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Roe v. Wade by the numbers: What's changed

Since the Dobbs decision, abortion restrictions have been a losing issue at the local level — with seven states increasing abortion rights.
Roe v. Wade by the numbers: What's changed
Posted at 10:37 AM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 10:38:34-05

From the streets of Washington to the 2024 campaign, the battle over the future of abortion is top of mind for many voters.

"In states where abortion was banned there were about 115,000 fewer abortions in the year following Dobbs," said Jennifer Driver, senior director of reproductive rights for State Innovation Exchange.

It's the numbers and the stories behind them that motivate abortion rights advocates like Driver.

"The number of people who come from the South who have to come to D.C. or states that provide abortion care, and the waiting time that they have just because there's an influx amount of people seeking abortion care — often those are people who have the resources and the means, and so we don't actually know from folks who didn't have the same resources to leave their states," she explained. 

According to the Guttmacher Institute, in the first half of 2023 nearly 1 in 5 patients traveled out of state for an abortion.

Data from the Center for Reproductive Rights shows that since Roe v. Wade was overturned 14 states have banned abortion, while 11 states have expanded access.

Those numbers are also what drive anti-abortion activists.

"We got the legal battle out of the way, but states still have rights, obviously, so states are still continuing to push abortion bills and such," Connor Vogelsong with the Young Americans Foundation  told Scripps News. 

Participants in this year's March for Life say they're working to change minds in those remaining states and support crisis pregnancy centers, which recommend alternatives to abortion.

"They have been filling the gaps for decades and giving women a choice," Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America told Scripps News. 

SEE MORE: Biden emphasizes reproductive rights on Roe v. Wade anniversary

GOP-led legislatures in 12 states have provided $250 million in funding for the crisis centers — also known as CPCs or pregnancy resource centers — and some facilities give away free goods and services. 

"The pregnancy centers have provided resources to women all over this country in the forms of housing, diapers, clothing, cribs and strollers. They don't limit to women who choose to have their child — they help post-abortive women as well," said Day. 

 In 2023, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro announced plans to end 30 years of government funding for CPCs, saying the women of the state will get the "reproductive health care they deserve. "

 CPCs have been accused by medical groups of using deceptive practices and false advertising.

"The problem with that too is that you could have everyday people donating to what they think is a good cause, not knowing that the clinic themselves provides this information and steers people away from the care that they need," said Driver. 

"In my own party I see attacks on the pregnancy centers and trying to shut them down. That's just shutting down a competitor, it's not providing women with choice," Day said. 

Across the U.S., voters are making choices.

Since the Dobbs decision, abortion restrictions have been a losing issue at the local level, where seven states have voted in favor of strengthening abortion rights.

That hasn't stopped the introduction of 272 anti-abortion rights provisions at the local level in the first week of 2024, according to Guttmacher.

That's why abortion rights groups say the states are key.

"Roe didn't happen overnight; Roe was allowed to happen because state legislators chipped away, right? Kind of like this dripping of water — chipped away, chipped away and chipped away till there was this gushing to that brought us Dobbs," said Driver. 

At the federal level, the Biden administration said on Monday they are working to strengthen access to contraceptives and spread the word in two major court cases — one involving the legality of medication abortion, the other centered on the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, a federal law they argue allows for abortions in emergencies.

White House officials told Scripps News that the future of that law and abortion rights is once again in the hands of the Supreme Court.

"It's something we're working on thinking about every day ... I think it's really really important for people to understand what's at stake and be paying attention to this issue right now," stated Katie Keith, deputy director of the White House Gender Policy Council.


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