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Those states that will be most adversely affected if Roe v. Wade is overturned.


Over the last year, one historic decision has been carried from state to state. Roe v. Wade preserves a pregnant woman’s right to choose whether or not to undergo an abortion. It’s being reviewed by a conservative Supreme Court that now has a supermajority, but reports say it might be struck down at any time as other states bring their own abortion bans to the highest court in the land.

The argument revolves around a Mississippi law passed in 2018 that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Mississippi’s attorney general petitioned the court to uphold the statute rather than overturn Roe v. Wade, arguing that states should have more control over abortion access. The Supreme Court has now agreed to let a Texas statute prohibiting abortions beyond six weeks remain in effect until the lawsuit is settled.

Many types of restrictions have already been implemented in states, including parental consent for young women seeking abortions, bans on telemedicine for medicated abortions, mandated counseling and ultrasounds prior to the procedure, and TRAP laws, which impose burdensome medical standards on abortion clinics, such as hospital admitting privileges. Just as the 2022 legislative session begins, Florida’s state government is debating a 15-week abortion ban.

Those states that will be most adversely affected if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Those states will be most adversely affected if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

In case the Supreme Court decides in 2022 to overturn Roe v. Wade, many states with anti-choice governors or anti-abortion constituents are challenging the ruling by enacting legislation they can’t execute. The landmark Mississippi case isn’t likely to be decided until June 2022, but the pro-life movement is pushing to open the door sooner.

Professor Caitlin Myers of Middlebury College updated a study published in the reproductive health journal Contraception in July 2019 to determine which states would be most affected by this decision. The study looked at the impact of a post-Roe world by looking at state legislation and political climates to see which states are most likely to restrict abortion.

Eight states have so-called “trigger prohibitions,” which would make abortion illegal immediately if Roe v. Wade were overturned. Any state that could soon impose limitations if Roe v. Wade is overturned is classified as “high-risk” based on this and other data. Even though no prohibitions are currently on the books, states might be labeled as “high-risk” if their political climate is hostile to abortion. The study then assessed the number of women who would be affected by an increase in travel time to the nearest abortion clinic in a scenario where all high-risk states prohibit abortion using Census demographic data.

The demographics of the bordering states are enough to reduce abortion access by almost 1000 percent. Continue reading to find out which states will be hardest hit if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

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