Arizona Supreme Court Returns Women’s Health Rights to the 19th Century

April 9, 2024

The Grand Canyon Institute expresses deep distress over the implications for women’s health and rights in response to the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a territorial-era law from 1864 that bans nearly all abortions. This ruling poses a significant threat to reproductive freedom and will have profound economic consequences for individuals and families across the state.

While the immediate harm will be experienced by women denied access to healthcare, today’s decision will have negative repercussions for all Arizonans. An analysis published in January 2024 by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) sheds light on the ongoing impact of abortion restrictions, highlighting the negative impacts of such policies on economic prosperity in addition to women’s health. Women constitute a considerable segment of the workforce; restrictions on healthcare access harm not only women and their families but also have adverse effects on local economies. 

This research emphasizes, in the two years before Roe was overturned, the economic toll of abortion restrictions (e.g., required ultrasound), estimating an average annual cost of $173 billion to the United States economy due to reduced labor force participation, earnings levels, and increased turnover among women. This figure understates the substantial economic repercussions of post-Roe abortion bans. Arizona already was facing an average annual economic loss of $4.5 billion, equivalent to 1% of the state’s GDP due to its restrictive measures.

If reproductive health restrictions were removed nationwide, almost 597,000 additional women would join the nation’s labor force each year. The national GDP would experience an increase of nearly 0.7%, and employed women aged 15 to 44 would collectively earn an extra $4.3 billion annually.

“By allowing a 160-year-old law to take precedence over the 15-week law passed two years ago, the Arizona Supreme Court has condemned pregnant people to healthcare restrictions reminiscent of an era when slavery remained Constitutionally endorsed” states Dave Wells, research director of the Grand Canyon Institute. “The Court’s decision will also have significant economic consequences for the state.  The Institute for Women’s Policy Research has found that our previous restrictive abortion laws already result in an estimated economic cost of $4.5 billion annually. This cost will certainly increase going forward and will be felt by all Arizonans.”

The Grand Canyon Institute emphasizes the importance of safeguarding reproductive rights. As an organization deeply committed to advancing evidence-based policymaking, we are actively engaging in research to further understand the detrimental effects of abortion restrictions on the Arizona economy. This is an area of research we are currently prioritizing, recognizing the profound economic implications of restrictive reproductive health policies.


For more information, contact:

Dave Wells, Ph.D., Research Director

602.595.1025, Ext. 2,