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The Supreme Court eliminated the federal constitutional right to abortion. But we’re not backing down. We're doing everything we can to keep abortion accessible for all people.

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What Just Happened at the Supreme Court?

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO). The ruling upheld Mississippi’s ban on abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy, overturned Roe v. Wade, and ended the federal constitutional right to abortion in the United States.

By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court erased nearly 50 years of precedent. They took away our power to make our own personal medical decisions, and they gave that power to lawmakers. The court’s decision most harms Black, Latino, Indigenous, and other people of color — communities for whom systemic racism has long blocked access to opportunity and health care.

The ruling opens the floodgates for states to outlaw abortion.

You can still get an abortion.

Visit AbortionFinder.org for a directory of trusted, verified abortion providers and a state-by-state guide.

AbortionFinder.org

What’s Next: More Abortion Bans, More Suffering

The ruling will a have ripple effect, spreading abortion bans across the United States. About half the states in the country could move to wipe out abortion access. Some of these states have policies that ban abortion immediately. Others are led by lawmakers who are hostile to abortion and have a history of passing abortion restrictions.

Thirty-six million women, plus many others who can become pregnant, are at risk of losing abortion access in their state.

When courts allow politicians to control our personal medical decisions, people suffer. Just look at Texas.

Before Roe v. Wade

To understand the danger of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade reversal, it’s important to look at history. Abortion, like birth control, has ancient roots in cultures all over the world. When U.S. politicians started banning abortion in the late 1800s, they drove what was simply a private matter underground. Abortion became shrounded in secrecy.

Consequences of Criminalizing Abortion

When politicians outlawed abortion in the U.S., providers and patients were pushed into the shadows.

Outlawing abortion turned a safe health care practice into one with great legal risks. It subjected otherwise law-abiding people to surveillance, arrestinvestigation, prosecution, and other criminal penalties. Police were often men, and their investigations forced women into humiliating circumstances — ordering them, their partners, and others to reveal personal details about their sex lives. Beyond direct criminal penalties, people lost jobs and families were disrupted.

Many doctors and midwives stopped providing abortion, and some started reporting their colleagues who still provided. Women who couldn’t afford to pay the few providers offering abortion, or who were afraid of prosecution, sometimes tried dangerous methods of self-managing abortion. If they had complications and went to the hospital, they could be reported to the police.

The Effect of Roe v. Wade: Legal Abortion

The Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling on January 22, 1973, decriminalized abortion nationwide. It gave people the right to access abortion legally all across the country and freed patients to access the health care they needed when they needed it without fear.

“[T]he "liberty" protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment covers more than those freedoms explicitly named in the Bill of Rights… Several decisions of this Court make clear that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment… That right [to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion] necessarily includes the right of a woman to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

Concurring Opinion in Roe v. Wade, by Justice Potter Stewart (Jan. 22, 1973)

49 Years With Roe v. Wade: Restrictions and Racism Pushed Abortion Out of Reach

However, even with Roe v. Wade in place, the right to abortion did not guarantee access to abortion.

Racism and Discrimination

Even when we had the constitutional right to abortion, systemic racism, ongoing white supremacy, and coercive reproductive policies pushed access to abortion out of reach for many people. Whether you could actually get an abortion depends on your race, as well as how much money you have, your health insurance status, and your ZIP code. For communities that deal with centuries-old systemic barriers to health care — Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities; people in rural communities; immigrants; people with disabilities; LGBTQ+ people; young people; and people struggling to make ends meet — there are even greater barriers to abortion access.

Now that Roe v. Wade is overturned, it’s going to be even harder for these communities to get the care they need.

State Attacks on Abortion

Despite Americans' consistent support for Roe v. Wade, state legislators have spent decades restricting abortion access

These laws have sought to shame, pressure, punish, and block people who want to have an abortion. Many of these laws blatantly flouted Roe v. Wade.

Federal Attacks on Abortion

Even with Roe v. Wade on the books, Congress took two major steps backward on abortion access: 

  • The Hyde Amendment is a discriminatory law passed every year since 1976 that blocks federal health programs like Medicaid from covering abortion. That put abortion out of reach for many people who use Medicaid — with exceptions only for instances of rape, incest, or when continuing a pregnancy could kill the patient.
  • A 2003 abortion ban that criminalizes certain safe abortion procedures in the second trimester of pregnancy took effect in 2007 after it was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Lead-Up to the Supreme Court Overturning Roe v. Wade

Despite all the attacks on abortion rights, the Supreme Court had — until now — honored Roe v. Wade’s core principle: that the Constitution protects a person's right to make their own private medical decisions, including the decision to have an abortion prior to fetal viability. The court honored that principle through decisions in key abortion rights cases, including Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

So, what changed? The makeup of the Supreme Court. Three relatively new Supreme Court justices — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett — brought records hostile to reproductive health and rights to the court.

Abortion in America Today

Abortion is common and accepted — and the data proves it.

  • Nearly 1 in 4 women in America will have an abortion by age 45.

  • Overturning Roe v. Wade is not what people want — 80% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal. 

  • Regardless of age, background, or educational level, the majority of people support Roe v. Wade.

  • Acceptance of abortion is longstanding: A majority of Americans have wanted abortion to be legal for decades.

  • Reproductive rights champions in states across the country are taking proactive measures to protect and expand access to abortion, despite the Supreme Court’s decision.

Beyond the numbers, personal stories show that abortion is an essential health care service — no matter the reason.

Is Abortion Legal In My State?

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Not Backing Down

You deserve access to health care — including abortion — without barriers or political interference. You deserve the right to control your own body no matter where you live or how much money you make.

Planned Parenthood will work to get patients to care and care to patients. At the same time, Planned Parenthood supporters and abortion rights advocates are doubling down — fighting for everyone to have the freedom to make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives.

Join the Fight

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Become part of the BANS OFF OUR BODIES movement.

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Learn More About Roe v. Wade

Read the story behind the case — including the key players and analysis of the decision itself.

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