More than 200 abortion clinics will have to immediately close if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, according to a new report.
The report, published by leading research group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, analyzed the changing landscape of abortion facilities in the U.S. between 2017 and 2021. ANSIRH found that the repeal of Roe, the 1973 landmark decision that affords federal abortion protections, could lead to the closure of at least 202 abortion clinics — just over a quarter of all abortion facilities — across the country.
“Given that the majority of abortion patients are low-income, trends suggest that economic and logistical pressures on people seeking abortion will only be intensified as disparities between restricted and protected access states widen in the U.S.,” the report states.
Most of these clinic closures would be linked to trigger laws, which would immediately ban or severely restrict abortion access in 26 states if Roe falls. The closures would hit the South and Midwest the hardest.
The demand for abortion care has actually increased in recent years, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research organization. After decades of decline in abortion care, there was an 8% increase in abortions preformed between 2017 and 2020.
Still, the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case centers on a Mississippi 15-week abortion restriction, and it seeks to move the federal 24-week gestational limit to 15 weeks or repeal Roe. A leaked draft decision published in May revealed that the court’s conservative majority is poised to overturn Roe altogether.
The court’s final decision is expected to be handed down before July 1.
ANSIRH’s report, co-authored with the Abortion Facility Database Project, also found that the number of abortion facilities around the U.S. increased between 2017 and 2021. But the changes in clinic numbers and access heavily depended on the area of the country. During that time period, for example, 25 abortion clinics opened in the South — but another 48 clinics closed.
And Florida — which has had the third largest number of abortion clinics in the U.S., after California and New York, and has been a destination for many in the Southeast who needed abortion care — will likely see closures soon. The state recently passed a 15-week ban that goes into effect next month.
As of last year, nine states had no more than two abortion facilities. And six states only had one abortion clinic, including Mississippi, South Dakota and West Virginia.
The number of clinics that provide only medication abortion increased between 2017 and 2021 — a change that is likely due to the Food and Drug Administration’s loosening of certain restrictions on abortion pills during the pandemic. But the increase in clinics providing abortion pills mostly occurred in blue states or regions that already had a lot of clinics.