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Roe v. Wade Turns Forty
Today marks the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision protecting a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion. While Republican politicians remain stridently and vocally opposed to the decision, polls show that an overwhelming majority of the public favors the decision. Even about half of those who believe that abortion should be illegal don’t want to see Roe overturned.
Even as we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of this important decision, it’s clear that we have to be more vigilant than ever. The last two years have seen a record number of attacks on abortion rights. As we saw last year, many conservatives even oppose more widely accepted reproductive health policies, including something so basic as the widespread availability of birth control.
ThinkProgress’ Tara Culp-Ressler rounds up some abortion rights numbers to know:
- 70: Percentage of Americans who now oppose overturning Roe, the highest number since 1989. Most religious groups also want to leave Roe in place.
- 135: Number of new state-level abortion restrictions enacted over the past two years. 2011 and 2012 represented the worst years for reproductive freedom since the 1973 Supreme Court decision.
- 87: Percentage of U.S. counties that don’t have an abortion clinic. At least four states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Mississippi — only have a single abortion clinic left.
- 45: By the time American women reach this age, nearly half of them will have had an unintended pregnancy at some point in their lives. About one in three will have had an abortion.
- 20: Number of states that allow insurers or employers to deny women affordable contraception by refusing to comply with Obamacare’s birth control guarantee. Studies have shown that Obamacare’s contraception provision will help reduce the national abortion rate.
- $470:Average cost of a first-trimester abortion. Even though most of the women who have abortions have health insurance, the majority of women pay out of pocket to have an abortion because of the cultural stigma surrounding abortion.
- 42: Percentage of women who have abortions whose income levels fall below the federal poverty line. Seven out of ten women who have had an abortion would have preferred to have the procedure sooner, but many of them were forced to delay because they needed more time to raise the money for it.
- 0.3: Even fewer than this percentage of abortion patients experience complications from their procedure that require hospitalization. Studies have repeatedly shown that having a legal abortion is actually safer than giving birth.
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