What the data says about abortion in the Chattanooga region

Photographs of ultrasound of pregnancy at 4 weeks and 20 weeks of pregnancy Selective focus. abortion tile fetus baby / Getty Images

Chattanooga became the largest metro area in the United States without an abortion clinic when the city's only clinic closed in 1993. Although abortion rates for Hamilton County residents and Southeast Tennesseans are below that of the state, women have continued to obtain the procedure.

"Just because abortion becomes more restrictive doesn't mean that people don't need it anymore," Mikaela Smith, a research scientist at Ohio State University's College of Public Health, said in an interview by phone.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June to overturn abortion rights will have far-reaching consequences in the states that surround Chattanooga, because Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama all had laws in place to further restrict the procedure in the event of such a ruling - forcing many of those residents who need an abortion to travel farther for care.