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Access to Abortion Care

Access to abortion is legal, constitutionally protected, and supported by most Americans.

The courts have protected safe, legal abortion throughout the United States since 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed access to abortion as a constitutional right in its Roe v. Wade decision.

Yet for years, abortion opponents have fought to turn back the clock: stacking the federal courts with anti-abortion judges; passing unconstitutional legislation; spreading deceptions; imposing arbitrary restrictions; and waging one legal battle after another. Their ultimate goal? Reverse Roe v. Wade and make safe, legal abortion impossible to obtain.

Attacks on Roe began to ramp up in 2011, when anti-abortion politicians made massive gains in federal and state elections. Since then challenges to safe, legal abortion have mounted at a rapid clip. In some places, abortion restrictions have in fact made abortion harder to access. These restrictions fall especially hard on people with low incomes, for whom the cost of transportation, childcare, and taking time off work often combine to put abortion access out of reach.

Is Abortion Legal in My State, and What Happens if Roe v. Wade is Overturned?

  

What is happening now?

In state after state in 2019, anti-abortion politicians have rushed to ban abortion — either outright or at a point before many people even know they’re pregnant. These six unconstitutional bans have been signed into law:

Alabama

Banned abortion from the time a woman is “known to be pregnant;” no exceptions for rape and incest; state could investigate women’s miscarriages; most punitive ban signed since Roe was decided, doctors could be charged with a Class A felony and be sentenced to up to 99 years in prison14

• Highest cervical cancer mortality rate in the U.S.15

• 4th worst infant mortality rate in the U.S.16

Georgia

Banned abortion at 6 weeks; state could investigate women’s miscarriages; doctors could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison17

• 2nd worst maternal mortality rate in the U.S. (10x higher than California)18

• Half of Georgia counties do not have a single OB-GYN19

Kentucky

  • Bans abortion at 6 weeks

  • Criminalizes providers

  • Under challenge in court

Mississippi

  • Bans abortion at 6 weeks

  • No exceptions for rape or incest

  • Under challenge in court

Missouri

  • Banned abortion at 8 weeks with no exceptions for rape and incest; state could investigate women’s miscarriages; doctors could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison20

    • Maternal mortality rate is 50% higher than the U.S.21

    • Congenital syphilis is at its highest rate in nearly two decades22

    • 5 counties in Missouri face a 1,000% increase in syphilis 23

Ohio

OHIO: Banned abortion at 6 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest; doctors could be sentenced to up to one year in prison24

• Defunded Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies, a program that worked to reduce maternal and infant mortality25

• Ohio introduced a bill requiring sex education materials to “clearly and consistently state that abortion kills a living human being”26

• Stripped Violence Against Women Act funds from Planned Parenthood27

Bottom Line: Abortion Is Health Care

The attacks and deceptions continue, but here’s the truth: abortion is health care. Nearly a fourth of women in America will have an abortion by age 45. Every day, people across the United States make deeply personal decisions about their pregnancies. Those decisions deserve respect.

Planned Parenthood is proud to provide safe, legal abortion at health centers around the country. We believe you deserve accurate information, and access to the full range of reproductive health care services, including safe, legal abortion — so you can make your own, fully informed health care decisions.

Read on to see how abortion opponents are coming after your access to safe, legal abortion and accurate information — and how you can take action to defend our constitutionally protected right.

Planned Parenthood is proud to provide safe, legal abortion at health centers around the country.

We believe you deserve accurate information, and access to the full range of reproductive health care services, including safe, legal abortion — so you can make your own, fully informed health-care decisions.

Attacks on Roe

Attacks on Roe began to ramp up in 2011, when anti-abortion politicians made massive gains in federal and state elections. Since then challenges to safe, legal abortion have mounted at a rapid clip.

In some places, abortion restrictions have in fact made abortion harder to access. These restrictions fall especially hard on people with low incomes, for whom the cost of transportation, childcare, and taking time off work often combine to put abortion access out of reach.

Abortion Access: Timeline of Attacks

Present–2009

See the full timeline

  • 2009: Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, is assassinated while attending church in Kansas

  • 2010: Swept up by hostility to health-care legislation, anti-abortion politicians win elections to Congress and state legislatures — and then use gerrymandering and voting restrictions to entrench themselves in office.

  • 2011: Thirty-six states enact a then-record 92 new abortion restrictions.

  • 2012: Nineteen states enact 43 new abortion restrictions.

  • 2013: Ignoring mass protests, anti-abortion Texas politicians enact sweeping abortion restrictions. In the following three years, half of Texas's approximately 40 abortion providers close, leaving many women to travel hundreds of miles or cross states lines to get an abortion

  • 2014: Fifteen states enact 26 new abortion restrictions, including two bans on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy — bringing the total of states enacting 20-week abortion bans to 13.

  • 2015: Anti-abortion extremists linked to the group that killed Dr. Tiller release misleading, deceptive smear videos to demonize abortion providers and smear Planned Parenthood.

  • 2016: Anti-abortion Justice Antonin Scalia dies, setting up a fight for the future of the U.S. Supreme Court.  In an unprecedented step, anti-abortion Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to start the confirmation process to fill the vacancy. Then, despite running close to 3 million votes behind his opponent, Donald Trump wins enough electoral votes to become president-elect.

  • 2017: Trump attacks abortion access — and swiftly moves on his promise to name judges who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade.

  • 2018: Trump appoints — and the Senate confirms — a second anti-abortion Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh.