Abortion: Clinics in 14 of 15 states have stopped providing services, survey finds
It’s been 100 days since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, undoing constitutional protections for abortion access. Many states immediately banned the procedure.
A new survey by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health nonprofit, shows how consequential that June 24 decision has been.
The survey found that among 15 states that were enforcing either total abortion bans or near-total abortion bans between the decision and October 2, nearly two-thirds of clinics that once provided abortion care – 66 of 79 – had been forced to stop offering abortion services.
One-third of the clinics, 26, have shut completely. Another 40 are still open and providing other services such as prescribing birth control, performing routine women’s health screenings or arranging out-of-state appointments for people who must now travel to get an abortion.
The closures are not evenly spread. All of the 13 clinics in the survey that remain open and are providing abortions are in Georgia, a state that now allows procedures only up to the sixth week of pregnancy.
That means there are no providers offering abortions in 14 of the 15 states, says Rachel Jones, principal research scientist at Guttmacher.
“That’s a lot of people that are going to be needing abortion care and, if they can, try to go out of state to get it, but many of them are not going to be able to do that,” she said.
Taken together, these 15 states are home to 22 million women of reproductive age and others who may not identify as women but who are capable of becoming pregnant and may need an abortion.
According to the report, that means nearly 30% of all US women of reproductive age live in states where abortion is unavailable or is severely restricted.
Those states accounted for nearly 126,000 abortions in 2020, according to the report. Georgia accounted for nearly 42,000 more procedures that year.
The 15 states included in the survey are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Two more states that have acted to restrict abortion – Indiana and Ohio – were not included in the survey after court action temporarily suspended their bans.
A host of other states have not acted to restrict or ban abortion but are expected to do so.
“Guttmacher expects that as many as 26 states are ultimately going to ban abortion. So I can say with confidence, it’s going to get worse, unfortunately,” Jones said.
The impacts of these closures are being felt far beyond these 15 states. States where abortions are still legal have seen large influxes of people who are traveling to get the procedure. This has put added pressure on clinics in so-called safe haven states, where waiting lists are getting longer.
Abortions are generally safe procedures, but the longer an abortion is delayed, the greater the risk to patients. Delays can also increase the cost of the procedure. Lack of access to abortion also has significant impacts on a woman’s mental health, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.