Washington, DC - People seeking abortion in many states would have to travel much farther to get care if federal constitutional protections for abortion are weakened or overturned, according to new Guttmacher Institute data released today. Guttmacher experts predict that if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion.
The new data, presented in an interactive map, show the significant impact on people seeking abortion under three legal scenarios that could become reality in those 26 states—a total ban, a ban at 15 weeks of gestation and a ban at 20 weeks of gestation. For instance, a total ban on abortion would increase the average one-way driving distance to the nearest provider by:
- 630 miles or 1,720% in Louisiana
- 567 miles or 6,803% in Florida
- 525 miles or 3,017% in Texas
- 428 miles or 638% in Mississippi
- 247 miles or 837% in Utah
“It’s a well-known fact that restrictions don’t stop people from needing abortion. Instead, they push care out of reach for many people by making abortion more expensive and logistically challenging to get. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, people seeking abortion will have to travel significantly farther to get care. Worse, states that are likely to ban abortion are clustered together, especially in the South and Midwest, and people might have to cross multiple state lines to reach the nearest provider,” says Dr. Herminia Palacio, President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute. “Increases in driving distances would pose hurdles for many people. However, research shows that some groups of people are disproportionately affected by abortion restrictions—including those with low incomes, people of color, young people, LGBTQ individuals and people in many rural communities.”
The new Guttmacher interactive map also shows states that are not likely to ban abortion and that would have the nearest provider for people impacted by abortion bans. For those states, the map shows the number of reproductive-age women who would find their nearest provider in such states. For instance, the number of women aged 15–49 from out of state for whom the closest abortion provider would be in Kansas would increase by 1,362% to 7.7 million under a total abortion ban in affected states, and the number of women who would find their nearest provider in Illinois would increase by 8,651% to 8.9 million under that scenario.
Roe v. Wade—the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion—is in peril this year. So far in 2021, states have enacted more than 100 abortion restrictions, surpassing the previous record of 89 restrictions set in 2011. One of those restrictions is a Texas law banning abortion at six weeks of gestation that went into effect after the Supreme Court declined to block it. On December 1, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case involving a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.