Q&A with the Planned Parenthood Lawyers
For now, abortion is still legal in most states. If you or someone you know is pregnant and seeking an abortion, go to AbortionFinder.org now to learn about your options.
The Supreme Court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization has ended federal constitutional protection for abortion, causing widespread confusion and devastation. To protect your rights and help connect patients to care, let's first understand the truth about this decision.
We asked Planned Parenthood's legal experts some of the most urgent questions we are hearing from supporters like you. Here's what you need to know:
No, the reversal of Roe v. Wade means the federal constitution no longer protects the right to abortion. That means the door is open for states to ban abortion. Some states have already done that, while others will move swiftly to pass abortion bans now that they have been given the green light by the Supreme Court. Abortion rights will continue to be protected in some states.
Abortion may be banned in up to 26 states over the coming days or months. That will block abortion access for over 36 million women, plus other people who can become pregnant. Fortunately, 16 states and Washington, D.C. have state constitutional or statutory protections for abortion to ensure care remains accessible in those states.
Make no mistake, overturning Roe is not the ultimate endgame for abortion opponents. Already, federal politicians have proposed a nationwide six-week ban on abortion and the end of Roe opens the door for that reality.
Prior to the Supreme Court's ruling, 13 states had passed so-called “trigger” laws designed to go into effect immediately or within days or weeks of a Supreme Court decision to overturn or undermine Roe. In addition, nine states (including some of the 13 with “trigger” laws) had pre-Roe bans on abortion that remain on the books. The ground is shifting by the hour, but already twelve states' bans are already in effect, with more to follow.
Even before the decision was announced, Oklahoma had banned abortion entirely and Texas had banned abortion at approximately six weeks of pregnancy through citizen-enforced, bounty-hunter provisions that the Supreme Court had already permitted to remain in effect.
Patients who live in states where abortion is restricted or unavailable will have to find a way to get an abortion out of state — where health care systems may be overwhelmed by the demand; seek care outside the health care system; or carry an unintended or dangerous pregnancy to term.
We know that for many, the financial and logistical barriers to finding out-of-state care are insurmountable. And, because of this country's legacy of systemic racism and discrimination, the burdens will fall most heavily on Black, Latino, Indigenous, and other people of color, as well as people with low incomes.
The most important way you can help support patients right now is to make an emergency donation. Your gift will be used to help patients access abortion, including covering the costs of travel, medical care, and other patient expenses.
Yes, three justices — Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor — filed a joint dissenting opinion.
"Countless women will now make different decisions about careers, education, relationships, and whether to try to become pregnant than they would have when Roe served as a backstop. Other women will carry pregnancies to term, with all the costs and risk of harm that involves, when they would previously have chosen to obtain an abortion. For millions of women, Roe and Casey have been critical in giving them control of their bodies and their lives. Closing our eyes to the suffering today's decision will impose will not make that suffering disappear...
After today, young women will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had. The majority accomplishes that result without so much as considering how women have relied on the right to choose or what it means to take that right away."
For now, the end of Roe means that there is no federal constitutional protection for abortion. Already, lawsuits have been filed in some state courts to protect abortion under the state constitution. And, again, 16 states and Washington, D.C., already have ensured state protections for abortion in statute or their constitutions. But the best protection for access to abortion nationwide would be reestablishing federal protection for it.
It's so important that we tell our own abortion stories and uplift stories from others.
An overwhelming number of Americans support legal abortion. But the stigma around abortion leads to shame and secrecy. Largely, the fact that abortion is not talked about as the vital, routine health care it is has made this decision possible. To secure new laws that protect and expand access, we must destigmatize abortion.
If you have a story to tell and you're able to tell it publicly, please post it with the hashtag #WhatEverTheReason If you can't speak publicly, find people you can share with and uplift abortion stories you see online.
The chaos and devastation unleashed by this Supreme Court decision will continue to harm patients — especially as lawmakers in more states rush to pass new bans and restrictions. We will continue to update you with the latest and most accurate information available.