The US Supreme Court has voted today to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, in a 6-3 vote in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The anticipated decision echoed a leaked draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, which was published by Politico in May. Minutes after the news broke that Roe v. Wade was struck down, protesters gathered outside of the US Supreme Court building.
Notably, in Motherly's State of Motherhood 2022 survey results, 60% of millennial & Gen Z mothers and 58% of Gen X mothers report personally supporting the reproductive rights movement. Only 16% of millennial & Gen Z mothers say they personally support the anti-abortion movement, while just 12% of Gen X mothers say they do.
Here's what a future without Roe v. Wade looks like
Limiting abortion access sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to maternal health.
"Access to abortion is a key component of women’s comprehensive health care," according to The Center for American Progress. "The ability to choose if, when, and how to give birth is linked to women’s economic success, educational attainment, and general health and well-being."
States with more abortion restrictions also have a higher rate of maternal and infant mortality. The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) conducted a study that created a state-level scoring system with the following categories:
- Abortion restrictions
- Policies that support women and children's wellbeing
- Women and children's health outcomes
- Social determinants of health
The study used indicators such as parental involvement in and waiting periods for abortion, as well as expanded Medicaid and the existence of a maternal mortality review board. Researchers ultimately found an inverse relationship between abortion restrictions and poor maternal and infant health.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports reproductive rights, 58% of U.S. women of reproductive age—or 40 million—live in states that have abortion restrictions.
Women of color and those living in poverty will be hit the hardest when it comes to abortion restrictions.
According to The Associated Press, Black and Hispanic women get abortions at higher rates than their peers. Women of color also experience higher poverty rates, which means these women may have a much harder time traveling to states where abortion is still legal.
Almost half of U.S. states in the South, Midwest, and Great Plains have more restrictive abortion laws that will likely go into effect with Roe overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute. More than half of the country's Black population lives in the South, as do a significant portion of Hispanic women. The Plains have a large Indigenous population—in late May, Oklahoma passed a law banning abortions from the point of fertilization, the strictest in the country.
States with abortion access could be inundated with patients from out of state who need care.
"The current infrastructure—the clinics—don't have the capacity to absorb all of these patients," says Melissa Fowler, chief program officer for the National Abortion Federation, which represents all kinds of medical providers in the U.S. and Canada, tells NPR.
After Texas passed its highly restrictive 6-week abortion ban last year, women from Texas started showing up in waiting rooms in states both near and far almost immediately.
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13 states have "trigger bans" that will go into effect immediately.
With Roe is overturned, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming all have "trigger laws" that will ban abortion as soon as (or soon after) the ruling.
Five other states still have abortion bans from before Roe was decided that will go back into effect now that it’s overturned: Alabama, Arizona, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Michigan (though Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is now challenging that ban in court).
Some businesses already responded to the ruling.
The New York Times has reported that a handful of companies have already committed to covering travel expenses for employees who need to get abortions, including Starbucks, Tesla, Yelp, Airbnb, Netflix, Patagonia, Salesforce, DoorDash and OKCupid.
Motherly designed and administered this survey through Motherly’s subscribers list, social media and partner channels, resulting in more than 17,000 responses creating a clean, unweighted base of 10,001 responses. This report focuses on the Gen X cohort of 1197 respondents, Millennial cohort of 8,558 respondents, and a Gen Z cohort of 246 respondents. Edge Research weighted the data to reflect the racial and ethnic composition of the US female millennial cohort based on US Census data.