Access to reproductive care depends on more than red states vs. blue states—but that will matter. Here’s how the future could vary across the country.
BY THE END of June, abortion may no longer be a federally protected right. With its Dobbs ruling, the Supreme Court may empower individual states to ban abortion outright if they so choose. As a result, policy experts expect 26 states to enact some form of a ban. In 22 states, laws or amendments are already written—13 are “trigger bans” set to kick in the moment of an official SCOTUS ruling, and the other half will come in the days, weeks, or months that follow.
This will be a minefield for people with unwanted pregnancies. Its contours will feel familiar: Red states (according to electoral maps) tend to limit access; blue states tend to preserve it. Across the country, clinics in blue states like Illinois and Colorado are staffing up to prepare for an influx of patients from nearby red ones. Some are expanding their call center staffing, online services, or financial aid to patients. State governments are even considering new legislation to protect—and finance—abortion access. “It’s literally a line item in the budget,” says Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst for the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research organization for reproductive rights. “They want to help support people who have to travel. States are also understanding that their own residents are impacted by the need to pay for abortions.”
“All of us in blue states are expecting to see more people,” agrees Sue Dunlap, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. “And, frankly, we’re already seeing more people.”