If Roe falls

Blog / January 4, 2019

The repeal of Roe v. Wade remains the most significant threat to reproductive rights, and an increasing probability following the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Because of increasing state-level restrictions across the country, a world without the protections of Roe is already a reality for millions of Americans. For many, the right to an abortion is merely theoretical. Barriers to access have already effectively banned it as states chip away at abortion rights, creating unduly burdensome restrictions. Mississippi, for example, only has a single abortion provider for the entire state. Furthermore, people of color, undocumented immigrants, people living in poverty and/or rural areas, and members of the LGBTQ community face huge obstacles accessing reproductive healthcare in general.

The sweeping repeal of Roe v. Wade, however, remains the most significant threat to every American’s reproductive rights, and an increasing probability following the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, flipping the court to a conservative (and pro-life) majority.

States on both sides of the abortion debate are scrambling to prepare for the post-Roe world.

Here’s a look at what’s in store, by the numbers:


abortion cases are one step away from going to the Supreme Court for a decision


states already have “trigger bans” on the books, automatically banning abortion the moment Roe is overturned


states are likely to implement outright abortion bans if Roe is overturned


states are at risk of banning abortion


states have laws protecting the right to abortion in a post-Roe world


We must continue to fight.

States can and must pass laws that would protect a woman’s right to choose regardless of a Supreme Court ruling in Roe. Here in New York, the Reproductive Health Act has been on the table for more than a decade, and there’s a real chance of getting it passed this year. Governor Cuomo has already taken executive action to protect abortion rights in the state. In Oregon, the 2017 Reproductive Health Equity Act also preserves a woman’s right to choose should federal protections be overturned.

Abortion pills and other technological advances can also offer a glimmer of hope for a post-Roe world. Mifepristone and misoprostol in combination (or misoprostol alone) can provide safe, at-home, abortions for women without access to in-person reproductive healthcare. However, high-quality pills are costly (from $300 to $1,000) and require some medical experience to administer safely, which  could become rare and illegal in a post-Roe era.

Roe v. Wade has been at the core of reproductive rights since 1973. It has been (and still is) used in countless court cases striking down abortion restrictions, and perhaps more importantly is an enduring signal to women that the right to choose is Constitutionally protected. Today, with that precedent facing a more immediate threat than it has in decades, we must continue to fight. Call your lawmakers. We have to enshrine Roe’s protections into law, so even if Roe falls, we are not thrust back into the days of dangerous, underground, abortions.