If the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, 26 statesare expectedto ban abortion. In other words, the overturning of Roe v. Wade would impact more than half of the women living in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, the overturning of Roe v. Wade would not only affect states that choose to ban abortions. Rather, all states would be impacted directly. 

The Legal Changes of Roe’s Overturning

Assuming the overturning of Roe v. Wade, each state will be able to choose how they limit abortion

In states that are likely to ban or heavily restrictabortion, abortion already takes place less often than in states where it will most likely remain legal. For instance, New York’s abortion rate is 17 times as high as Missouri’,as data indicates.Additionally, New York’s abortion rate is four times as high as South Carolina’s. 

“A lot of these states that will ban abortion have very restricted access already,” Margot Sanger-Katzsaid, a domestic correspondent for The New York Times. “The clinic closures there just wouldn’t lead to a lot of change, relative to current conditions,” she said. 

Consequences for Illegal Abortions

Abortion bans following Roe v. Wade’s likely overturning would establish prison sentences for those who have illegal abortions, along with punishing the physicians who perform the abortions. 

In Texas, for example, anyone who performs induces or attempts an abortion will be guilty of “a felony of the first degree if an unborn child dies as a result of the offense,”as the state’s trigger ban states. 

Similarly, in Alabama, those who perform an abortion, or provide “aids, abets or prescribes” can face up to a year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. 

In South Carolina, a person who terminates their pregnancy with a pill or procedure faces up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000, following similar measures as Alabama’s pre-Roe ban.

Other states have presented bills with harsher consequences. A Republican lawmaker presented legislation in Louisiana that would classifyabortionas homicide. However, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards explained he will not support legislation that would label abortion as a homicide. Edwards, however, has opposed abortion rights during all his time as governor. In 2019, he signed a law that banned abortions at 6 weeks of pregnancy. While he remains an anti-abortion advocate, he finds the proposal to consider abortion as homicide unwarranted. 

Traveling for Abortions

Women with the means to pay for travel costs will seek to haveabortionsin states that are lenient towards abortions. 

“Already, with 89% of counties not having abortion facilities, people are confronted with these driving distances,” said Katie Watson, a lawyer and bioethicist with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in aninterview with U.S. News.

“If Roe is overturned as we expect, and states are allowed to ban or severely restrict abortion, we will see these travel times go much higher for so many pregnant people,” she added.

However, the ability to travel to states where abortion is legal may be restricted. 

“I think states are not going to rest with just saying ‘there won’t be abortions in our state.’ I think they’re going to want to ban abortion for their citizens as much as they can, which would mean stopping them from traveling,” said David Cohen, professor at Drexel University’s Kline School of Law in aninterview with The Guardian. 

“We’re going to see state-against-state battles that are really going to divide this country even deeper on this issue,” he continued.


The Supreme Court is expected to finalize its abortion ruling in June or in early July. Although the leaked opinion draftobtained and published by Politicosuggests the court is leaning towards overturning Roe, their final decision remains unknown.