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The US Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade established a privacy right to choose abortion. In 1992, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v Casey reaffirmed Roe with the Supreme Court calling reproductive decisions “the most intimate and personal choices a person may make…central to personal dignity.” Casey allows abortion regulations, but states cannot impose an “undue burden,” where the law’s “purpose or effect” places a substantial obstacle in a woman’s path in accessing an abortion previability.

State abortion restrictions—meaning laws that restrict whether, when, and under what circumstances a woman may obtain an abortion—increased in the aftermath of Roe and Casey. The Supreme Court is unlikely to review bans on abortion under all or most circumstances but appears poised to incrementally uphold multiple restrictions, including those that affect the medical procedures, health professionals and institutions, decision-making, and funding involved in the provision of abortion services.

This article explores how these restrictions would limit the affordability of or access to abortions, undermine trust in the patient-physician relationship, and jeopardize women’s health, emotional well-being, and dignity. It also examines how they would disproportionately affect already disadvantaged and underserved women, raising concerns about equity and justice.

Publication Citation

The Journal of the American Medical Association.