Without Roe, Here’s Who Could Lose Access to Abortion in the US

Around 64 million women and girls of reproductive age live in the United States, and more than half of them live in states that could seek to ban or further restrict access to abortion if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade.


Likely ban or restriction





33.6 million Reproductive-age women live in states at risk of losing access to abortion

30.7 million live in the remaining states

33.6 million reproductive-age women live

in states at risk of losing access to abortion

30.7 million live in the remaining states


Many of the millions of people who live in these states would be able to seek legal abortions elsewhere, but the barriers to access — including financial resources, time off work and child care — may be hard for some to overcome.

This analysis includes 28 states that could ban or further limit abortion if the Supreme Court were to end Roe v. Wade, a decision it appears prepared to make, according to a leaked draft opinion from the court. But there is a lot of uncertainty about which states would be able to enforce bans, and experts disagree on how quickly they could take an effect.

For example, the analysis includes four “uncertain” states — Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin — that either have pre-Roe bans or other gestational limits on abortion, but whose Democratic governors are working to protect abortion rights or have pledged to oppose abortion anti-abortion bills while they are in office.

Of the 33.6 million women of reproductive age at risk, many live in Texas, which last year banned most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, and in Florida, which recently enacted a 15-week ban that will take effect July 1. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines reproductive age as 15 to 44, though younger girls and older women can get pregnant.)


Women of reproductive age in states that could ban or restrict access to abortion





Four states have pre-Roe bans or other gestational limits on abortion, but their Democratic governors have pledged to oppose anti-abortion bills while they are in office.

Four states have pre-Roe bans or other gestational limits on abortion, but their Democratic governors have pledged to oppose anti-abortion bills while they are in office.


If Roe is overturned and states can set their own limits on abortion, the effects will not be felt equally even within the restrictive states. Some women will cross state lines or order abortion pills online.

But out-of-state travel will pose financial challenges for women living on lower incomes, as well as teenagers, who may depend on family members or friends to drive them or pay for lodging. Undocumented immigrants who cannot risk traveling past checkpoints in states like Texas may also face steep barriers.

“Middle-income and wealthier women will always find a way, whether it’s to another state or even another country,” said Melissa Flournoy, a former Louisiana state traveling legislator and women’s health advocate. “The direct impact is going to be on mostly poor women who have no other options.”

Who risks losing abortion access in their state?

The 28 states that could ban or further restrict abortion have a larger share of white women and girls and a higher level of women in poverty than the states where abortion bans are less likely.

Although their numbers are smaller, Black women and girls make up a larger share of the population in these same 28 states than in the remaining states, in part because a majority of the country’s Black population resides in the South.


Race and ethnicity of women of reproductive age





States where women risk losing abortion access

States where women risk losing abortion access


Note: Women ages 15-44. Data for each group reflects only a single race or ethnicity. Percentages do not sum due to rounding. | Sources: American Community Survey; IPUMS USA, University of Minnesota; Center for Reproductive Rights; Guttmacher Institute

Most women getting abortions are living in poverty or on lower incomes, according to the most recent survey of abortion patients by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group that supports abortion rights.

“People seeking abortion services are disproportionately poor and are more likely experiencing disruptive life events like losing a job,” said Caitlin Knowles Myers, an economics professor at Middlebury College. “It is the most vulnerable of an already vulnerable group that will no longer have access.”


Percentage of women living in poverty





States where women risk losing abortion access

States where women risk losing abortion access


Note: Women ages 15-44. Data is based on the federal poverty thresholds. | Sources: American Community Survey and IPUMS USA, University of Minnesota; Center for Reproductive Rights; Guttmacher Institute

Many of the states that would ban abortion also have policies that make it harder to access health care, and also pregnancy and child care support and services, including expanded Medicaid, said Amanda Jean Stevenson, a demographer at the University of Colorado Boulder, who studies the impact of abortion policies.

“Whether you get health insurance from the state, whether the network of federally qualified health centers in your state is robust enough to actually provide care, whether the schools in your neighborhood are funded enough to provide adequate child care — those things are worse on average in the places where abortion is going to get banned,” Dr. Stevenson said.

Who gets abortions in these states?

Everyone risks losing access to abortion in these 28 states. But those who are more likely to get the procedure include women of color, in part because of unequal access to opportunities like health care, jobs, education and housing.

In Mississippi, for example, 74 percent of women who received an abortion in 2019 were Black, yet Black women make up just 42 percent of the child-bearing population. In Idaho, Hispanic women made up 25 percent of those getting abortions and 15 percent of women and girls of reproductive age.


Race and ethnicity of abortion patients in states that could ban or restrict the procedure






Note: Data for each group reflects only a single race or ethnicity. Data is not available for Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma or Wisconsin. Data in small values ​​is suppressed for confidentiality reasons. | Source: 2019 CDC Abortion Surveillance

Young women in these states — and overall — are more likely to get abortions. Nearly 60 percent are in their 20s.


Age of abortion patients in states that could ban or restrict the procedure






“These are people who may be working in jobs that aren’t paying well or they may be in school,” said Kari White, who leads the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

“They may feel they don’t have the resources to raise a child,” Dr. White added.

Where facilities providing abortions are at risk

Many women who lose access to an abortion in their home state will still travel to get the procedure, but they may have to travel farther: More than 200 abortion providers — nearly 30 percent of those providing abortion services in the United States — are in the states that may ban or further restrict abortion if Roe is overturned.

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