The map above visually represents the likely conditions for abortion access in all 50 states in a post-Roe US. This map does not visually represent the current status of abortion laws and restrictions in each state, and it is likely that many states will change their laws in the near future. (If you are currently trying to seek an abortion, ineedana and Abortion Finder can direct you to information about current state laws and to the nearest clinic that can serve your needs.) To see the state-by-state breakdown of abortion restrictions after the Supreme Court’s expected overturning of Roe v. Wade, click here.
On May 2, 2022, POLITICO published a bombshell leak of justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s expected decision in Jackson Womens’ Health Organization v. Dobbs—a decision that would completely overrule Roe v. Wade and kick all decisions on abortion back to the states. In the wake of the leak, the media focused intently on the contents of the draft opinion, the source of the leak, and the public outcry that ensued, but struggled to provide accurate, practical information regarding the impact that this decision will have for people around the country seeking abortion care if, indeed, the expected ruling comes. The difficulty in providing such information is due, in part, to the current patchwork of federal and state laws that make up the landscape of abortion access in the US—ranging from new bans in Texas and Oklahoma to some states allowing for abortion at any stage in pregnancy—but it is also due to the intricate ways a reversal of Roe would trigger a Rube Goldberg-style series of shifts in state laws and court decisions.
Each state’s laws on abortion are different, which means the effect of the expected decision will also vary state by state. The scope and severity of said effects will depend on which of the following four categories your state falls into:
1) States where abortion will be effectively outlawed (with some states having exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother’s life, or fetal anamoly);
2) States where abortion will remain legal but some new abortion restrictions will be implemented, with more restrictions likely to come in the future;
3) States where abortion will remain legal but could face more restrictions in the future;
4) States where abortion will remain legal, and where it is unlikely that there will be new restrictions in the future.
States in the first category—where abortion will be outlawed as soon as Roe is overturned—are often referred to as states with a ‘trigger ban.’ “Trigger states are states where, from the moment that the Supreme Court says that Roe v. Wade is officially overturned, some sort of mechanism goes into effect without the legislature usually doing anything,” Robin Marty, operations director of West Alabama Women’s Center and the author of The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America, told TRNN. “Trigger states have become this catch-all for the idea that abortion laws will automatically go into effect. But what I am trying to make clear is that every trigger is a little bit different.”
There are 17 trigger states where all or nearly all abortions will be banned outright if Roe is overturned; how these bans will be triggered, though, can vary from state to state. Once the expected decision is handed down from the Supreme Court, these 17 trigger states either already have some form of post-Roe law that will kick into effect, or they have pre-Roe “zombie” laws—laws that were made effectively obsolete after Roe but were never formally excised from state ledgers—that will be re-implemented. (There are more states that are regularly included on such lists, like Michigan and Iowa, but one of the exceptional difficulties with pinning these details down is that the details are currently being legally challenged or changed, or they are subject to change pending executive action or judicial or legislative review of existing trigger laws once Roe is overturned.) To review the laws in each state as they currently stand, see the state-by-state breakdown below.
Marty’s clinic in Alabama would be immediately impacted by Alabama’s zombie law, which would go into effect as soon as a decision is handed down. “If we talk about what happens within the first ten minutes, every person who is not already in the process of having an abortion—by which we mean ‘is already dilated’—essentially has to go home,” Marty told TRNN. “So if you are sitting in a waiting room, you have to go home. If you are in the back room with a cup full of water, waiting to get the pill handed to you, you have to go home. If you are on an exam table but it hasn’t started yet, you have to put your clothes back on and go home.”
Marty hopes that her clinic can continue operating, and she has prepared by saving up enough to continue paying employees, vendors, etc. for three months after the expected overturning of Roe. Her clinic has been gearing up to provide care for a variety of other reproductive health needs, and they also hope they can provide abortion aftercare to individuals who decide to manage their own care or go to other states to get an abortion before returning to Alabama. “People have always managed their own care—clinics are hard to get into, there’s too many restrictions, it’s too far away, it’s way too expensive,” said Marty. “They manage their own care, they get herbs, they take pills, they do all of these things, but now, because abortion is going to be illegal here, they are at risk for some sort of arrest.”
Marty and abortion funders on the ground in Alabama hope that large reproductive rights organizations and people who reside in safe states will focus their attention on states with bans, helping to provide resources for out-of-state travel as well as in-state care for individuals who choose to self-manage their own abortions. “Providing resources locally on the ground to the places that are already established—places that already exist and just need assistance—is the best way to invest money at this point because it is the most resourceful,” Marty told TRNN. “But we instead are seeing investment in New York, in Illinois, in California. I’m not saying these things aren’t needed; I’m saying these places already have donors, they have resources.”
“We need to find a way to support people here, where they are,” Marty continued. “As a movement, we keep saying that we are interested in doing everything we can to protect the most vulnerable. But the most vulnerable are going to be the people who are unable to ever pull together enough resources… to be able to leave a state in order to be gone a week to get an abortion.”
While trigger ban states encompass most of the South, three states (Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina) do not yet have a trigger in place. Each of these states have passed restrictive abortion regulations that have either been overturned or have a stay on their implemenation by the federal judiciary. However, these regulations would go into effect if the ruling articulated in Alito’s draft opinion becomes the law of the land. While these regulations do not ban abortion completely, they will make it much more difficult to obtain an abortion. The legislatures in all three of these states, moreover, have shown an interest in banning abortion in the near future, and it’s still possible that they could enact trigger bans before a ruling on Dobbs is announced.
“While abortion would still be legal in Florida with the overturning of Roe, the combination of the waiting period and the 15-week ban places additional undue barriers on pregnant people in need of abortion care,” said McKenna Kelley, a media relations volunteer with the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund, while addressing the ban that Florida legislators passed in April. “Many people seeking abortion care already face barriers to access, such as lack of funding, lack of transportation, a lack of child care and a lack of nearby abortion care.”
Kelley told TRNN that abortion providers and activists in the state are also preparing to face even more restrictions on abortion access. “During the most recent legislative session, many state legislators who voted for the 15-week ban expressed openly on the state House and Senate floor that they wished they could ban abortions at an earlier stage,” she said.
Even if the state of Florida passes more restrictive abortion laws, Kelley noted, the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund intends to continue to provide services to people in their area, including assistance with travel and an education campaign about self-managed abortions. “[We will be] providing pregnant people in the Tampa Bay area with comprehensive, evidence-based best practices for ending a pregnancy via the use of abortion pills,” she said. “Whether a person obtains their medication from a local abortion provider, or purchases them from a verified provider, the dosage, instructions, and potential medical risks are all identical… We are determined to get this information in the hands of people who need it, especially as it becomes increasingly difficult to access in-clinic abortions.”
Unlike the states with a trigger ban or new restrictive regulations already in place, some states do not currently have any laws on abortion that will immediately take effect, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe from the threat of future restrictions. Such threats range from the potential election of new state legislators who will be hostile to abortion rights to current state legislatures passing new trigger bans in the coming weeks. As best they can, activists and providers in those states are trying to prepare for all potential outcomes.
Sandy Brown, president of the Kansas Abortion Fund, which has assisted Kansans in obtaining abortion care since 1996, is one of many people in this unique position. The Supreme Court of Kansas ruled in 2019 that the Kansas Constitution protected the right to abortion, a ruling that means Kansas abortion services will not change immediately upon a rendered ruling on Dobbs. But, Brown pointed out, there is an election in Kansas that may change all of that in the near future. “There is a constitutional amendment that the legislature has passed and it goes up for a vote in a very unfortunate time, which is Aug. 2,” Brown said. “Immediately, we will not be affected, but thereafter we will—and it will definitely depend on what happens with that vote.”
Brown told TRNN that a new coalition, the Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, consisting of representatives from various reproductive rights groups in Kansas—including Planned Parenthood, Trust Women, and the Kansas Abortion Fund—has been fighting back against the amendment. However, given the current political climate, Brown is not sure about their chances for success. “After what just happened with [the Supreme Court] and what has happened in our country—what we are seeing with the right, the far right and the anti-abortion movement—I’m not holding my breath that we will win,” she said. “The pro-lifers here in Kansas, Kansas for Life, are well organized, they are well funded, they have the ear of the Kansas GOP legislators.”
If abortion is outlawed in Kansas, Brown is worried that organizers on the ground may not have the capacity to meet all of the need that will arise. The Kansas Abortion Fund, which has never denied a Kansan financial support for an abortion, is worried about what will happen if they need to support people going to other states for care. “One thing that we are not able to do … is we cannot supply practical support, meaning transportation, lodging, childcare for people who have to travel,” she said.
Even if the constitutional amendment is defeated, Brown said that she worries the cost for an abortion may go up, especially if Kansans suddenly have longer waiting times and experience an influx of out-of-state abortion seekers looking for care as abortion rights in states across the country are being stripped away. “What happens in this case is that those people who are further along in the first trimester—if they have to wait two weeks, if they have to wait a week, then this will push them into a different trimester, and the cost goes up significantly,” she said.
Unlike the precarious situation in Kansas, many states will not be legally affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Dobbs case, no matter the outcome, because abortion care is protected by state laws that are not likely to change or rolled back in the near future. However, not being legally affected themselves does not mean these states will not be affected in other ways by a decision that will cause more than half the country to lose abortion services. Longer wait times, the need to provide more complicated procedures, the imperative for funds to help assist people traveling to get abortions—these compounding realities will impact every abortion care provider in the country. Furthermore, many analysts, activists, and healthcare providers have expressed serious concerns that Republicans will push for a nationwide abortion ban if they are able to re-capture the US Congress in the next election.
Lynn M. of the Baltimore Abortion Fund—“a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance and practical support to individuals who live in or travel to Maryland for abortion care”—says that Maryland clinics are already feeling the impact from the new laws in Texas and Oklahoma, even though Maryland is a state that is unlikely to pass new abortion restrictions. “From our perspective, the number of people who are traveling to Maryland from out of state is… definitely increasing. It is up to about 50% of the total call volume that we see,” she told TRNN. “I believe in the past, when clients would be referred to a clinic or get in contact with us after being referred to a clinic, we would typically see clinic wait times being two to three weeks. Now they are kind of in that four to six week range, so it definitely speaks to clinic capacity being strained.”
Due to its proximity to states with a trigger ban in place, Maryland will likely be a target destination for many people who are denied abortion care where they live. To prepare for this eventuality, Lynn said that they have been working across state lines to help with abortion access. “We have been involved in a regional pilot program called Operation Scale Up… The [impetus] for this kind of program is knowing that people will be increasingly traveling to our region because they have no choice for abortion care and no access to abortion care in their own state,” Lynn told TRNN. “We are building up organizational capacity proactively (with staffing, fundraising, volunteer capacity, all of that)… ahead of a Roe decision, so that we are ready with resources, funding, and support for all the people who will be coming to Maryland and our area.”
Even states without neighbors facing abortion bans will likely feel the impact of Roe being overturned. Catherine Coteus, a Vermont Access for Reproductive Freedom board member, told TRNN that Vermont, which is surrounded by states that do not and will not have new limits on abortion access, is already feeling the effects of abortion restrictions in the rest of the country. “Although we are geographically isolated from states with trigger bans, we are already seeing changes,” she said. “Patients are noticing that clinics are very full and they are not able to get care within the time period that they need care, so they are having to travel farther distances in order to access their care—and they’re finding themselves in Vermont.”
Coteus said that her organization has been working on meeting the increased need. “We are thinking about ways to ramp up our capacity to assist in different and new ways,” she said. “Traditionally, we funded abortions themselves… In the past, there have been moments when we have assisted with transportation or a hotel room if someone needs to travel a far distance, and now we feel like that kind of logistical support is going to be more important.”
Coteus thinks that what people in safe states can do to help is form lasting relationships with organizations, providers, and activists in states that have banned abortion. As she told TRNN, “A lot of [what people in safe states can do] is resiliency planning… thinking about how we will be able to support people who are seeking care from other states, how we can best provide for them from a practical standpoint, and then what sort of networks of community and care we can stand up.”
Coteus and Lynn also argue that pushing for expanded abortion access in safe states is crucial, including economic assistance for people seeking abortions in their state. Lynn points to Maryland’s recently passed Abortion Care Access Act, which allowed for more coverage of abortion care by Medicaid and expanded the kinds of providers who could provide abortion services, as a model for the kind of legislation that safe states can be pushing through right now. Coteus points to Proposition 5 in Vermont, which would amend their constitution to specifically enshrine reproductive freedom, as another way to ensure that abortion access is secure.
To be clear: Every provider and funder who spoke to us for this piece is emphatic that, no matter what the Supreme Court or the states do in regards to abortion, they will still be there providing care to clients who need them. “Our first priority is always to serve our clients,” said Kelley. “Our plans to help clients will not change.”
ABORTION ACCESS IN A POST-ROE FUTURE
This list is a political analysis of likely abortion access in a post-Roe future. Information for this list and map was compiled from the local reporting in the linked stories and USA Today, as well as information from The Guttmacher Institute.
This list does not tell you the current status of abortion laws in each state, and it is likely that many states will change their laws in the near future. If you are currently trying to seek an abortion, ineedana and Abortion Finder can advise you on current restrictions in your area as well as direct you to the nearest clinic to serve your needs.
States where abortion will be effectively outlawed (with some states having exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother’s life, or fetal anomoly)
Alabama: A pre-Roe ban will outlaw abortion immediately from conception with exceptions for fetal anomalies and threats to the life of the mother.
Arizona: A pre-Roe ban will outlaw abortion immediately unless the mother’s life is in danger. While this ban is over 100 years old, some Arizona legislators and prosecutors have indicated that they intend to enforce it, whereas the governor has said that the recently passed 15-week abortion ban will supercede the pre-Roe ban. It is unclear what the ultimate outcome will be regarding enforcement. Arizona Democrats have also announced their intention to push a ballot initiative for a constitutional amendment codifying Roe, but such a push will face significant hurdles.
Arkansas: A post-Roe ban will outlaw abortion immediately unless the mother’s life is in danger. Arkansas also had a pre-Roe ban on abortion.
Idaho: A post-Roe ban will outlaw abortion 30 days after a Roe decision comes down (with some exceptions for rape, incest, and threats to the life of the mother). It is also possible the state will outlaw abortion without any exceptions in the future.
Kentucky: A post-Roe abortion ban will outlaw abortion immediately unless the mother’s life is in danger (although the law is very vague in defining what that may mean and likely will be subject to challenges in court).
Louisiana: A post-Roe abortion ban will outlaw abortion immediately unless the mother’s life is in danger. Louisiana Republicans recently tried to make abortion punishable as a homicide; however, that bill was withdrawn and they instead are trying to impose more penalties on providers.
Mississippi: A post-Roe ban will outlaw abortion except in cases of rape or if the mother’s life is in danger. It will go into effect 10 days after the Supreme Court decision comes down. Mississippi also had a pre-Roe ban on abortion.
Missouri: A post-Roe ban would immediately outlaw abortion (with an affirmative defense created if the mother’s life was in danger) if “triggered” by the state legislature, governor, or attorney general. All three entities have committed to doing so.
North Dakota: A post-Roe ban will outlaw abortion 30 days after the Roe decision comes down with exceptions for rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger.
Oklahoma: A post-Roe ban will outlaw abortion immediately unless the mother’s life is in danger. Oklahoma also just passed a bill that bans any abortion from fertilization onwards (although the bill specifically excludes contraception methods) with an exception for the mother’s life. This ban could possibly ban or restrict in vitro fertilization procedures (IVF) in the state. This ban, unlike the other trigger bans, went into effect immediately, and, barring court action, has made Oklahoma the first state in the country to ban abortion outright since Roe. Oklahoma also had a pre-Roe ban on abortion.
South Dakota: A post-Roe ban will outlaw abortion immediately unless the mother’s life is in danger.
Tennessee: A post-Roe ban will outlaw abortion 30 days after a Roe decision comes down, unless the mother’s life is in danger.
Texas: A post-Roe ban will outlaw abortion 30 days after the Roe decision comes down (but some restrictions may go into effect immediately), unless the mother’s life is in danger. Texas also had a pre-Roe ban on abortion.
Utah: A post-Roe ban will outlaw abortion immediately with exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, fetal anomaly, or if the mother’s life is in danger.
West Virginia: A pre-Roe ban will outlaw abortion immediately unless the mother’s life is in danger.
Wisconsin: A pre-Roe ban will outlaw abortion immediately unless the mother’s life is in danger; however, it is unclear how this will be enforced. Wisconsin’s attorney general says that he will not enforce the law but cannot stop local jurisdictions from doing so.
Wyoming: A post-Roe ban will go into effect five days after Roe is overturned, with exceptions for rape, incest, and threats to the life of the mother.
States where abortion will remain legal but some new abortion restrictions will be implemented, with more restrictions likely to come in the future
Florida: Abortions will be outlawed after 15 weeks, and it is likely the state Supreme Court and legislature will allow for a total ban in the coming months.
Georgia: “Heartbeat” ban will go into effect, and it is likely that the state will outlaw abortion altogether in the coming months.
South Carolina: “Heartbeat” ban will go into effect, and it is likely that the state will outlaw abortion altogether in the coming months—although it is unclear if the legislature will be able to do so in a special session before the ruling in Dobbs comes down.
States where abortion will remain legal but could face more restrictions in the future
Alaska: Abortion has been found to be protected throughout pregnancy by the Alaskan Constitution, but a possible constitutional amendment outlawing abortion has been proposed.
District of Columbia: Abortion care will remain legal throughout pregnancy; however, there is concern that a future Republican Congress could step in and make abortion illegal in the District.
Indiana: Abortion care will remain legal up to 20 weeks; however, it is likely that the state legislature and governor will pursue a total abortion ban in the near future.
Iowa: Abortion care will remain legal up to 20 weeks and is protected by the Iowa constitution; however, pressure on the state Supreme Court and a possible constitutional amendment may lead to a total abortion ban in the future.
Kansas: Abortion care will remain legal up to 20 weeks and is protected by the Kansas constitution; however, there is a referendum on a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion scheduled for Aug. 2.
Michigan: A pre-Roe ban that would have outlawed abortion immediately unless the mother’s life was in danger was recently struck down under the Michigan Constitution. The Democratic attorney general has said she will not appeal the decision in this case, but it is likely that further court challenges could follow from other parties. In addition, Michigan Republicans have indicated that they want to pass a constitutional amendment banning abortion in the state.
Montana: Abortion will remain legal until viability under the Montana Constitution; however, the state’s Republican legislators have indicated a willingness to challenge the Montana Supreme Court’s ruling.
Nebraska: Abortion will remain legal until 20 weeks, but the state legislature is calling for a special session to pass a trigger bill. A similar bill failed to garner the supermajority required to pass in the last legislative session. The trigger bill that is being called for by the governor contains no exceptions for rape or incest.
North Carolina: Abortion will remain legal through viability; however, the Republican legislature has shown a desire to place more restrictions on abortion. They currently do not have the numbers to overturn a veto by the Democratic governor, but they may gain enough seats to do so in the 2022 election.
Ohio: Abortion will remain legal up to 20 weeks, unless the state legislature manages to pass a trigger ban prior to Roe being overturned. The current trigger ban they are trying to pass only contains an exception for threats to the life of the mother. Any ban would take effect 90 days after the law is passed. The Ohio State Senate president currently states that he will not pursue this trigger ban until after a decision is made in the Supreme Court; however, it is possible that he could change his position, and is facing pressure from some members of his own party to do so.
Pennsylvania: Abortion care will remain legal through 24 weeks; however, the state’s Republican party has indicated that they will pursue an abortion ban if they secure the power to do so in this year’s elections.
Virginia: Abortion care will remain legal up to third trimester of pregnancy; however, Republican legislators have indicated that they will attempt to put more restrictions on abortion. Republicans currently control the Virginia House and the governor’s office, while Democrats control the Virginia Senate. The next legislative elections will take place in 2023.
States where abortion will remain legal, and where it is unlikely that there will be new restrictions in the future.
California: Abortion care will remain legal up to viability, and is unlikely to change.
Colorado: Abortion care will remain legal throughout pregnancy, and is unlikely to change.
Connecticut: Abortion care remains legal up to viability, and is unlikely to change. Connecticut also recently passed a law giving protection to people who travel from out of state for an abortion.
Delaware: Abortion care will remain legal up to viability, and is unlikely to change.
Hawaii: Abortion care will remain legal up to viability, and is unlikely to change.
Illinois: Abortion care will remain legal up to viability, and is unlikely to change.
Maine: Abortion care will remain legal up to viability, and is unlikely to change.
Maryland: Abortion care will remain legal up to viability, and is unlikely to change.
Massachusetts: Abortion care will remain legal up to 24 weeks, and is unlikely to change.
Minnesota: Abortion care will remain legal up to viability, and is unlikely to change under current state leadership, but there is a slight possibility that this could change if Republicans gain control of the governorship or legislature.
Nevada: Abortion care will remain legal up to 24 weeks, and is unlikely to change.
New Hampshire: Abortion care will remain legal up to 24 weeks, and is unlikely to change, but it should be noted that New Hampshire did recently pass a post-24-week ban—the first abortion ban in the state’s history.
New Jersey: Abortion care will remain legal throughout pregnancy, and is unlikely to change.
New Mexico: Abortion care will remain legal throughout pregnancy, and is unlikely to change, unless the Republicans win several state elections.
New York: Abortion care will remain legal up to 24 weeks (and beyond if there is a fetal anomoly or threats to the life of the mother), and is unlikely to change.
Oregon: Abortion care will remain legal throughout pregnancy, and is unlikely to change.
Rhode Island: Abortion care will remain legal through viability, and is unlikely to change.
Vermont: Abortion care will remain legal throughout pregnancy, and is unlikely to change.
Washington: Abortion care will remain legal up to viability, and is unlikely to change.
Update 06/01/2022 10:20AM: This article has been updated to indicate that in the case of a Supreme Court decision repealing Roe v. Wade, abortion will be outlawed in Texas in 30 days, although some restrictions may immediately go into effect.
Update 05/31/2022 1:25PM: This article has been updated to indicate that in the case of a Supreme Court decision repealing Roe v. Wade, abortion in Idaho and Tennessee will be outlawed in 30 days, not immediately.