The Potluck

Minnesota abortions are up nearly 40% since Dobbs

By: - October 26, 2023 11:03 am

Abortion rights proponents and opponents demonstrate inside the Minnesota Capitol as the Senate debated the PRO Act on Jan. 27, 2023. Photo by A.J. Olmscheid/Senate Media Services.

Abortions in Minnesota have increased by roughly 40% since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs decision last June, part of a nationwide increase since the end of Roe.

The latest data from the Society of Family Planning, a trade group for medical professionals in obstetrics and related fields, shows that there were about 2,880 abortions performed in Minnesota in April, May and June of 2023. That represents a 37% increase over the same period last year. The Dobbs decision was handed down on June 24, 2022.

Since then, 14 states have banned abortion completely, and two more have implemented strict six-week bans. While abortions have dropped in those states, they’ve increased in states where abortion remains widely available, particularly those that border newly-restrictive states. That suggests that women in restrictive states are responding to bans by traveling out of state to receive abortion care.

Minnesota is a case in point. Wisconsin banned abortion completely in July of 2022, while North Dakota did so in April of this year. As a result Minnesota saw a steep increase in out-of-state abortion patients, according to data released earlier this year by the Department of Health.

The total number of abortions nationwide was up by roughly 5% in the second quarter of 2023, relative to the same, pre-Dobbs period in 2022. While anti-abortion activists had hoped that the end of Roe would lead to a reduction in the overall abortion rate, if anything the opposite appears to be happening.

Researchers with the Society of Family Planning offer several potential explanations for this. In states that are cracking down on abortion, facilities that provide the procedure may be increasing efforts to see patients quickly. Facilities in other states are expanding their telehealth capabilities, making it easier to order abortion drugs across state lines. 

There’s also been a surge in pro-choice fundraising, and abortion-friendly states like Minnesota have been passing legislation making it easier to obtain the procedure.

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Christopher Ingraham
Christopher Ingraham

Christopher Ingraham covers greater Minnesota and reports on data-driven stories across the state. He's the author of the book "If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now," about his family's journey from the Baltimore suburbs to rural northwest Minnesota. He was previously a data reporter for the Washington Post.