Stories

What happens if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Without Roe v. Wade, access to abortion would be governed by a patchwork of state laws. Some states have laws that explicitly protect access, while others have an outright ban. About half of the states don't have explicit policy determining access to abortion.

Why it matters: The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh throws the future of Roe v. Wade into uncertainty. During the 2016 campaign, President Trump promised to appoint judges who were pro-life and would overturn the 1973 decision.

Data: State abortion policy from the Guttmacher Institute, state legislative makeup from NARAL. Map: Kerrie Vila/Axios

Where access would be restricted: Four states — Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota — have trigger laws that would immediately make abortion illegal. In seven states, pre-Roe restrictions on abortion would take effect.

Where access would be protected: There are 17 states that have either laws or court rulings protecting access to abortion regardless of Roe.

Uncertain: The remaining 23 states are without explicit laws or court decisions. Abortion access would be determined by state legislatures and governors. Of the “uncertain” states, three lean pro-choice and 12 lean pro-life, based on the pro-choice group NARAL’s categorization of state governors and legislatures. States with mixed governments (8) appear gray.