News & Politics

Abortion in America: Here Are the Facts, 40 Years After Roe

Numbers and realities don't always reflect the rhetoric.


40 years ago, Roe V. Wade became the law of the land. for decades since then, abortion has been a lightning rod, its legality and women's access to services a subject of relentless attack by the right wing.

The next phase of the debate won't be as much about the morality of abortion but about the difficulty women have in obtaining it thanks to two years of relentless legislation at the state level--with the vast majority of American counties lacking an abortion provider and many rural providers under constant legal threat and surrounded by protesters.

For the 40th anniversary of Roe, the Guttmacher Institute offers usthese infographics on racial disparities in abortion, barriers to access, and who has abortions. Take a careful look, and acquaint yourself with the truth.

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:



Sarah Seltzer is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been published at the Nation, the Christian Science Monitor, Jezebel and the Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahmseltzer and find her work at