In 2019, nine states — Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, Utah and Alabama — passed gestational age bans limiting abortions past six, eight or eighteen weeks. Alabama legislators passed an even stricter bill that bans almost all abortions at any point in pregnancy.
Roe vs. Wade was decided 49 years ago on Jan. 22; in that 1973 ruling, the court declared that unduly restricting a woman's access to abortion was a violation of the right to privacy guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Many experts believe that these cases could reinterpret the constitutional principles that make up the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, leading to the end of Roe v. Wade as we know it and drastically increasing the government's right to interfere in private medical issues.
While the FDA and several states have taken action to protect a woman's right to autonomy over her own body, other states are rapidly moving to limit or ban abortion altogether, creating enormous financial, logistical and possibly life-threatening barriers to healthcare that disproportionately affect women of color and without financial privilege.
Busy Phillips started a #youknowme movement to draw attention to the fact that nearly one in four American women (that are friends, colleagues, parents and family members) have accessed abortion, and many celebrities chimed in with their own stories. And in 2019, PEOPLE launched our Women's Choices, Women's Voices series, featuring true stories from a variety of women in all different circumstances showing just how many people and families are impacted by abortion. See them all below.
RELATED: Pro-Choice Activist Lauren Rankin on the Hearing That Could be the Death Knell for Roe vs. Wade
After Learning She Was 8 Weeks Pregnant, This Texas Woman Had to Travel 1,500 Miles for an Abortion: Under the highly restrictive ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, she was unable to have the procedure in her home state of Texas
I Was Lucky to Survive an Illegal Abortion in 1962, Before Roe v. Wade: Dorothy Fadiman was 22 years old when she had an abortion in the early 1960s, before it was legal. She told no one about the procedure until she began to hemorrhage and had to be rushed to the hospital, where doctors saved her life. She later made a film called When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories about the experience, which was nominated for an Oscar
'I Could Have Lost My Life': A Michigan Senator and His First Wife Share Their Abortion Story: "It's important for folks to understand that these things happen to folks every day," Gary Peters told Elle
Former Anti-Abortion Speaker on Planning to End Her Pregnancy After Becoming Widowed Mom of 6: Shannon Dingle explained in an op-ed why she considered terminating her pregnancy after her husband died unexpectedly last year
When I Discovered My Much-Wanted Baby Had Serious Abnormalities, I Made the Difficult Decision to Have an Abortion: Jessica, 34, has faced fertility issues. She and her husband were overjoyed to become pregnant through IVF — but then discovered the baby's abnormalities meant it might not survive
I Didn't Have an Abortion When I Got Pregnant at 17, but My Clinic Helped Me Understand My Options: Melanie Repert expresses her gratitude for the hometown clinic that gave her all the tools she needed to make the decision to keep her baby
I Had to Drive Hours to Another State to Get an Abortion: Amie Guinn worked three jobs and had two children when she needed to terminate her pregnancy. She shares the challenges of finding the time and resources to make the 2.5-hour drive to a clinic in Illinois
I Would Have Loved a Big Family, but We Didn't Have the Means for a Third Child — So I Got an Abortion: Leslie, a married mom of two, became pregnant with her third at 41, but knew that with their limited financial resources and a husband always on the road for work, her family couldn't manage another child. The choice was hard, but she is grateful for it
Mom of 3 on the Anxiety of Getting an Abortion Under Texas' New Law: 'I Was Crying a Lot': Under the new law in Texas, people cannot get an abortion after more than six weeks of pregnancy, which left Abilene-based Mariah Armonta scrambling to get an appointment in time
I Was in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship and Too Ashamed to Tell Anyone About My Abortion: Despite her work as a clinic volunteer, Amanda worried about the shame and stigma around her abortion, as well as her relationship with someone with severe mental health issues
We Had to End My Daughter's Life at 23 Weeks, but I Didn't Realize I Had an Abortion: Hanna Neuschwander was 21 weeks pregnant when she learned that her daughter's brain was not forming normally. Faced with the hardest decision of her life, the 38-year-old chose to induce labor at 23 weeks and spend the all-too-brief moments holding her daughter before she died
I Had Undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder When I Got Pregnant — My Abortion Saved My Life: When Aimee Arrambide learned she was pregnant at age 25, she had undiagnosed bipolar disorder. She and her boyfriend, now husband, felt that they were not able mentally or financially to raise a child. Sixteen years later, Arrambide shares how her abortion saved her life, enabled her to find a career she loves and to raise two happy children
My Federal Insurance Wouldn't Pay for My Medically Necessary Abortion: Mindy Woertner was excited to give her daughter a sibling when she got the devastating news that all of her baby's internal organs were growing on the outside of her torso, and that no matter what decision she made, the baby would not survive. Her doctor recommended an abortion to protect her health and fertility, but her husband's insurance through the Navy classified it as "elective" and didn't cover the $6,000 bill
I'm an Orthodox Jewish Woman Who Had an Abortion with the Blessing of My Rabbi: She was already a mother of several children pregnant with a wanted child when she discovered the fetus had several intercranial bleeding that would likely cause it enormous pain: "I didn't want the baby suffering," she said, and her rabbi blessed the termination
I Was 33, Underemployed and Heading Toward Poverty — Here's Why My Abortion Was So Important: In her own words, Aziza Jones shares why the ability to make the decision on when to have children was critical in her life — as well as gives a look into how difficult the financial and medical burden to get an abortion is on people barely getting by
This Naval Officer Says Abortion Was the Compassionate Choice: 'It Meant Our Child Didn't Have to Suffer': Juliette Ruff is an active duty naval officer stationed in Japan. After suffering two miscarriages, she was thrilled to be pregnant again. At 14 weeks, tests showed the baby had Patau syndrome, or Trisomy 13, a chromosomal abnormality that causes organ deformities. Ninety percent of infants with the syndrome do not survive past one year. Juliette and her husband had to make the difficult choice of carrying to term with the knowledge the baby was likely to live a few painful days or weeks, or getting an abortion. The abortion was not covered by the insurance provided by the armed forces
I Used the Abortion Pill at 11 Weeks, and the Hardest Part for Me Was Getting the Appointment: Then a college student, Lydia Zakel found out early that she was pregnant and was sure she wanted to terminate the pregnancy. But it was so difficult to get an appointment that she was just a week away from the cutoff for a medication abortion before she could get the pill