How to get an abortion in the US

14 Dec 2022
Stefano Mirabello
Stefano Mirabello
Medical Writer
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In a landmark ruling released on June 27th, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v Wade- the decision that made abortion legal in all 50 U.S. states. This means that states are now free to ban abortion within their borders.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned Roe v. Wade, taking away the constitutional right to abortion. While this new law ruling has been celebrated by Pro-Life groups, it has sparked outrage among Pro-Choice groups and left many women wondering what this will mean for them and their reproductive rights in the US.

We’re here to explain what this ruling means and how it will affect US women.

What was Roe v Wade?

Roe v. Wade was a landmark Supreme Court decision that legalised abortion nationwide. The case began in Texas in 1970 when a woman named Norma McCorvey (using the pseudonym “Jane Roe”) filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s laws banning abortion. The case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in Roe’s favour in 1973. The Court found that the right to privacy protected by the Constitution includes a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her pregnancy, including the decision to have an abortion. The Roe decision overturned state laws across the country that had banned or severely restricted abortion,

The court’s ruling in favour of Roe meant that states could no longer ban abortion outright and had to allow access to abortions under certain circumstances, such as when the pregnancy posed a threat to the mother’s life or health, or in cases of rape or incest.

How will this new ruling affect me?

The short answer is that this ruling could make it harder for patients to get safe and legal abortions, depending on where they live.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than half of all women will live in states where abortion is banned outright, and those who live in states with restrictive laws will be forced to travel long distances or forego necessary medical care. The impact of this ruling will be felt most keenly by low-income women and women of colour, who are already more likely to face barriers to abortion access.

In the United States, the cost of an abortion can vary depending on a number of factors. The type of procedure, the stage of pregnancy, and the state in which the procedure is performed can all affect the price. For example, a medication abortion ( also known as the “abortion pill”) may cost around $500, while a surgical abortion can cost upwards of $1,500. In some cases, insurance may cover part or all of the cost. However, following the Supreme Court decision many insurance companies are no longer required to provide coverage for abortion care. As a result, women who wish to terminate their pregnancies may have to pay for the entire cost out of pocket. For some women, this cost can be prohibitive.

In addition to financial considerations, there are also often logistical barriers to accessing abortion care. Many states have enacted laws that require women to travel long distances to reach an abortion provider, and many providers only offer appointments during business hours making it difficult for women who work or have childcare responsibilities to get to their appointments. The high cost and limited availability of abortion care can make it difficult for women to exercise their right to choose.

Is abortion still accessible in my state now that Roe v. Wade was overturned? 

Facts are changing quickly but the current state of abortion according to The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is :

12 states have completely banned abortion

  • Idaho
  • South Dakota
  • Missouri
  • Kentucky
  • West Virginia
  • Tennessee
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Texas
  • Louisiana

11 States where abortion is legal but severely restricted

  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • Wisconsin
  • Utah
  • Arizona
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Florida

5 States where abortion is legal but with restrictions

  • Michigan
  • Pennsylvania
  • Iowa
  • Nebraska
  • Kansas

3 States where abortion is legal with some abortion restrictions

  • Virginia
  • Minnesota
  • Colorado

19 States where abortion is legal and few or no restrictions exist

  • Washington
  • Montana
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Illinois
  • Alaska
  • Hawai
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • Maryland
  • Delaware

Steps to getting an abortion

1. The first step is to find out if you are eligible for an abortion. To do this, you will need to find out the gestational age of your pregnancy and your state’s abortion laws. You can use this website to find out both of these things: http://www.abortioncarenetwork.org/. If you are not sure how many weeks of pregnancy along you are, your doctor or clinic can help you figure that out.

2. Once you have determined that you are eligible for an abortion, the next step is to make an appointment with a doctor or abortion clinic. If you do not have a regular doctor, you can use this website to find an abortion provider in your area: https://prochoice.org

3. At your appointment, your doctor will confirm your pregnancy and determine how far along you are. They will also give you information about the different types of abortions and help you decide which one is right for you.

4. Once you have decided on the type of abortion, your doctor will perform the procedure. The length of time it takes and any pain or side effects vary depending on the type of abortion and how far along you are in your pregnancy.

5. After your abortion, it is normal to feel a range of emotions including relief, sadness, anger, or guilt. You can talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling and they can refer you to counselling or support groups if necessary.

6. Finally, make sure to follow up with your doctor according to their instructions in order to ensure that everything is healing properly.

The recent overturning of Roe v Wade has left many people feeling confused and scared about their reproductive rights. However, it is important to remember that this ruling does not make abortion illegal nationwide- it simply gives individual states the power to ban it within their borders. This means that if you live in a state that is planning on banning abortion, there are still steps you can take to ensure you have access to safe and legal healthcare.

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