Still, abortion is still in large part a moral issue, and pro-life advocates remain strongly committed to reducing the number of terminated pregnancies annually.
"We already have 1.2 million abortions a year in this country, which is an astonishing number," says Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, a group that works to eliminate abortions. He believes that combating unwanted pregnancy is a matter of changing people's behavior, rather than turning to "stopgap measures" like abortion and contraception.
As for the economic data presented in ANSIRH's study, Scheidler believes that there are alternatives to looser abortion laws.
"What I think a study like this really points to is the need for economic policies that will provide real opportunity to women so that they won't have to turn to abortion," says Scheidler. He counts among these "authentic health care reform" for an inefficient system. Aside from that, he also says that women facing unwanted pregnancies can turn to charity organizations, including crisis pregnancy centers.
Whether the issue is framed in economic or moral terms, what is certain is that it affects plenty of Americans. According to data from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that studies reproductive issues, around half of American women will have an unintended pregnancy, and by age 45, nearly one-third of American women will have an abortion.
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Danielle Kurtzleben is a business and economics reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CORRECTED ON 11/21/12: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized ANSIRH as a neutral organization. The group tends to do pro-choice work.