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Long-Term Decline in US Abortions Reverses, Showing Rising Need for Abortion as Supreme Court Is Poised to Overturn Roe v. Wade

“The long-term decline in abortions in the United States that started 30 years ago has reversed, according to new data from the Guttmacher Institute — [see also supplemental data tables] underscoring that the need for abortion care in the United States is growing just as the US Supreme Court appears likely to overturn or gut Roe v. Wade. According to new findings from Guttmacher’s latest Abortion Provider Census—the most comprehensive data collection effort on abortion provision in the United States—there were 8% more abortions in 2020 than in 2017. A recently leaked draft of the Supreme Court majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization would explicitly overturn Roe and 50 years of the Court’s own legal precedent upholding the constitutional right to abortion. States have been ramping up their attacks on abortion rights and access in anticipation of the Court’s decision, and 26 states are certain or likely to quickly ban abortion without Roe. People with very few resources and those who are already marginalized bear the brunt of abortion bans and other restrictive policies. An increase in abortion numbers is a positive development if it means people are getting the health care they want and need. Rather than focusing on reducing abortion, policies should instead center the needs of people and protect their right to bodily autonomy.

…The Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade at a time when need for abortion care has been increasing—including in many of the 26 states likely to ban abortion following the Court’s official decision on the Mississippi case. This means the impact of the ruling could be even more devastating than predicted by prior analyses, particularly for people across the country who already struggle to access abortion care…”

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