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Abortion Access: What's at Stake

A bill that would have protected women's rights to abortion just failed in the Senate. Here's what else you need to know.

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In late 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court began oral arguments in a Mississippi abortion-restriction case, in which that state essentially asked the court to overturn women's constitutional right to abortion that was clarified through Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on that case by summer 2022—and if Mississippi gets its way, women's right to abortion will depend on the state in which you live. Some states, like Oregon, have abortion protections in place at the state level; other states, like Idaho, have "trigger" laws in place that would instantly ban abortion in their states should Roe be overturned.

GUTTMACHER INSTITUTE
  • Guttmacher Institute

Here's a primer on some of the things you need to know:

• 80% of Americans wanted abortion to be legal in some form as of 2020, according to a Gallup poll. 35% of Republicans support abortion rights, according to a Pew Research poll.

• 36 million people would lose access to abortion if Roe is overturned. 75% of abortion patients are low-income, with 49% living below the federal poverty level.

• If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, neighboring Idaho will ban abortion, and their law will mimic Texas', encouraging residents to spy on each other in exchange for cash rewards.

• Those seeking abortions in Idaho will need to go to other states to get one—which means the Bend Health Center will become the nearest abortion clinic for many eastern Oregonians as well as Idahoans.

"We want to have the ability to be there for our out-of-state neighbors, while continuing to meet the needs of our patients in Central Oregon," said Joanna Dennis-Cook, Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette's Bend Health Center manager . "We are training staff to really be prepared, so we can build our capacity for this moment."

• A study by The Guttmacher Institute found health centers in Oregon could experience a 234% increase in out-of-state patients (Source: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon). Oregon's health centers are already experiencing staffing shortages.

The Women's Health Protection Act, which would prohibit states from putting abortion bans in place, passed the U.S. House in 2021. Oregon Rep. Cliff Bentz—who represents the eastern half of the state, including Central Oregon—voted against. This week, it failed in the U.S. Senate. Oregon's two senators—Sen. Jeff Merkley and Sen. Ron Wyden—voted in favor of opening up debate on the issue, but Republicans opposed it and filibustered it.

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)

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