When the Supreme Court overturned Roe in July of 2022, 14 states immediately enacted near-total abortion bans. Since then, researchers estimate nearly 65,000 rape-related pregnancies have likely occurred in those states alone. And even though many of the near-total abortion bans include exceptions for rape, the researchers found only 10 legal abortions occur, on average, in each state.
The new data, published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, shows that abortion bans likely made it impossible for rape victims to obtain abortions in their home states, even if the laws there provided exceptions for rape.
“The large number of estimated rape-related pregnancies in abortion ban states compared with the 10 or fewer legal abortions per month occurring in each of those states indicates that persons who have been raped and become pregnant cannot access legal abortions in their home state, even in states with rape exceptions,” the researchers wrote.
And while that figure is horrifying, it only accounts for rape-related pregnancies that likely occurred in the 14 states that had “trigger laws” that caused abortion bans to take effect immediately once Roe was overturned. It doesn’t account for states that have passed bans in the months since. There are now 21 U.S. states with near-total bans on abortion, and an additional six states with heavy restrictions on who can access abortion care within their borders. More than 25 million women ages 15 to 44, or about 40% of women of reproductive age, now live somewhere with more restrictions on abortion than before Dobbs.
This news comes at a time when the Republican lawmakers passing abortion bans have largely moved away from rape exceptions. Currently, only five of the states with abortion bans include exceptions in their laws for victims of assault, rape, or incest. This is despite the fact that most Americans believe that victims of assault should have access to abortion care. In fact, this is despite the fact that most Americans believe that all people should have access to abortion care.
It’s an election year, and Republicans have been clear about their goals: If they get back in the White House, they will seek a federal ban on abortion. Believe them when they tell you their plans. We can’t let them continue this assault on our rights. Vote like your freedom depends on it, because it does.