13 critical abortion facts to know ahead of Supreme Court ruling

13 critical abortion facts to know ahead of Supreme Court ruling
United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett (screengrab).

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion could come as early as Tuesday or Thursday of this week. The ruling is highly expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision stating that abortion must remain legal and free from excessive government restrictions.

Pro-choice advocates have pointed out that overturning Roe v. Wade will likely result in increased deaths and poverty for women forced into giving birth. The possible ruling will also negatively affect women and clinics in states where abortion remains legal.

Here are 13 abortion facts you should know leading up to the court’s decision.

1) Nine states have passed laws making abortion illegal six weeks into pregnancy. Many women don’t even realize that they’re pregnant at that point. These states include Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

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2) 21 other states ban abortion between 13 and 24 weeks.

3) 17 states have “trigger laws” that could immediately outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The states include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

4) If these states outlaw abortion, then women who live in these states will likely go to other states where abortion hasn’t been outlawed. This will cause the clinics to be overbooked with appointments for weeks or months out. This means that a woman may not even be able to access a legal abortion, even if she tries to book one within the time period legally allowed by her state.

5) Clinics in anti-abortion states often face frequent inspections and fines for infractions as an active way to make it harder for them to operate.

6) Abortion clinics and providers have been subject to terrorism for decades. That violence is expected to increase if Roe is overturned. More abortion clinics have closed than opened nationwide in the last decade. Fewer med students are learning how to provide abortions because they don’t want to risk their lives.

7) The short windows of time for legal abortion give abortion-seekers far less time to whip up the $1,000 or more needed to get an abortion or abortion meds, as well as the travel costs for going out of state to get an abortion. Some states also require people to wait 72 hours after getting an ultrasound to get an abortion and to pay for the burial of the fetus, adding extra time, costs, and indignity to the process.

8) Many undocumented women, lacking the government-issued ID needed to make an out-of-state journey, will stay trapped in their restrictive states.

9) The Texas law, which rewards bounty hunters to report any Texas resident who aids or abets an abortion, encourages people to stand outside of clinics and spy on abortion-seekers and their supporters.

10) Birth control sometimes fails, meaning that some abortion seekers tried to avoid pregnancy in the first place, but are portrayed as irresponsible child-killers by Republican legislators and other anti-abortion advocates.

11) Some women discover that their fetuses have birth defects that will eventually kill the child in the womb. When the window for these women to get an abortion closes, they’re forced to give birth to corpses.

12) If a 13-year-old or minor under the legal age of consent becomes pregnant through consensual sexual contact, they will be forced to have the child even though they’re not considered an adult by state or federal law. Statistically, this ensures that the minor will end up in poverty.

13) Statistically, the child, if given up for adoption, faces a higher likelihood of growing up in state care or in the foster system, increasing the likelihood of their developing mental illness or living in poverty.

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