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Visualizing Abortion Restrictions

FiveThirtyEight – Undue Burden How abortion restrictions have become obstacles for women across the U.S. By Anna Wiederkehr and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux. Illustrations by Nicole Rifkin

“Abortion is a constitutional right — at least for now. But for many women, it’s a right that comes with an asterisk. Under current law, states can’t ban abortion until after a fetus reaches viability, which usually happens around 23 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. Some states don’t have limits on when abortions can happen, but most do — which means women have anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to make their decision and get the procedure. Those restrictions don’t always seem especially burdensome, at least on their own. An ultrasound, a waiting period, a few hundred dollars — what’s the big deal? But when we talked to women about what their abortions were like, they told us that in real life the restrictions pile on top of each other. They add up in a way that’s expensive, bureaucratic, confusing and exhausting. Even in states like California, where there are few formal state restrictions, access to abortion can feel threadbare and fragile. And this is what abortion looks like while it’s still a constitutional right. All of these burdens could quickly morph and multiply if the Supreme Court upholds Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks later this year…”

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