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The Dobbs Divide

Five Thirty Eight – “Percentage change in the number of abortions per month, compared to the average monthly abortions before Dobbs (April and May 2022), through March 2023 by state: “New estimates provided exclusively to FiveThirtyEight by #WeCount — a national research project led by the Society of Family Planning, a nonprofit that supports research on abortion and contraception — indicate that there were 24,290 fewer legal abortions between July 2022 and March 2023, compared to a pre-Dobbs baseline. These people might have remained pregnant or obtained an abortion outside the legal system, which would not be captured in #WeCount’s data. But the overall decline in abortions is just one part of the story. #WeCount’s estimates, which were collected by contacting every abortion clinic in the country multiple times over a period of twelve months, shows the Dobbs ruling has created intense turmoil for tens of thousands of Americans across the country. There were an estimated 93,575 fewer legal abortions in states that banned or severely restricted abortion for at least one week in the nine-month period after Dobbs. The number of legal abortions in states where abortion remained mostly available did rise by 69,285 in the same period, signaling that many people did travel and successfully obtain an abortion within the U.S. health care system. “But a significant number of people are trapped and can’t get out of places like Texas,” said Caitlin Myers, a professor of economics at Middlebury College who studies abortion policy and reviewed the #WeCount data at FiveThirtyEight’s request. “And for the people who are traveling, we’re talking about enormous distances. Some people are likely getting delayed into the second trimester.” With more bans on the horizon in big states like Florida — and abortion clinics and funds struggling to keep up in other states — abortion access seems likely to erode further in the second year after Dobbs…”

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