The fall of Roe v. Wade will upend a half-century of reproductive health care across the U.S., changing where and how women access abortion and their decisions on whether to have children. Women’s reproductive lives look far different from 1973. Rates of legal abortion soared before declining somewhat in recent years, access to contraception has increased and adoption rates have dropped, reports the Wall Street Journal. Many women have come to see abortion as integral to the advances they have made in education and the workforce over five decades. Now, about half the states are expected to ban all or most abortions. Abortion clinics in conservative states are preparing to close, while clinics in more liberal areas and medication abortion providers brace for a surge in demand.
“We’re talking about a scenario in which there is a dramatic increase in inequality in access to abortion,” said Caitlin Myers, an economics professor at Middlebury College who studies abortion access. Texas, Oklahoma and Kentucky have passed laws temporarily or permanently suspending access to most abortions, providing a preview of what life could look like in some two dozen states post-Roe. An analysis by Myers found that about 100,000 women trying to get an abortion wouldn’t be able to access an abortion provider because of the increased distances they would have to travel in the year after the court’s decision. About 75,000 of those women would likely give birth as a result, she said.