The leak is out. The Supreme Court has reportedly voted to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision from 1973 that protects the rights of people in the U.S. to seek an abortion.
But the fact is that five out of the nine justices on the Supreme Court agree with Mississippi, which brought the case under consideration, and favor striking down the historic ruling. And should that happen, abortion could instantly become outlawed overnight in at least 13 states, and possibly as many as 26.
Such a widespread reversal of laws protecting abortion rights would be a defining moment for the U.S. in terms of who gets access to reproductive rights, how it will affect state governments, how companies conduct business—changing the national political landscape. The Supreme Court was originally scheduled to release its final ruling in June, though that timeline could be moved up now that a draft opinion is circulating.
Where would the ruling take effect?
At the time of the leak, 13 states have already passed “trigger laws” related to abortion. These are preemptive abortion bans that are not being enforced right now, but need only to be “triggered” by a Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade to begin taking effect. Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, which it appears from the leaked draft decision that it will be, abortion would immediately become illegal in these states.
Those states are Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a global pro-choice research organization that focuses on sexual health and reproductive rights.
But according to the institute, 26 states in total are “certain or likely” to outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade is struck down.
In addition to the 13 states that have trigger laws, an additional five states have laws in place that ban abortions after six or eight weeks, but do not have total abortion bans yet. These states, which include Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, and South Carolina, have not implemented any trigger laws, but have expressed an intent to ramp up bans as soon as federal limitations on abortion are lifted, according to the institute. Many people are unaware that they are even pregnant at six weeks.
Another four states—Wisconsin, West Virginia, Arizona, and Michigan—had abortion bans in place before 1973 that were never removed, and are for now only unenforced. Overturning Roe could now make those bans enforceable.
One more state, Oklahoma, signed a bill into law in April that outright bans abortion except when the procedure is performed to save the life of the mother. Oklahoma’s new abortion law will likely take effect this summer.
The institute also identified four states—Florida, Montana, Indiana, and Nebraska—where recent political history indicates that stricter abortion laws are likely to be enacted should Roe v. Wade be overturned.
Should Roe fall, the changes will be swift, and the business world may be forced to take a stand.
How business could react
If Roe is overturned, there would immediately be major changes in large swaths of the country.
As various states institute abortion bans, the average American would have to travel 125 miles to reach the nearest clinic that offers an abortion, 100 miles further than today, according to data compiled in 2021 by the Myers Abortion Facility Database.
The changes in abortion laws could also see employees begin asking for relocations, which businesses will have to react to.
Even though any ruling is still months away, some companies are already promising employees that they will adjust their policies to compensate for these changes in people’s lives.
After the Supreme Court leak, Amazon announced that it would reimburse employees who had to travel over 100 miles to seek medical treatment for reproductive health issues. This year, in response to restrictive state abortion laws, companies including Yelp, Apple, and Citigroup announced that they would begin covering travel expenses for employees traveling out of state seeking reproductive care.
These types of employee benefits may become the norm for most companies if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Many growing economic hotspots, like Texas, Arizona, and Utah, are also in states that are likely to ban abortion.
When stricter abortion laws have been enacted in the past, companies have generally responded by expanding protections for employees.
A strict abortion law in Texas last September that banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy caused outcry from the business world. Some companies based in Texas or with a large presence there, including Bumble, OJO Labs, and Glossier, spoke out against the new law and announced policies designed to help employees affected by it.
Lyft and Uber promised to cover drivers’ legal fees in the case of a lawsuit, after the Texas law began permitting citizens to sue drivers who provide women rides to abortion clinics. Software company Salesforce promised to help employees in Texas relocate to another state if they were concerned about their ability to find reproductive care. Online dating sites Bumble and Match also set up special funds to support employees affected by the ban.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com