Access to legal abortion is now subject to state laws, allowing each state to decide whether to ban, restrict or allow the procedure. Some parts of the country are much stricter than others — Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky are among the 13 states with trigger laws that immediately made abortion illegal in the wake of the ruling. Overall, about half of the states will either prohibit or restrict abortion, and many of them refuse to make exceptions, even for pregnancies involving rape, incest and fetuses with genetic abnormalities. Many specialty abortion clinics may have to close in the coming days and weeks.
While the reversal of Roe v. Wade won’t end abortions in the US, it will likely lower the number and force those aspiring to follow other methods. People living in states that prohibit or severely restrict abortion may consider traveling to other areas, although crossing state lines can be time-consuming and prohibitively expensive for those in financial difficulties.
The likelihood that anti-abortion activists will use surveillance and data collection to track and identify people who want to have abortions are also higher after the decision. This information can be used in criminal proceedings, making it particularly dangerous for people who leave the home to cross state lines.
Vigilante volunteers are already setting up abortion clinics in states like Mississippi, Florida and North Carolina, filming people’s arrivals on cameras and recording details about them and their cars. While activists deny that the data is being used to harass or interact with people seeking abortions, experts fear that images of clients arriving and leaving clinics could be misused to attack and harm them. especially if law enforcement or private groups use facial recognition to identify them.
One option to avoid clinics is to order so-called abortion pills to discreetly terminate a pregnancy at home. The pills, which are safe and widely prescribed by doctors, are significantly cheaper than surgical procedures; they are already responsible for the majority of abortions in the US.