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Roe at 40: New Infographics Illustrate Key Facts About Abortion in the United States

January 8, 2013

January 22, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion nationwide. Roe has had a dramatic impact on the health and well-being of American women; abortion is now safer and occurs earlier in pregnancy than ever before.

Still, abortion remains the subject of extensive debate in state capitols and among national policymakers. More state-level abortion restrictions were enacted in 2011 than in any prior year; 2012 brought the second-highest number of restrictions ever. More than half of all U.S. women of reproductive age (15–44) now live in a state that is hostile to abortion rights, whereas fewer than one-third did a decade ago.

To help ensure that our national debate on abortion is guided by facts, not misinformation, the Guttmacher Institute has created a series of infographics that distill a wealth of information into five snapshots about abortion in the United States today.

U.S. women who have abortions

Abortion in the U.S. has become concentrated among poor women

Racial & ethnic disparities in reproductive health outcomes

How do women pay for abortions?

Barriers to abortion access

We encourage you to use these graphics and share them with your friends, family and colleagues—and to let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page. There are no women of reproductive age in the United States today who were of reproductive age prior to Roe. U.S. women of this age have never known a nation in which abortion was illegal and unsafe. Yet, keeping abortion legal and safe—and accessible to all women—is and must always remain an urgent national priority.

These graphics were made possible by a grant from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation.

Additional resources:

References for these infographics
Facts on Abortion in the United States
State Facts About Abortion
Trends in Abortion in the United States, 1973–2008 (slides)