Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the number of clinician-provided abortions across the country increased by roughly 2,200, due to women seeking abortions flocking to states that allow it.
#WeCount, a recent study done by the Society of Family Planning, an international charitable group that supports access to abortion, found that between July 2022 and June 2023 more women sought abortions than the previous year. The report also showed that the number of clinician-provided abortions indeed did drop greatly in states that outlawed or strictly limited access to abortion, but abortion care rose in states where it is permitted with fewer restrictions.
“In April and May 2022, before the high court’s June decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the average number of abortions in the U.S. per month was 82,115. The monthly average in the months that followed the outcome became 82,298. This translates into a net increase of 183 abortions per month, or 2,200 per year,” #WeCount wrote.
The report stated that in some months before the June 2022 Supreme Court verdict, Alabama recorded a monthly average of 635 abortions, but no subsequent abortions were reported when the ban took effect in the Heart of Dixie. On the contrary, during the same period, Illinois turned into a surge state, where more abortions were recorded after the court decision. The monthly average jumped by 1792 abortions from a Pre-Dobbs monthly average of 5,510 abortions per month.
Speaking to reporters, WeCount co-chair, Ushma Upadhyay recounted, “What actually happened during these 12 months is that abortion access plummeted to zero in some states, while increasing to meet the acute need in others, leading to a complete disruption in the healthcare system and people’s lives.”
The information provided in the report is based on abortions carried out in medical facilities and through telemedicine services. It excludes self-managed abortions that include women who acquire abortion pills or use other methods to terminate pregnancies.
In the fourteen states with near-absolute abortion restrictions, there have been roughly 95,000 fewer clinician-assisted abortions, a 100% drop. During this period, Florida and North Carolina saw the highest spikes in the number of abortion cases, as they border states that have effected abortion bans and serve as destinations for people traveling from other states to seek care.
These figures also affirm what abortion rights advocates have been contending for years: that banning abortion won’t stop it from happening and will instead push women to find other means to terminate their pregnancies.
Before the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which established abortion rights, women had to undergo illicit procedures that were occasionally risky, resulting in infertility, disease, or even death.
Because of how America has been split into starkly distinct environments for accessing abortions, many women are currently required to travel to have an abortion that they could easily access previously.
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