Saturday, 23 Sep 2023


Following the Supreme Court's June 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which eliminated a constitutional right to abortion nationwide, more than a dozen US states have banned or severely restricted access to the procedure.

Nine states, including Alabama, Kentucky and Missouri, have banned abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest. Mississippi's near-total ban has an exception for rape but not incest. States where abortion is most limited report higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, as well as greater economic insecurity.

The fight over abortion is well underway in state legislatures. Most recently, Nebraska passed a 12-week abortion ban that takes effect immediately. That same bill restricts gender-affirming care for people younger than 19 years. North Carolina's Republican-led General Assembly voted to ban abortion after 12 weeks starting July 1, overriding a veto of the measure by the state's Democratic governor. Abortion is currently legal through 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Health care providers and abortion activists have continued to file legal challenges to stop bans in several states from being enforced. In South Carolina, the state's Supreme Court overturned a six-week ban in January 2023, concluding in a 3-2 decision that the law violated the state constitution's privacy protections. Georgia's six-week ban was blocked in November by a state court, but days later, Georgia's Supreme Court allowed the ban to go into effect while an appeal by the state plays out. A district judge in Wyoming also temporarily blocked the state's new abortion ban days after it went into effect in March, meaning abortion remains legal until viability for now.

As these legal challenges make their way through the courts, patients seeking access to the procedure must navigate a complicated patchwork of legislation, often requiring them to travel hundreds of miles.

Here's where abortion access currently stands in the United States.

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