Georgia not alone: Most neighboring states also plan to ban abortions

In the future, surgical or pill abortions for Georgia’s women could require a long drive or flight

Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, Georgia is poised to ban abortion in most cases once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, typically about six weeks into a pregnancy.

Georgia’s law could go into effect in the coming months, after it finishes court review.

By ending abortions at six weeks, that means women in Georgia could learn of their pregnancies only after it’s too late to get an abortion in the state, and if they want one they will have to travel. The new state law, which is currently held up in courts, would also make the abortion by pill illegal in the state in the same way surgical abortion will be.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research nonprofit that supports abortion rights, the average one-way drive for a Georgia woman to get an abortion will go from 17 miles to 203 miles. The nearest state that’s expected to continue to allow abortions will be North Carolina.

North Carolina has no “trigger law” or immediate plans to ban abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

But Georgia’s other neighboring states — Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida — are expected to move quickly to ban abortions or heighten restrictions. Beyond North Carolina, Virginia or Maryland are the next nearest potential states expected to continue to offer abortion.

Advocates say that for many women, the driving distance to the nearest state will be less important than where a woman has personal contacts, like a relative she can stay with. So a patient may choose to fly to more distant locations rather than drive to the nearest state.