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Two Years After Dobbs Ruling: Where Abortion Stands Now and the Attacks It Continues to Face

Key Takeaways:

  • It can cost thousands of dollars for those needing to travel for abortions to get care.
  • The alt-right plans to use the Comstock Act as a way to ban abortions nationally. 
  • Project 2025 is a terrifying blueprint of how the next conservative leader plans to strip away our reproductive freedoms.

After the overturn of
Roe v. Wade nearly two years ago, some 171,300 Americans have been forced to travel hundreds of thousands of miles to get an abortion since January of last year.

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To give an example of what it would cost to get an abortion if you live in a Southern state, the Guttmacher Institute created a Monthly Abortion Provision Study to estimate how many abortions were provided in states without total abortion bans. For states with bans, they were able to track how many miles a person had to travel to receive an abortion. 

In 2023, more than 3,500 Louisianians traveled across multiple states to get care in places like Florida, Illinois, and Georgia. That’s roughly 2,000 miles traveled in total to get an abortion. 

Let’s dive in deeper to see how much it would roughly cost for someone in Louisiana to travel to Illinois to receive care. 

Illinois saw the most out-of-state patients and from the most places last year. 

Louisiana to Illinois is roughly 850 miles. If a person is driving from Baton Rouge to Chicago in a five-year-old midsize vehicle, they’re paying roughly $160 on gas round-trip. 

The travel time alone for driving from Baton Rouge to Chicago is 13 hours. 

The biggest major city closest to the halfway point is Memphis, Tennessee. The average price of a Hilton hotel room in Memphis for one night is $162, and they’ll need to book a hotel on the drive back as well, totaling $324. 

Abortions differ in price based on the gestation period. On average, an abortion before 10 weeks that can happen via a pill costs roughly $625 in Illinois. Follow-up visits, depending on the procedure, may be able to happen via tele-heath, so in this example the couple will not stay the night in Chicago. 

Five total days on the road with at least one day in the actual city is going to be costly for meals. Let’s say McDonald’s is eaten for every meal. According to MoneyGeek, the average cost of a McDonald’s meal is $7.57. For this example, the person receiving the abortion is traveling with a partner, bringing the total of three meals a day for five days to $228

Let’s add up the numbers:

The cost of an abortion for someone who needs to travel from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Chicago, Illinois is $1,337 at least.

In 2022, The New York Times completed a similar exercise; however, it has not been updated since Florida passed an abortion ban after six weeks, making most of the southern United States hostile to and virtually inaccessible for abortions. 


What Does That Mean For The Future?

Have you heard of the Comstock Act? It’s a 150-year-old dormant law from 1873. Revitalizing it can force a nationwide abortion ban—even in states where abortion is still legal. It’s a way that the conservative party could ban abortions nationally. 

The alt-right is trying to use the Comstock Act of 1873, which bans the mailing of obscene matter or anything intended to prevent conception or procuring. This includes porn, contraceptives, information about contraceptives, letters of unmarried people discussing dating, or any information or instrument, substance, device, or medicine that can be used to produce an abortion .

In 1971, Congress repealed the provisions of the act concerning contraception, and after the SCOTUS decision on Roe v. Wade in 1973 that recognized the right to an abortion through the second trimester of pregnancy, the Comstock Act became dormant but didn’t disappear.


How the Comstock Act Affects Americans Today

After SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, additional clarifications were provided by the DOJ, concluding the Comstock Act doesn’t prohibit the mailing of abortion medications (mifepristone or misoprostol) unless the sender intends for the drugs to be used unlawfully—for example, by providing an abortion where it’s not legal to do so. These medications can be used for things other than abortion, such as management of a miscarriage. Anti-abortion groups, however, are pushing for a total nationwide ban of mailing anything used to produce an abortion, regardless of the knowledge or intent. 


How Project 2025 and the GOP Plan to Use the Comstock Act 

The GOP intends to misapply and misinterpret the Comstock Act to use it for a national abortion ban. While Project 2025 may not use the word “Comstock” directly, it can be interpreted that the next conservative leader enforce federal law against distributing abortion pills through the mail and enforce the law against providers and distributors as well. 

The best way to stop Project 2025 from happening is to defeat Trump in 2024. Will you sign up to join MoveOn’s election program and be a Vote Mobilizer? 


How You Can Help

The continual attacks on abortion access are scary and getting worse by the day, but we have the power to fight back. We can’t let the U.S. have a federal abortion ban. 

In every single state, no matter how ruby red, where abortion has been on the ballot, voters have turned out in droves to protect it. 

And this November, we can do it again. But only if we organize. Only if we vote.

You can do your part today by signing the pledge to vote to protect abortion this November. Place your free sticker somewhere visible, and share the pledge with your family and friends.


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