Nobody knows how soon the United States Supreme Court will hand down its expected decision on abortion rights, but when it does, it is likely to cause a storm. Based on prior decisions of the majority conservative court, it is likely that federal abortion protections currently guaranteed under Roe v. Wade will be severely diminished or even outright overturned, The Guardian reports.
In case the court does in fact opt for allowing states to end all abortion coverage, half of U.S. states are expected to do just that. According to the Guttmacher Institute and The Pew Charitable Trusts, abortions would be banned in large swaths of the South, Midwest and Western United States upon such a Supreme Court decision.
This chart shows U.S. states by expected reaction to Roe v. Wade being overturned by the U.S. … [+] Supreme Court.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, these types of total bans would severely limit abortion coverage for women living in these areas, with average driving distances to the next provider increasing, for example, beyond 200 miles in Michigan and Georgia, beyond 300 miles in Montana and Alabama, beyond 500 miles in Texas and Florida and beyond 600 miles in Louisiana.
In most Northeastern and West Coast states, state laws and constitutions protect abortion rights. Some states are currently scrambling to add such passages, for example Vermont. Additionally, states like Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania are not expected to end abortions upon the decision despite a lack of state laws.
The case the court is hearing at the moment centers around a Mississippi abortion law outlawing abortions after 15 weeks. As part of Roe v. Wade and later Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court established fetal viability as a standard for when abortions could be performed. This had previously set the precedent for states fixing abortion limits at around 20 to 26 weeks of gestational age, which is when viability outside the womb occurs, or simply citing viability as a rule.
Total ban or severely shortened time frame?
The Mississippi law is now challenging this viability precedent. Another outcome of the Supreme Court ruling could be that the right to abortion would be upheld, but the viability standard would fall, allowing states to set shorter time limits. In this case, the same states that would ban abortions can be expected to shorten abortion time frames majorly. A recent Texas law setting the cutoff for abortions at just six weeks of gestation is an example of how drastically some states want to limit abortion. For now, the law in question has an unprecedented setup, calling on citizens to enforce it, but such a workaround would not be necessary anymore should the Supreme Court diminish Roe v. Wade.
While the Mississippi law actually comes closer to abortion limits set in most European countries (at 14 weeks of gestational age or the end of the first trimester), the Texas law severely undercuts international standards. Six weeks of gestation equal just four weeks of pregnancy and just two weeks after a missed period.

Charted by Statista