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States can — and are — limiting access to abortion. In some parts of America, it is essentially unavailable.
Abortion has been a subject of debate for decades, and now, President Trump is poised to tip the balance of the Supreme Court into one that could reverse the historic decision that established a woman’s right to choose: Roe v. Wade.
The case of Roe v. Wade is a frequently a stand-in when we talk about abortion rights, and Trump would be fulfilling a campaign promise by appointed judges that could, in theory, overturn the decision. But although the landmark 1973 ruling made abortion legal — in fact, a guaranteed constitutional right governed under the right to privacy — states have limited powers to regulate the practice. And they have been given more and more authority to add restrictions and regulations that limit that right to a smaller number of individuals.
There are 1,193 state-level restrictions on abortion, and for some women, it has functionally made abortion inaccessible. And if the Court does overturn Roe v. Wade, some states already have laws that would automatically ban some or all abortion. But many American women already live as if that were the case.