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Supreme Court ruling triggers abortion bans in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming

A picket sign takes up most of the image and reads, “My body my choice.”
Lucia Starbuck
/
KUNR Public Radio

With the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, three states in the Mountain West are immediately impacted by the decision to end the constitutional right to an abortion.

Idaho, Utah and Wyoming all have trigger laws in place to ban abortion soon after such a ruling. Utah and Wyoming’s ban will go into effect once a state official certifies the trigger law. That could happen in a matter of days, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group.

Idaho’s abortion ban will automatically go into effect in 30 days. Conservative lawmakers in Arizona and Montana are also seeking bans. Guttmacher’s Elizabeth Nash said states will see impacts that go far beyond abortion.

“Typically, in the states that are seeking to ban abortion, they are also are not prepared for more pregnancies, help with child care or, you know, improving education access,” she said.

Nash also noted that accessing abortion will become even more difficult across the rural West, parts of which are already considered "abortion deserts."

“For somebody to access abortion, they will have to travel hundreds of miles," she said. "People already travel hundreds of miles to access abortion services from those states. But now, there is no option to access abortion.”

A woman living in Salt Lake City, for example, will have to travel more than 300 miles to the nearest clinic in Colorado.

The Supreme Court’s ruling comes after abortions in the U.S. increased by 8% between 2017 and 2020.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Kaleb is an award-winning journalist who joined KUNR as a reporter in November 2021.
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