The US Supreme Court is about to overturn the Roe v. Wade, who legalized abortion across the country, suggests a leaked draft opinion this week.
While states across the country have anticipated such a decision for years, the draft is the clearest indication yet that access to abortion in the US will depend on where you live.
State Laws: Three Basic Categories
In the US, 22 states already have laws that would ban abortion altogether or very early in a pregnancy, even before many women know they are pregnant. according to the Guttmacher Institutea think tank that is in favor of abortion rights.
Laws fall into three basic categories:
- Bans on forced abortion passed before Roe v. Wades in 1973.
- Bans that have been approved but blocked in court under Roe v. Wade.
- So-called activation bans, which are designed to take effect if Roe v. Wade.
At least eight states have passed abortion restrictions this year: Arizona, Idaho, Florida, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kentucky and Tennessee. Some of those laws have no exceptions for rape or incest.
At least two states, Michigan and Wisconsin, only have state laws banning abortion that were passed before Roe and could take effect if the decision is overturned. Michigan’s governor is suing to reverse that state’s ban.
Several states have overlapping laws, and 16 states have included abortion access protections in state law, though they take slightly different forms.
At least eight states have moved to strengthen existing protections or expand abortion access this year: California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut.
Abortion bans in different states
If Roe v. Wade, the country will be divided into states that allow the procedure and those that ban or heavily restrict it.
Supporters of anti-abortion laws want to reduce the number of women seeking the procedure and discourage them from going to other states. At least 276,000 women ended their pregnancies outside their home state between 2012 and 2017, according to an analysis of Associated Press 2019 data compiled from state reports and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In parts of the Midwest, South and Mountain West, the number of women terminating pregnancy in another state has increased due to a lack of nearby clinics or preferring to travel to a state with less restrictive abortion laws.
“22 states already have laws or constitutional amendments that would make sure they try to ban abortion as quickly as possible.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, if Roe v. Wade were overturned or weakened, “22 states already have laws or constitutional amendments that would ensure they try to ban abortion as quickly as possible. Anti-abortion policymakers in several of these states have also indicated they will introduce ban-inspired legislation.” Texas Six-Week Abortion.
By the time the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the Mississippi case, there will be nine states in this group with an abortion ban still in place before Roe v. Wade, states with a near-total abortion ban enacted after Roe, 11 states with a six-week ban that is not in effect, one state (Texas) with a six-week ban that is in effect, and one state with a eight weeks that it is not in force, and four states whose constitutions specifically prohibit the right to abortion.
Some definitions of abortion prohibitions:
- Pre-Roe ban: law enacted before 1973 and never removed.
- “Trigger” Prohibition: Law designed to be “triggered” and take effect automatically or through prompt state action if Roe no longer applies.
- Near Total Prohibition: Law enacted after Roe to ban abortion in all or nearly all circumstances (several such are currently blocked by court order).
- Six weeks ban: law that prohibits abortion after six weeks of pregnancy (one in force).
- Eight Weeks Ban: Law that prohibits abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy (none in force).
- State constitution prohibits protection: Amended constitution to prohibit any protection for the right to abortion.
Abortion bans by state:
Some states have multiple types of abortion bans.
- Alabama: Pre-Roe ban, near-total ban, state constitution prohibits protection.
- Arizona: Prohibition prior to Roe.
- Arkansas: Pre-Roe ban, triggering ban, near-total ban.
- Georgia: six-week ban.
- Idaho: activation ban, six-week ban.
- Iowa: six-week ban.
- Kentucky: activation ban, six-week ban.
- Louisiana: Triggering ban, near-total ban, six-week ban, state constitution prohibits protection.
- Michigan: Prohibition prior to Roe.
- Mississippi: Pre-Roe Ban, Triggering Ban, Six Week Ban.
- Missouri: activation ban, eight-week ban.
- North Dakota: activation ban, six-week ban.
- Ohio: six-week ban.
- Oklahoma: Ban prior to Roe vs. Wade, triggering ban (effective November 1, 2021), near-total ban, six-week ban.
- South Carolina: six-week ban.
- South Dakota: activation ban.
- Tennessee: Activation ban, six-week ban. The state constitution prohibits protection.
- Texas: ban prior to Roe vs. Wade. trigger ban. Six week ban.
- Utah: activation ban, near total ban.
- West Virginia: ban prior to Roe vs. Wade, the state constitution prohibits protection.
- Wisconsin: Prohibition Prior to Roe vs. Wade.
- Wyoming: activate ban.
Americans Seek Abortion Services in Mexico
Karina Muñoz, who works at a clinic in northern Mexico that specializes in women’s health services, told the Associated Press that receives between 100 and 150 calls a day in relation to abortion services.
He added that at least half of the callers are from the United States, and that the majority are from Texas, which shares a border some 370 kilometers (230 miles) long with Tamaulipas, the state in the far northeast of Mexico where the clinic where Muñoz works.
When they call, he says he makes it clear to clients that while Mexico’s highest court set a legal precedent by decriminalizing abortion in a case from Coahuila, a state that also shares a border with Texas, abortion is still not allowed in Tamaulipas.
He added that patients from the United States who are treated by his clinic can only receive health and prenatal exams, and that those who wish to have an abortion are advised to try it where it is legal.
The leaked Supreme Court draft has been confirmed as authentic by Chief Justice John Roberts, but is not yet final and could change before being handed down by the nine-member court.
[Con información de Associated Press]
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