On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed a constitutional right to abortion. The impact of the decision has been devastating and immediate. The Guttmacher Institute undertook new research on the number of clinics that have had to stop offering abortion care since the decision, adding to the growing body of evidence documenting the wide-ranging consequences.
As of July 24, 30 days after the fall of Roe, 11 states—all in the South and Midwest—had either banned abortion completely (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas) or implemented a ban on abortion starting at six weeks of pregnancy (Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee).
Prior to the Supreme Court decision on June 24, these 11 states had a total of 71 clinics that provided abortion care. As of July 24, there were only 28 clinics still offering abortions, all located in the four states with six-week bans. Across these 11 states, the number of clinics offering abortions dropped by 43 in just one month.
States with Total Abortion Bans and No Clinics Providing Abortion Care
Seven states that have imposed total abortion bans since June 24 containing only very limited or no exceptions no longer had a single clinic providing abortion care as of July 24:
- Alabama (previously 5 clinics)
- Arkansas (previously 2 clinics)
- Mississippi (previously 1 clinic)
- Missouri (previously 1 clinic)
- Oklahoma (previously 5 clinics)
- South Dakota (previously 1 clinic)
- Texas (previously 23 clinics)
In 2020, these seven states accounted for 80,500 abortions, or an average of about 6,700 abortions each month. Now, thousands of individuals who need an abortion in these states will be forced to travel to another state to reach a clinic, self-manage their abortion or carry the pregnancy to term.
States with Six-Week Abortion Bans and Clinics Offering Some Care
Four states were enforcing a ban on abortion starting at six weeks of pregnancy as of July 24 and two of them had fewer clinics providing abortions than before the Supreme Court decision:
- Georgia (13 clinics, previously 14)
- Ohio (9 clinics, number unchanged)
- South Carolina (3 clinics, number unchanged)
- Tennessee (3 clinics, previously 7)
While some abortion care is still available in these four states, one likely reason there are fewer clinics in Georgia and Tennessee now than prior to the Supreme Court decision is that many people are unable to get an abortion because of the drastically shortened window for access. Before six weeks of pregnancy, many people are not even aware yet that they are pregnant. Even those who recognize their pregnancy right away are left with only a two-week window, at most, to decide whether to seek, and then schedule and obtain an abortion.
Given myriad logistical hurdles—including potentially long wait times for an appointment and navigating various abortion restrictions like forced waiting periods that may push people beyond the six-week gestational limit—getting an in-state abortion may be impossible to achieve. In this sense, many people seeking an abortion in states with six-week abortion bans are faced with the same three options as people in states without any clinics providing services: travel out of state, self-manage their abortion or carry their pregnancy to term.
Worsening Future Outlook
The already dire state of abortion access in many parts of the country will continue to deteriorate and more states will adopt abortion bans in the coming weeks and months.
Kentucky and Florida have begun rolling back access to abortion by implementing 15-week bans. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, legal uncertainty over the status of the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban has caused providers to stop offering abortion care. In total, as many as 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion now that Roe is no longer in place.
Obtaining an abortion was already difficult in many states even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe. The clinic closures resulting from state-level bans and restrictions in the wake of the June 24 decision will further deepen inequities in access to care as the addition of long travel distances to reach an abortion clinic in another state will be a barrier for many people.
Starting July 5, we generated a list of clinics known to have provided abortion care in 2020 in the 11 states that quickly implemented complete or early gestational age bans following the Supreme Court decision. We used multiple sources—including news stories, social media and information from colleague organizations—to update the list so that it included only those clinics that had been providing recent abortion care. The list was monitored for any relevant changes in state laws in the period between July 5 and July 24 (for example, we included clinics in Georgia after that state’s six-week abortion ban went into effect on July 20).
For each clinic, we determined if the facility was open or closed; if open, if it was providing abortions; and, if providing care, what type of abortion care. For most clinics, we were able to collect this information from the facility’s website. In cases where a website was seemingly out of date (e.g., a clinic indicated it provided abortion care even though there was a state ban), we conducted one or more mystery calls using the phone number listed on the website. If a phone line was not answered after two or more calls during business hours, we considered the clinic to be closed.
The authors thank Ava Braccia and Christina Geddes for collecting the data used in this analysis.
Kirstein M, Jones RK and Philbin J, One Month Post-Roe: At Least 43 Abortion Clinics Across 11 States Have Stopped Offering Abortion Care, Guttmacher Institute, 2022, https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2022/07/one-month-post-roe-least-43-a....