A new national report details the steep decline in clinician-provided abortions in states that ban abortion, and a substantial increase in those states where abortions remain legal with fewer restrictions.
In states with total or six-week abortion bans, the number of abortions decreased by almost 115,000 from July 2022 to June 2023 compared with baseline data from before the Supreme Court ruling. States where abortion remained legal beyond six weeks saw a cumulative increase of nearly 117,000 abortions in the 12 months following the Dobbs ruling, the new report finds.
The data comes from the national #WeCount reporting effort and is the fourth analysis of the impact of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by the group. Ohio State College of Public Health Professor Alison Norris serves as co-chair of #WeCount, which is housed at the Society of Family Planning. She also co-leads the Ohio Policy Evaluation Network (OPEN), a research collaborative that studies reproductive health policy in Ohio and surrounding states.
“The Dobbs decision turned abortion access in this country upside down,” Norris said.
“The fact that abortions increased overall in the past year shows what happens when abortion access is improved, and some previously unmet need for abortion is met. At the same time, this increase in abortion access can’t mask the tremendous hardships that people are overcoming to obtain basic health care services.”
Norris said it’s important to keep in mind that for those who can’t travel “being denied abortion care can have devastating mental, emotional and economic impacts. Unfortunately, this is the reality for people across wide swaths of the country right now.”
The 14 states with total abortion bans during this timeframe had 94,930 fewer clinician-provided abortions, and the three states where six-week bans were in place after Dobbs had a total of 19,660 fewer abortions provided by clinicians.
States with the largest increases in abortion include Illinois (21,500), Florida (20,460), North Carolina (11,830), California (8,810) and New Mexico (8,640).
#WeCount also tracks the shift in abortion care toward virtual-only telehealth providers. Abortions provided by virtual-only clinics have increased from a monthly average of 4,045 abortions before the Dobbs decision (about 5% of all abortions), to an average of 6,950 abortions per month in the 12 months following the Dobbs decision (more than 8% of all abortions).
The full #WeCount report is available here. #WeCount will continue to track data about the number of abortions provided in each state through 2024.