and nations around the world.  The Institute is named for a feminist physician known for her commitment to the sanctity of human life and equal career and educational opportunities for women. 




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