The landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade and subsequent rulings upholding it have granted Americans the right to abortion since 1973, but the reality of that right varies dramatically from state to state.
Since Roe became the law of the land, individual states have found dozens of ways to make it as difficult as possible for patients to actually access the procedure.
From strict regulations on clinics and bans on abortion after a certain number of weeks, to requiring patients to receive counseling and undergo waiting periods, these laws have tested the limits of Roe — with some ending up in federal court.
If President Donald Trump’s nominee Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, the Supreme Court will have a solidly conservative majority, causing many abortion rights advocates to fear that such a makeup would overturn Roe altogether.
The more likely scenario, according to legal experts, is for the high court to chip away at abortion rights by ruling in favor of the state-level restrictions that reach their .
These seven charts and maps illustrate what abortion access in America actually looks like today, and what could happen if Roe fell.
Abortion clinics per state, 2014
In the decades since Roe, individual states have enacted a slew of restrictions to make it as difficult as possible for abortion clinics to operate.
Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers, or TRAP laws, impose very specific regulations on clinics. Oftentimes, these restrictions are so expensive that the costs of implementing them cause many clinics to close down altogether.
These include requirements on the width of corridors, the size and equipment of procedure rooms, and mandating that clinics have admission privileges at local hospitals, even though less than 0.5% of abortions result in complications.
Research has tracked the number of abortion clinics dropping after states have passed TRAP laws. Five states now have just one remaining abortion clinic.
Percentage of counties without a known clinic, 2014
The Supreme Court struck down one of the most extreme TRAP laws, Texas’ HB2, in a 5-3 vote in 2016. But despite that, over 20 states still have such laws on their books.
A closer look at the county level shows stark disparities in abortion access across the country. There are now 16 states where 95% of counties do not have an abortion clinic.
Percentage of women aged 15–44 living in a county without a clinic, 2014
By causing clinics to close down, TRAP laws have the consequence of making patients further and further to get to a clinic, especially in states that require patients to make multiple trips to the clinic and undergo a 24-to-72 hour “waiting periods.”
According to a 2017 study from the Guttmacher Institute, one in 5 American women have to travel at least 43 miles to reach their closest abortion provider. Between 2011 and 2014, the distance required to reach a clinic increased in seven states.
Researchers found notable increases in distance to a clinic in Missouri and Texas, states that had introduced TRAP laws.
“Increased travel distance means increased costs for transport, overnight stay, lost wages from time off work, and childcare,” wrote Dr. Ushma Upadhyay, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California.
She continued: “For a woman who is economically disadvantaged, having to travel a long distance could put an abortion out of reach, leading her to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.”