Last night’s jaw-dropping leak of a draft majority opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court has revealed that conservative justices voted to overturn Roe v. Wade and upend nearly 50 years of abortion rights established by the landmark decision.
The rhetoric-filled opinion, obtained by Politico, was reportedly written by Justice Samuel Alito and backed by justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. It still leaves many unknowns, such as whether the draft is final or whether the version that leaked has since been further revised, and the news outlet said it was unclear how Chief Justice John Roberts will vote. Regardless of what happens from here, the leak itself—practically unheard of in SCOTUS world—is likely to unleash a fierce new front in the battle for reproductive rights.
States have been preparing for this moment. As women’s health groups have long warned, overturning Roe v. Wade would effectively put the issue of abortion rights back to state-level legislatures, and many are ready with so-called trigger bans that would go into effect immediately. Other states have abortion bans still on the books from before Roe v. Wade took effect, and still others have enacted near bans on abortion.
According to an analysis by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, 26 states would definitely or likely ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, meaning millions of women would suddenly lose access to safe abortions, or would have to travel—in some cases hundreds of miles—to find a clinic in another state.
The maps below underscore the seriousness and scope of the Supreme Court’s potential decision, which is fortunately not final yet.
- Guttmacher Institute map: This interactive map shows how far women would have to travel in each state to access a clinic if abortions are banned. Women in Southern states, such as Texas and Louisiana, would have to travel more than 500 miles. For Louisianans, the closest state in which to access an abortion would likely be Illinois. See the full map here.
- Planned Parenthood map: This extensively notated interactive map (also using data from Guttmacher) shows the legal status of abortion in each state, including current restrictions and likely restrictions should Roe v. Wade be overturned. See the full map here.
- CNN maps: The news network has a helpful series of maps (also using data from Guttmacher) showing which states have pre-Roe bans, trigger bans, and laws that severely restrict abortion. See the maps here.