April 17, 2006


'Roe v. Wade': The divided states of America (Susan Page, 4/17/06, USA TODAY)

USA TODAY used the Guttmacher data and other factors to calculate how states would be likely to respond if Roe were reversed. The 1973 decision recognized access to abortion as part of a constitutional right to privacy and limited states' ability to restrict it.

The conclusions:

•Twenty-two state legislatures are likely to impose significant new restrictions on abortion. They include nearly every state in the South and a swath of big states across the industrial Rust Belt, from Pennsylvania to Ohio and Michigan. These states have enacted most of the abortion restrictions now allowed.

Nine states are considering bans similar to the one passed in South Dakota — it's scheduled to go into effect July 1 — and four states are debating restrictions that would be triggered if the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

•Sixteen state legislatures are likely to continue current access to abortion. They include every state on the West Coast and almost every state in the Northeast. A half-dozen already have passed laws that specifically protect abortion rights. Most of the states in this group have enacted fewer than half of the abortion restrictions now available to states.

•Twelve states fall into a middle ground between those two categories. About half are in the Midwest, the rest scattered from Arizona to Rhode Island.

The result, according to this analysis, would be less a patchwork of laws than broad regional divisions that generally reinforce the nation's political split. All but three of the states likely to significantly restrict abortions voted for President Bush in 2004. All but four of the states likely to maintain access to abortion voted for Democrat John Kerry.

The 22 states likely to enact new restrictions include 50% of the U.S. population and accounted for 37% of the abortions performed in 2000, the latest year for which complete data were available.

The 16 states likely to protect access to abortion include 35% of the U.S. population and accounted for 48% of the abortions performed.

Then as migration patterns follow the kind of social climate that's been created you'd have Red states become even more American and Blue become even more European. Of course, that means the Red would keep growing while the Blue die off and since national power would keep shifting Redward you'd reach a point where the Blue lost control of the issue.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 17, 2006 8:51 AM

When it comes to abortion, the blue states are more 'European' than most of Europe. (If 'European' has come to mean libertine statism)

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at April 17, 2006 10:18 AM

I disagree about CO and NM being on the list of states that would be "more permissive" toward abortion. NM is a state that would be among the most "redneck" if people weren't afraid to apply that term to rural Hispanics. And CO is only this year's election away from getting a legislature more favorably disposed toward more abortion restrictions.

And as long as Arizona has the high amounts of white, elderly folks it does, it will continue to be a fairly pro-life state.

Posted by: Brad S at April 17, 2006 11:10 AM

European laws regarding abortion are generally quite a bit more restrictive than what we have in this country.

Posted by: Lisa at April 17, 2006 11:22 AM