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November 16, 2016 / Press Releases

Fast Facts: The state of Roe v. Wade in the United States

November 16, 2016

Overturning Roe v. Wade would leave a majority of U.S. women without access to abortion.

Donald Trump on Roe v. Wade:

Donald Trump has made it no secret that he plans to appoint Supreme Court justices who are committed to overturning Roe v. Wade and taking away the right to choose abortion. This puts Trump right in line with the extremist anti-choice groups that supported him during his campaign and with his vice presidential candidate, who has spent his entire career trying to criminalize abortion and keep women from accessing reproductive health care. And it puts Trump out of touch with the seven in 10 Americans who believe abortion should remain safe and legal.

In a recent 60 Minutes interview, Trump doubled down on his commitment to appointing anti-choice justices and brushed off the implications overturning Roe would have on the majority of American women by quipping that they could simply go to other states to access abortion care.

The reality is that overturning Roe would make it impossible for a majority of, if not all, American women to access safe and legal abortion. It would leave no protections standing between abortion access and extremist anti-choice politicians who want to ban and criminalize reproductive choice.

What this could mean for women:

Like Trump, anti-choice politicians like to claim that if Roe was overturned, the issue of abortion would simply return to the states. This claim ignores political and legal realities that would threaten access to abortion and reproductive care in all 50 states. It also ignores the fact that overturning Roe will make it possible for anti-choice politicians at the federal level to ban abortion outright across the nation.

  • Overturning Roe would pave the way for anti-choice politicians to pass a nationwide abortion ban. They could also pass a federal personhood bill, which would criminalize some forms of birth control such as the IUD and the morning after pill.
  • Many states are poised to ban abortion outright if Roe is overturned. Currently, 11 states have unconstitutional criminal bans on abortion (AL, AZ, AR, DE, LA, MA, MS, NM, OK, and WV) that would go into effect if Roe were overturned. Four states have have laws on the books known as “trigger bans,” which would impose criminal bans on abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe (LA, MS, ND, and SD)–two of which have both type of law (LA, MS).
  • Abortion clinics have been closing at an alarming rate, leaving some states with only one clinic. Even in states with more than one reproductive-health-care clinic, many barriers still exist. A woman may not have the funds necessary to travel several hours to the nearest clinic, she may not be able to get time off of work or childcare, or she may live in a state that forces her to to wait up to three days between appointments and make two separate trips. If Roe is overturned, many American women will see abortion access effectively eliminated.
    • Five states only have one abortion clinic (MS, MO, ND, SD, and WY).
    • At least 90 percent of counties in these 29 states have no abortion provider: AL, AK, AR, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MN, MS, MO, NE, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WY.
  • The majority of women in the United States already have severely restricted access to reproductive health care. For these women, Roe is the last protection standing between their reproductive rights and an outright ban on abortion in their state.
    • NARAL’s most recent ranking of abortion and reproductive health care access in the United States found that women in 29 states have severely limited access to reproductive health care because of restrictions such as biased-counseling requirements and mandatory delays, outright bans on abortion at certain points in pregnancy, and requirements subjecting clinics to onerous restrictions not applied to other medical professionals. Even more women live in states where access to reproductive-health care is at risk of being further diminished.
  • The majority of states have anti-choice-controlled legislatures and/or governors. If Roe is overturned, these legislatures would be able to pass bans making it impossible for women in their states to access abortion. They would also be able to criminalize abortion, meaning any woman who chooses abortion and any doctor who provides it could be sent to jail.
    • As of 2015, 27 states have anti-choice legislatures (AL, AK, AZ, AR, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NC, ND, OH, OK, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV and WI), and 29 states are headed by anti-choice governors (AL, AK, AZ, AR, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MI, MS, NE, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WI, and WY). Many of these states could quickly move to ban abortion if Roe is overturned.


Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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