Washington – The bombshell decision by the United States Supreme Court toabortion rights ruling overturned 50 years of precedent and gave state legislatures across the country the power to restrict or ban .The result will be a patchwork of laws that vary based on where a person lives.
Thirteen states have so-calledon the books, where abortion will quickly be banned in most cases. In the ruling on 24 June, the court confirmed a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start… It is time to follow the Constitution and return the abortion issue to the people’s elected officials.” Roe had argued that the Constitution protected a woman’s right to an abortion before the point at which a fetus is viable outside the womb, usually around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
A number of Republican-led states have already passed laws that would ban abortions at various stages of a pregnancy. Democratic-led states, meanwhile, have acted to protect abortion rights. And the action at the state level on the issue of abortion has taken place not only in state legislatures across the country, but also in their own courts.
An analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights, found that 23 states had laws on the books, as of May 1, that could be used to limit abortion rights in the absence of Roe.
On August 5, Indiana became the first state toin the wake of the Roe decision. State legislatures passed and the governor signed an almost total ban on abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and to protect the life and physical health of the mother.
Here’s where the states stand on other states when it comes to access to abortion:
States with “trigger” laws
Thirteen states have so-called “trigger” laws that would restrict abortion with Roe overturned: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Some of the states’ laws will come into force immediately after a decision by the Supreme Court, while others will come into force after 30 days.
In several cases, the bans come into effect when the attorney general or another official confirms that the Supreme Court’s decision overturns Roe, but this can happen quickly after the court’s decision.
Missouri’s attorney general, Eric S. Schmitt, issued a statement within minutes saying the state’s ban is now in effect, banning abortion except in medical emergencies, with no exceptions for rape or incest. “With this attorney general’s opinion, my office has effectively ended abortion in Missouri, becoming the first state in the country to do so following the court’s order,” Schmitt said in a statement.
Nebraska lawmakers tried to pass a trigger ban this year, but it failed in the state Senate in April.
States with a 6-week ban
Abortion rights advocates have pushed states to pass legislation banning the procedure once an embryonic heartbeat is detected, after about six weeks of pregnancy. Eleven states have done so, although nearly all of the measures were initially blocked: Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
The Texas law went into effect when the Supreme Court last yearfrom being enforced. The measure has a new enforcement mechanism that directs private citizens, not state officials, to enforce it by filing lawsuits in state court against anyone who performs an abortion or “aids or assists” them. The design has inspired bills in other GOP-led states that echo the Texas goal.
States with a 15-week ban
In Florida, a 15-week ban was signed into law in April and will take effect on July 1. Mississippi’s 15-week ban, enacted in 2018, was at the center of the dispute that led to Roe’s overturn.
Louisiana’s 15-week measure was signed into law in 2018 by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, though it will only take effect if Mississippi’s law is upheld.
In Kentucky, the state legislatureof a bill banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy last month. But a U.S. District Court granted Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary restraining order, blocking the bill from taking effect.
States with 20-week bans
Four states have laws on the books that ban abortion after 20 weeks: Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, and North Carolina.
In Montana, Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, signed a law banning abortions after 20 weeks last year, but a state judge blocked the measure and two other abortion laws from taking effect in October.
States with abortion bans that predate Roe v. Wade
In addition to having newer laws on the books that set limits on when in a pregnancy an abortion can be performed, nine states have laws passed before the 1973 decision in Roe that were never overturned.
These states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
In Michigan, however, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat,13 county attorneys general with abortion clinics in their jurisdictions in an attempt to circumvent the state’s 1931 abortion ban before Roe.
States with the right to abortion enshrined in their constitutions
The highest courts in nine states have recognized the right to abortion under their respective constitutions, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. State constitutional protections ensure that abortion will remain legal even without Roe.
Some of these states, like Florida, have passed laws limiting access, while others, like Montana, have had abortion restrictions temporarily blocked.
The nine states are Alaska, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana and New Jersey.
Iowa had been on that list, but the state Supreme Courtthat the right to abortion is not protected under the state constitution, reversing a court decision just four years ago. Iowa’s GOP-controlled legislature and governor have signaled they will move to further restrict access to abortion.
In Kansas, an amendment that would have allowed the regulation of abortion went before voters in August,, leaving the state’s protection intact. Pro-abortion rights groups in Michigan also launched a ballot measure to enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution.
States with laws protecting the right to abortion
While many Republican-led states have passed laws restricting access to abortion, Democratic-led states have moved to preserve abortion rights. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have taken such steps: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.