Researchers at the Michigan State University found that 21.6% of Michigans, predominantly women, are wanting to live “childfree” in a survey of 1,500 adults.
The study was published on Monday, nearly two months after the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the abortion law — which has sparked controversy and discussions on birth control since then.
“Following the US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, a large number of Americans are now at risk of being forced to have children despite not wanting them,” said Jennifer Watling Neal, associate professor in the psychology department at MSU and co-author of the study, in a university release.
Regardless, 1.7 million people in Michigan aren’t interested in having their own children and if the pattern exists nationally, that would mean nearly 50 to 60 million Americans are wanting to live childfree.
“People — especially women — who say they don’t want children are often told they’ll change their mind, but the study found otherwise,” said Neal, associate professor in the psychology department at MSU and co-author of the study.
“People are making the decision to be childfree early in life, most often in their teens and twenties. And, it’s not just young people claiming they don’t want children. Women who decided in their teens to be childfree are now, on average, nearly 40 and still do not have children.”
But if other precedents are overturned and birth control becomes harder to access, many American women who have decided against pregnancy may be forced to birth against their will.