Story at a glance
- The Supreme Court is poised to strike down Roe v. Wade, Politico reported this week after obtaining a leaked opinion draft.
- If nothing is done to codify the landmark 1973 decision, abortion rights across the country will be dismantled.
- Some of the states that currently have the most restrictive abortion laws will likely ban the procedure entirely and imprison those who perform them.
If the Supreme Court rules to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer, which it is poised to do according to a draft opinion leaked Monday, at least 26 states would likely ban abortion entirely with 13 of those prepared with “trigger laws.”
That’s according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health-policy institute that has been tracking states’ anti-abortion legislation — ranging from all-out bans to multiple restrictions.
The leaked draft opinion, first reported by Politico, has stirred the country into imagining a post-Roe v. Wade society, one where the constitutional right to choose whether to have an abortion without government restriction is no longer nationally enforced. The court’s final decision is expected to come in late June and there is still the possibility that the ruling could change by then.
But, if the court follows the draft opinion, Americans’ access to abortion care would then vary widely depending on where they live — four states constitutionally ban abortion; five states have a near-total ban not yet in effect; and 11 states have a six-week ban not yet in effect, among other legislation.
Here is a rundown of a handful of states that currently have the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, proposing to ban the procedure if Roe v. Wade is overturned and punish those who try to perform abortions.
Abortion is currently legal in Mississippi, but the state already has some of the most restrictive laws that make it extremely difficult to access abortion care. There is only one licensed abortion facility in the entire state—the Jackson Women’s Health Organization—where clinic workers can provide medication abortions and abortion procedures at up to 16 weeks, according to the ACLU. Mississippi law requires that a person visit a clinic twice before receiving an abortion.
The first time, the patient is given state-mandated counseling and information; and the second visit is for the actual procedure. A person must wait at least 24 hours after their first clinic visit to receive an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Mississippi is one of 13 states in the country with a trigger law if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The law would ban all abortions except when continuing the pregnancy puts the person’s life at risk or if the pregnancy is the result of a rape which a formal charge is filed with the police. Under the law, anyone except the pregnant person who tries to perform and induce an abortion in cases where pregnancy does not pose a threat to the mother or was the result of a rape could face up to 10 years in prison.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law earlier this week that bans abortion after six weeks, which is typically before a woman knows she is pregnant.
“I want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country because I represent all four million Oklahomans who overwhelmingly want to protect the unborn,” Stitt tweeted shortly after signing the bill. Under the bill, abortions are punishable by up to 10 years in prison unless they are done to save the life of the mother.
Last year, Texas passed a bill that bans most abortions after six weeks, when cardiac activity can be detected by clinicians in the embryo, one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, all abortion would be banned in the state within 30 days.
If the Supreme Court decides to overturn Roe v., a trigger law would ban all abortions in the state of Idaho. If a health care provider attempts to perform or induce an abortion in the state, they will be charged with a federal crime and could face up to five years in prison. Health care providers who attempt to perform or assist with an abortion could also have their licenses suspended for six months, upon the first offense, and revoked upon future offenses.
There are currently only two places in Arkansas that offer abortion care, Little Rock Family Planning Services and Planned Parenthood in Little Rock where only the abortion pill can be given out. At the moment, a person seeking an abortion must receive state mandated counseling about their options — abortion, adopting or parenting — and wait 72 hours before undergoing an abortion procedure, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
If the Supreme Court were to officially overturn Roe v. Wade, abortions would be banned in the state immediately unless needed to save the life of the mother. Anyone who performs an abortion could face up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine, under the law.
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