Photo credit: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
With one clinic in the entire state, abortion access in Mississippi is already extremely limited.
- Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Center’s client in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case, is the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi.
- 99% (81 out of 82) of Mississippi counties do not have a single abortion clinic.1
- There are nearly 600,000 women of reproductive age in Mississippi.2
- 91% of these women live in counties without an abortion clinic.3
Mississippi residents seeking abortions already face numerous burdens to access care such as missing work, arranging for childcare, travelling long distances, complying with mandatory delays, and foregoing routine expenses to pay for an abortion.
- A 2019 survey of over 200 Mississippi residents who obtained abortions at Jackson Women’s Health Organization shows that:4
- Over half of the patients missed work to attend an abortion appointment.
- One in three patients had to make childcare arrangements.
- Almost half of the patients had to travel 50 miles or more one way.
- Although the mandatory waiting period is 24 hours, about one-third of patients were unable to return for their second abortion appointment for a week or more.
- Nearly half of the patients had to delay at least one routine expense (i.e., utilities, rent, food) or sell something of value to cover the cost of abortion.
Mississippi has focused on passing laws that make it harder for people to access needed reproductive health care—even though the state has among the worst health outcomes for women and children in the U.S.
- Mississippi ranks dead last (50th) among states for indicators measuring the health of women and children, such as access to publicly funded women’s health services, clinical care during pregnancy, and infant and maternal mortality.5
- Mississippi has the worst infant mortality rate among states, with a rate over 50% higher than the national average.6
- Mississippi ranks 32nd among states for maternal mortality.7
- Mississippi ranks the worst (51st) among states and the District of Columbia in State health system performance measured by access to care, quality of care, health outcomes, and health disparities.8
- Mississippi lags behind the rest of the nation in public health spending per resident.
- Ranking 44th among states, Mississippi spends nearly 60% less on public health per resident compared to the national average.9
Mississippi imposes more restrictions on abortion care than almost any other state, including:10
- Trigger ban – In 2007, Mississippi enacted a trigger ban. These are abortion bans passed since Roe that are currently not enforced but could become effective if the Supreme Court limited or overturned Roe.
- Pre-viability gestational ban – In 2019, Mississippi enacted a ban on abortion at six weeks, which would prohibit abortion before many people know they are pregnant. This measure has been blocked by the courts and is not currently enforced.
- Pre-Roe ban – There is an unenforced pre-Roe abortion ban still on the books in Mississippi.
- Method ban – Mississippi prohibits dilation and evacuation (D&E) and dilation and extraction (D&X) procedures, two common methods of second trimester abortion care.
- Reason ban – Mississippi prohibits abortions sought for reasons of race, sex, and genetic anomaly. However, there is no evidence that pregnant people are seeking abortion care due to the sex or race of their fetus.11
- Telemedicine ban – Mississippi restricts providers from using telemedicine for the provision of abortion care.
- Additional Restrictions – People in Mississippi who seek abortion care must undergo a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, biased and often inaccurate counseling, and an ultrasound prior to receiving care. These laws serve no medical purpose but, instead, seek to dissuade pregnant people from having an abortion.
- Access to funding – Mississippi restricts public funding for, and private insurance coverage of, except in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.
- Parental consent requirement – Mississippi requires that a parent or legal guardian be notified prior to a minor’s abortion and consent to it. Alternatively, a judge can approve a minor’s petition.
- Targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws – Mississippi singles out abortion facilities and physicians who provide abortion care with medically unnecessary restrictions that are more burdensome than laws imposed on physicians who provide comparable types of care. Mississippi’s TRAP laws include facility requirements, provider admitting privileges (permanently enjoined), and reporting requirements for providers. Mississippi restricts provision of abortion care to licensed physicians.
The burdens imposed by Mississippi’s 15-week ban would fall hardest on people who already face structural barriers to health care, especially Black, Indigenous and other people of color, and those having difficulty making ends meet.
- Black residents of Mississippi seeking abortion care would be greatly impacted. In 2018, about 72% of abortion patients in Mississippi were Black.12
- Black and Indigenous birthing people experience far higher rates of pregnancy-related death and complications than their white counterparts. Black women in Mississippi are nearly three times more likely than white non-Hispanic women to die from pregnancy related causes.13
- In Mississippi, one in four adult women (aged 18-64) live below the poverty line, the highest percentage of any state.14
- If the 15-week ban were to take effect, the average one-way driving distance for a Mississippi resident to reach any abortion clinic would increase by an estimated 495%, from 84 miles to 499 miles.15
- Many pregnant people in Mississippi cannot travel out of state to access abortion care due to a variety of financial and logistical barriers—including difficulty traveling long distances to and from appointments, arranging for childcare, and taking time off from work. These burdens fall hardest on people having difficulty making ends meet, who may be forced to continue their pregnancies to term due to the hardships imposed by a 15-week ban.
1. Jones RK, Witwer E and Jerman J. Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2017. Guttmacher Institute. 2019. DOI: doi.org…
2. Nash E, Bearak J, Jones RK, Li N, Cross L. Mississippi Is Attacking Roe v. Wade Head On—the Consequences Could Be Severe. Guttmacher Institute. 2021. www.guttmacher.org…
3. Jones RK, Witwer E and Jerman J. Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2017. Guttmacher Institute. 2019. DOI: doi.org…
4. Lerma K, McBrayer A, White K. Abortion Patients’ Challenges Accessing Care in Mississippi. Mississippi Reproductive Health Access Project | The University of Texas at Austin; 2021:3. sites.utexas.edu…
5. United Health Foundation. State Summaries Mississippi | 2018 Health Of Women And Children Report. America’s Health Rankings. Accessed October 13, 2021. www.americashealthrankings.org….
6. United Health Foundation. State Summaries Mississippi | 2018 Health Of Women And Children Report. America’s Health Rankings. Accessed October 13, 2021. www.americashealthrankings.org….
7. United Health Foundation. State Summaries Mississippi | 2018 Health Of Women And Children Report. America’s Health Rankings. Accessed October 13, 2021. www.americashealthrankings.org….
8. The Commonwealth Fund. 2020 Scorecard on State Health System Performance: Mississippi. Accessed October 20, 2021. 2020scorecard.com…
9. The Commonwealth Fund. 2020 Scorecard on State Health System Performance: Mississippi. Accessed October 20, 2021. 2020scorecard.com…
10. Center for Reproductive Rights. What If Roe Fell? | Mississippi. Accessed October 14, 2021. maps.reproductiverights.org…
11. Steinbock, B. Preventing Sex-Selective Abortion sin America: A Solution in Search of a Problem. The Hastings Center. 2017. www.thehastingscenter.org…
12. Kortsmit K, Jatlaoui TC, Mandel MG, et al. Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2018. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries. 2020. 69(No. SS-7):1–29. DOI: dx.doi.org…
13. Mississippi State Department of Health. Mississippi Maternal Mortality Report 2013-2016. 2019. msdh.ms.gov…
14. Talk Poverty. Mississippi 2020. Accessed October 20, 2021. talkpoverty.org….
15. Guttmacher Institute. If Roe v. Wade Falls: Travel Distance for People Seeking Abortion. 2021. Accessed November 9, 2021. states.guttmacher.org…