State-level legalization of abortion produced a 30-40% decline in non-white maternal mortality, health records from the 1960s and 1970s indicate.

The state-level changes had little impact on overall or white maternal mortality, according to the working paper. The research team shared their findings at the winter meeting of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Maternal mortality declined a hundredfold over the 20th century, yet Black women in the US are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than are white women. The study highlights the impact of legal abortion in reducing non-white maternal mortality through declines in abortion-related deaths and indicates that early state-level legalizations were crucial and, in some cases, more consequential than the landmark Roe v. Wade decision itself.

Read the full article about state-level legalization of abortion by Noelle Toumey Reetz at Futurity.