In the first two months following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24, the number of legal abortions decreased by more than 10,000, or approximately 6 percent, according to the first effort at a countrywide census of abortions since the ruling.
According to calculations produced by a consortium of academics and abortion providers, during those months thirteen states, primarily in the South, outlawed or severely limited abortions, and the number of legal abortions in those areas decreased to near zero. In the nine states that implemented significant abortion restrictions, the number of legal abortions dropped by a third. In states with abortion bans and limitations, there were around 22,000 fewer abortions in July and August than in April, before the judgement was made.
In states where abortion remained legal, the number of abortions rose by around 12,000, or 11%. This indicates that almost fifty percent of women who were unable to obtain abortions in states with restrictions went to another state to obtain one.
The data comes from WeCount, a new organisation managed by the Society of Family Planning, an organisation that advocates abortion rights. It is collecting data on abortions from clinics, hospitals, and telemedicine providers around the United States. It got specific abortion tallies from 79% of the nation’s abortion providers, who were responsible for 82% of all abortions prior to the Dobbs ruling. Researchers estimated the missing data using modifications based on state data and temporal patterns.
Because the statistics does not cover abortions outside the regulated U.S. health system, such as so-called self-managed abortions that do not involve a medical practitioner, the overall drop in abortions is likely to be less than the estimate provided. A rising number of women are purchasing abortion pills online from international sources or acquiring them in Mexico, where a tablet that may terminate a pregnancy early in gestation is accessible without a prescription as an ulcer medication. Some women may have used herbs or other techniques to terminate their pregnancies.
The differences were determined by comparing the number of legal abortions in the months after the ruling to the number of abortions performed in April. At that time, Texas had already established a significant limitation on abortion, and access to abortion was difficult in other states, but abortion was still legal in all 50 states.
Despite the fact that some women without access to a nearby clinic travel significant distances to seek abortions, the majority do not, according to studies of past abortion restrictions. Typical abortion patients are impoverished, unmarried, and mothers. And the women most affected by prohibitions are those who struggle with the cost and logistics of interstate travel, such as transportation, housing, child care, and time away from work.
Melissa Fowler is the chief programme officer of the National Abortion Federation, an organisation that represents independent abortion facilities. She stated that her members have increased their hours and opened hours. The group has employed a staff of social workers and receptionists to assist women with scheduling and travel arrangements.
Illinois experienced the largest rise in abortions, with 2,710 more in July and August compared to April and May. Prior to the reversal of Roe v. Wade, clinics there served a substantial number of patients from Missouri, where abortion was virtually inaccessible. Two of them, Hope Clinic for Women and Planned Parenthood in Fairview Heights, Illinois, had prepared for the post-Roe surge by increasing their hours and clinic space, employing additional physicians, and establishing a hotline to assist patients with travel arrangements.
The figures also indicate a slight rise in the number of abortions performed by telemedicine providers who lack physical facilities. In December of 2016, the Food and Drug Administration allowed telemedicine abortions, making them possible. These abortions are authorised in only a few jurisdictions and accounted for 5% of all abortions in August, according to new data.
Prior to the judgement overturning Roe, many Texas women obtained abortions through travel — over half travelled to Oklahoma — or by buying drugs online from another nation. Oklahoma and several nearby states have outlawed abortions since June. For Texans seeking abortions, the closest states are New Mexico, Kansas, and Colorado, which in many cases require at least a 10-hour journey.