By Andrew Keshner
More than 200 abortion clinics could eventually close in 26 states ready to ban or curtail access if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, according to recent research saying the closures would be mostly clustered in the southeast and Midwest.
And if the country’s highest court does overturn the 1973 decision that recognizes a woman’s constitutional right to abortion and turns the matter over to state lawmakers, roughly one-third of voters (31%) said they would be less inclined to live in a state that banned abortion, according to a Wednesday poll .
On the flip side, 60% of the 1,000 survey participants said abortion restrictions would not make a difference in their state’s desirability, while 5% said it would heighten their state’s desirability. It’s an open question whether people would move in or out of a state depending on its abortion laws.
The recent research and survey offer a glimpse on the potential ripple effects of the Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision in a case asking the judges to overturn Roe.
The court’s conservative majority sounded ready to overturn Roe, according to a draft of a decision leaked in early May and reported by Politico. The underlying case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involves Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.
Just over half of the country’s states, 26, appear ready or likely to quickly curtail abortion if Roe is overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute , a public health think tank which supports abortion access. Of that number, 13 states have so-called “trigger” laws that would automatically ban “all or nearly all” abortions if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Some 202 abortion clinics would eventually close in the wake of a Roe reversal, according to a study released earlier this month from researchers at the University of California San Francisco’s Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health program.
That’s 26% of the country’s 790 publicly advertised facilities offering abortions as of 2021, the researchers said. The consequences will include even steeper economic and logistical challenges for women seeking abortions, many of whom are low-income , the study said.
The median self-paid cost for an abortion induced by medication was $568, the researchers said. It was $625 for a first-trimester abortion and $775 for a second-trimester abortion.
With some regional and state-by-state variations, insurance coverage for abortions has been receding in all regions from 2017 to 2021, the researchers noted.
Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Dakota and Wyoming were examples of states where facilities did not accept insurance coverage — “likely a consequence of state laws,” the researchers said. More than half of all abortions in the U.S. were medication abortions as of 2020; they’re typically administered via two types of pills, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Polling and consequences if Roe is overturned
The question of abortion access is divisive, but past polling shows the majority of Americans support Roe and the abortion access that followed. The question is where abortion laws land on a voter’s priority list.
The people surveyed in the latest Suffolk University-USA Today poll were largely supportive of Roe and abortion access.
Almost two thirds, 61%, said they opposed overturning Roe. Roughly the same proportion, 63%, said abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while nearly 30% said it should be illegal in most or all cases.
A slim majority of 51% said there should be one national policy, while 40% said states should determine their own abortion access laws.
Abortion access paled in comparison to the economy when it comes to issues of concern to voters, according to people polled. Two thirds said the state of the economy mattered more for their vote and 23% said abortion rights mattered more.
Over three quarters said the Roe ruling would have no effect on their likelihood to vote in November’s midterm elections.
Ahead of the Supreme Court decision, a growing list of companies say they will cover travel expenses for people seeking abortions in states with fewer restrictions. Almost 53% of the people polled backed the idea — but that seemed to be the full extent of what they wanted out of corporations at this time.
Over two thirds said companies should avoid taking stands one way or another when it came to abortion access.