Washington- A bombshell draft opinion that the Supreme Court could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision has rocked Washington and the nation, prompting Democrats and abortion-rights supporters to sound the alarm over the future of abortion access in the United States.
Such a Supreme Court ruling, if final, would overturn 50 years of abortion precedent and put state-level officials in the driving seat in determining abortion access, resulting in a patchwork of laws that vary depending on where a person lives. The Supreme Court upheld the authenticity of the draft opinion in a statement, but stressed that it does not represent any member’s final position on the issues in the case, which involves a Mississippi law banning abortion. after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Obtained and published by Politico on May 2, the draft notice was written by Judge Samuel Alito and circulated among the judges in February. The document says a majority of the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe, though the justices could — and did — change their votes after the drafts were exchanged. A Supreme Court decision in the Mississippi case is expected by the end of the court’s term in late June or early July.
“Roe was gravely wrong from the start,” Alito wrote, adding, “It is time to uphold the Constitution and refer the issue of abortion to the elected representative of the people.”
In the Roe decision, the court held that the Constitution protected a woman’s right to an abortion before the time a fetus is viable outside the womb, usually around 24 weeks of pregnancy. Roe’s reversal and a 1992 case that reaffirmed his ruling would allow states to determine their own abortion restrictions or protections.
A number of Republicans have already taken steps to reduce abortion access, passing laws banning abortions at different stages of pregnancy. Democratic-led states, meanwhile, have acted to protect abortion rights. And state-level action 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 have laws in effect that could be used to restrict abortion rights if the Supreme Court overturns or weakens Roe, from May 1.
Here is the position of the states on access to abortion:
States with “trigger” laws
Thirteen states have so-called “trigger” laws that would restrict abortion if Roe v. Wade was struck down by the Supreme Court: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Some of the state laws would take effect immediately after a Supreme Court decision, while others would take effect after 30 days.
In several cases, the bans take effect once the state’s attorney general or other official certifies that the Supreme Court’s decision overturns Roe, but that could take just days after the court’s decision.
Nebraska lawmakers tried to pass a trigger ban this year, but it failed in the state Senate in April.
States with 6 week bans
Anti-abortion rights advocates have lobbied 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 measures have been blocked: Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Only the Texas law is in effect, as the Supreme Court last year refused to block it from being applied. The measure has a new enforcement mechanism that tasks private citizens, not state officials, with enforcing it by suing in state court against anyone who performs an abortion or “assists or encourage”. Its design has inspired bills in other GOP-led states that mirror the Texas measure.
State with 8 week ban
In 2019, Missouri Governor Mike Parsons, a Republican, signed into law a bill making abortions illegal after eight weeks of pregnancy. A federal district court blocked the measure from taking effect, and a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to lift the lower court’s injunction. The entire 8th Circuit heard the arguments in Planned Parenthood’s challenge to the law last year.
States with 15 week bans
In Florida, a 15-week ban was enacted in April and goes into effect July 1. The Mississippi law, passed in 2018, is at the center of the litigation currently before the Supreme Court.
Louisiana’s 15-week measure was signed into law in 2018 by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, though it only goes into effect if Mississippi law is followed.
In Kentucky, the state legislature overruled Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto on a bill banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy last month. But a U.S. District Court granted Planned Parenthood’s request a temporary restraining order, blocking the bill from taking effect.
States with 20 week bans
Four states have laws in effect prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks: Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska and North Carolina.
In Montana, Governor Greg Gianforte, a Republican, signed a law banning abortions after 20 weeks last year, but a state court judge blocked the measure and two other abortion laws. come into force in October.
States with pre-Roe v. Wade abortion bans
In addition to having new laws on the books that place limits on when abortions can be performed during pregnancy, nine states have laws enacted before the 1973 decision in Roe that have never been repealed.
These states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
In Michigan, however, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, preemptively sued 13 county prosecutors with abortion clinics in their jurisdictions in an effort to circumvent the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban. State in 1931.
States with the right to abortion enshrined in their constitution
The highest courts in nine states have recognized the right to abortion under their respective constitutions, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. The state’s constitutional protections ensure that abortion will remain legal even following a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe.
Some of those states, like Florida, passed laws restricting access, while others, like Montana, saw abortion restrictions temporarily blocked.
The nine states are Alaska, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, and New Jersey.
Iowa was on that list, but the state Supreme Court ruled in June that the right to abortion is not protected by the state constitution, reversing a court ruling just a short time ago. four years. Iowa’s GOP-controlled Legislature and Governor have signaled they will act to further restrict access to abortion.
In Kansas, an amendment allowing abortion regulations is presented to voters in August, and abortion rights groups in Michigan have also launched a ballot campaign to enshrine abortion rights in the constitution. of State.
States with laws protecting the right to abortion
While many Republican-led states have passed laws restricting abortion access, Democratic-led states have taken steps to preserve abortion rights. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have taken such action: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
UKTN News reporter covering economic policy.
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