Roe has fallen. Now what?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court announced this morning the long-awaited outcome of Dobbs v. Jackson, a case meant to decide the constitutionality of a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15-weeks gestation. The Court voted 6-3 to overturn Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 established that women have a constitutional right to obtain abortions under the umbrella of a fundamental right to privacy. In less than 50 years, the last remaining protections of Roe v. Wade have crumbled into dust.

In the coming days and months, 26 states, mostly in the South and Midwest, are expected to ban abortion. Some of these states have pre-Roe abortion bans in place which were never repealed. Some of these states have trigger bans specifically designed to go into effect after the fall of Roe. Others, such as Florida, simply have a political makeup and legislative history which makes them likely to follow this trend.

It's a dark day for women. But what happens now?

America under Dobbs

Color-coded map of the United States showing the types of different abortion bans each state has.

When Roe was initially decided in 1973, many states did not take their abortion bans off of the books. The map above shows the variety of different bans across the United States. The various shades of red and orange are bans already on the books which are either currently in effect or which will soon go into effect. The yellow states are ones which are expected to follow suit and ban abortion now that Roe has been overturned.

Some states have multiple bans in place, so the most severe ban in each state takes precedence on this map. For example, Texas has both a pre-Roe ban, a trigger ban, as well as a heartbeat ban which took effect in September of 2021. Now that Roe has fallen, Texas's trigger ban will go into effect in thirty days. While the heartbeat ban provides only a civil cause of action for abortions conducted after the detection of embryonic or fetal cardiac activity, which usually occurs around six weeks gestation, the trigger ban will make receiving, providing, or assisting someone in getting an abortion at any stage a second degree felony.

This is what the United States will look like under Dobbs. Women in some states will have to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to obtain a legal abortion. Medical tourism will become a necessity for many woman to end an unwanted pregnancy. Women who cannot afford an abortion will be forced to turn to organizations known as abortion funds—which may no longer be legal in certain jurisdictions—to help them obtain out-of-state abortions. Abortion funds will be stretched thin by the greater expense of helping women finance out-of-state travel and hotel stays to obtain legal abortions. Some women, unable to access out-of-state abortion care, will turn to the black market for abortion pills which remain legal in some states, such as mifepristone. Others will turn to more risky methods, which is likely to prove lethal for some women.

And others, unable to access abortion at all, will be forced to carry their unwanted pregnancies to term. Some women will die because of preventable pregnancy complications.

Now what?

Exactly what will happen in the coming days remains unclear. We know which states are likely to illegalize abortion now that Roe has fallen, but we cannot be certain that other states will not follow. We do not know exactly what the toll of this Supreme Court decision will be. One thing is certain: We cannot stop fighting for reproductive justice. The lives and liberty of women and girls depends on it.

Here are a few ways you can get involved:

Get out and protest

Emergency protests are mounting across the country in response to the fall of Roe v. Wade. Women and their supporters are rallying at courthouses and marching through the streets demanding reproductive justice. Several websites are aggregating information for upcoming protests, but you can sometimes also find protests near you by searching the events tab on Facebook. On occasion, local news stations may even announce upcoming protests if they have been informed of them in advance.

Before going to a protest, you should always read up on your rights. The First Amendment guarantees all people the right to protest peacefully, but you should also be aware of how to interact with law enforcement and what rights protect you from unreasonable searches and seizures. The National Lawyers Guild has "Know Your Rights" guides available on their website which can help you navigate encounters with law enforcement. See their guides here. The National Lawyers Guild also maintains a referral directory of attorneys and can help you find legal observers for your protests.

Websites aggregating protests:

Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights
We Won't Go Back

No protests happening near you? Organize one! Make sure to check your local laws for requirements and advertize your protest widely. All of these websites allow you to submit your event to be listed.

Contact your representatives

Contact your representatives in Congress and encourage them to vote to codify abortion rights into federal law. Roe granted only common law protections to women which could be easily overturned by the Supreme Court, but federal legislation establishing the right to abortion can secure reproductive rights for women once more. Put pressure on your Senators and Representatives to codify the protections of Roe.

If you live in a state where abortion is illegal or likely to become illegal, hound your representatives to encourage them to pass legislation granting women the right to an abortion in your state. With the right to an abortion is no longer guaranteed at the federal level, it is now imperative for us to call on our state officials to stand up for women's rights.

You can also contact your city and county representatives to establish your city as a safe haven for women seeking abortions. Some district attorneys have already come forward saying that they will not be pursuing criminal convictions for people accused of obtaining or providing abortions. While abortion may be illegal at the state level, cities can still make the situation safer by directing police forces to not conduct arrests for abortions and by declining to prosecute these arrests if they do occur.

Volunteer with organizations supporting pregnant women

Pregnant women will need support in the coming days. Pregnancy and childbirth is expensive. Raising a child is even more expensive. In the coming days, many women who would otehrwise choose to obtain an abortion will be forced to carry to term, even if they cannot afford to have a child. While some of these women will choose to put their children up for adoption, many of them will choose to parent. Women's centers and other organizations which support pregnant women and mothers are always in need of donations and volunteers to keep helping women.

Unfortunately, an unwanted pregnancy can keep women trapped in abusive relationships. You can consider volunteering with a domestic violence shelter or hotline to help women in need in this respect as well.

Find domestic violence shelters near you here.

Donate to abortion funds

You can assist organizations which help women afford abortions by donating your time or money. Please note that in some states, the work that abortion funds do in helping women obtain abortions may become a crime or a civil cause of action. This means that some currently operating funds in states where abortion is illegal may be forced to suspend their operations or may have to change the ways they assist pregnant women. Out-of-state funds may be able to pick up some of this slack, but many abortion funds are currently unsure how the fall of Roe will affect their operations. The dust is still settling; the best thing to do is to reach out to your local abortion fund and ask what kind of support they need.

Find a local abortion fund here.

Get out and vote

And lastly, vote in the upcoming elections, both local and national. The midterm elections are only a few months away, and we need to make sure that candidates who support women's rights and reproductive justice are the ones who end up in office. We cannot let people who want to take rights away from women continue to make our laws. can help you find your polling location.