The Staggering Costs of Childbirth Are Even More Disturbing in a Post-Roe U.S.

More and more Americans are losing the ability to safely terminate a pregnancy in their state, yet the costs associated with giving birth remain sky-high.

A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that the average out-of-pocket cost of pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care for insured Americans is a whopping $2,854. That total can scale up or down depending on factors like how a baby is delivered — so, vaginal birth versus a C-section delivery — or if the pregnancy was high-risk.

KFF’s new research comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling that protected abortion access throughout the United States.

Immediately following Roe’s demise, 13 U.S. states and counting have enacted laws banning or severely restricting abortions. Thirteen more Republican-led states are certain or likely to follow suit, meaning Americans in more than half the country could have to travel out of state to lawfully terminate a pregnancy.

Meanwhile, previous KFF analysis from March estimated that 45 percent of single-person households in America don’t have $2,000 readily available to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. 

Translation? Nearly half the country can’t afford the costs associated with seeing an unwanted pregnancy through. And that’s without even considering lost income for people whose jobs don’t offer paid parental leave — or the countless costs associated with actually raising a child.

“There will be more women who end up carrying a birth to term because they were not able to access a timely abortion or an abortion at all,” Cynthia Cox, a vice president at KFF and author of the July report, told The 19th News. “And so what that can mean is that they have very significant costs.”This sobering reality underscores the importance of the continued fight for reproductive justice. Nobody should be made to go into medical debt because they weren’t able to terminate a pregnancy. Abortion is health care, period. It’s as simple as that.

Before you go, check out these powerful stories of celebrities talking about their abortions:

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