What happens in the United States if Roe v. Wade is canceled


  • If the historic case were to be overturned, the legality of abortion would rest with each state.
  • Twenty-six states should ban or restrict access to abortion if Roe v. Wade is canceled.
  • Clinics in neighboring states are bracing for an increase in the number of patients from states restricting access to abortion.

On December 1, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments from Dobbs against the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case challenging Mississippi’s 15-week ban on most abortions.

During arguments, the Mississippi attorney general asked the court to overturn Roe v. Wade – the historic decision to legalize abortion in the United States – or, at the very least, change the decision so that there is no longer any protection around abortion. before fetal viability, which occurs around 24 weeks gestation.

If Roe were to be defeated, the legality of the abortion would rest with each state.

Twenty-six states should ban or restrict access to abortion if Roe v. Wade is canceled. Clinics in neighboring states are already bracing for an increase in the number of patients from states restricting access to abortion.

“We are likely to see a proliferation of laws and proposed laws that restrict abortion to less than 15 weeks and limit exceptions to such prohibitions. But it really depends on how the US Supreme Court decision is made and what exactly the court is holding, ”said Jared carter, assistant professor of law at Vermont Law School and expert in First Amendment law.

A decision on the case is expected by June or July 2022.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, headquartered in New York, 26 states are likely to prohibit or severely limit access to abortion, as in Mississippi, if Roe v. Wade had to be canceled.

“This does not mean that some states will not try to go further than what Mississippi has done, but such state law would likely end up in court because it would represent a new question of law than one that is currently before the United States Supreme Court, ”Carter said.

Twelve states have “trigger laws” or bans that were designed to automatically go into effect if Roe were to be rescinded.

Eight states have unenforceable pre-Roe v. Bans in place. Wade that could come back into effect.

Nine states have restrictions that are currently deemed unconstitutional but could come into effect without Roe’s protections.

Eleven states have 6-week bans that are not currently in effect, and one state – Texas – has a 6-week ban in effect.

On December 10, the Supreme Court ruled to let Texas’ 6-week abortion ban, known as SB8, remain in effect as legal challenges against the ban continue. The case will be referred to a district court for investigation.

This card from the Guttmacher Institute shows what action states could take if Roe were to be toppled.

Nicolas creel, an assistant professor of business law at Georgia College & State University, specializing in constitutional law, suspects many states of imposing restrictions on abortion pills.

Texas, for example, recently made it a crime to have a medical abortion via a pill after 7 weeks.

“They do this even though they know it is a blatant violation of the current legal standard, a standard they expect to be overturned even before challenges to this law reach the court. supreme, ”Creel said.

Ianthe Metzger, the director of state media campaigns with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said some states may penalize people who perform abortions or assist someone with an abortion.

“And as we’ve seen with the Texas SB8, they can have clauses like a private right of action, or what we’ve called the ‘sue your neighbor’ provision, which not only exposes providers and networks to. support for frivolous lawsuits, but sow fear in abortion patients and their loved ones, ”Metzger said.

Fourteen states have laws that would protect the right to abortion – and other states, like Vermont, are considering doing the same.

California examines ways it can better support and cover the costs of out-of-state residents who come to California for abortions.

Metzger said abortion providers in supportive states were preparing to handle a wave of patients from states that ban abortions.

In Illinois, for example, Planned Parenthood’s Reproductive Health Services (RHS) in the St. Louis area opened a clinic near the Illinois-Missouri border to help Missouri patients coming to Illinois.

“Already, 90% of patients who turn to RHS for abortion flee Missouri – where state abortion restrictions make abortion disproportionately inaccessible to people of color, low-income people and those on low incomes. people from rural communities – to receive care in Illinois, ”Metzger said. .

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that legal restrictions on abortion do not lead to fewer abortions; instead, they force pregnant women to resort to riskier abortion services, reports the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“Already, the barriers to accessing abortion in a clinic – including the limitations of telemedicine for medical abortion – as well as the stigma of abortion are leading some people to choose self-administered abortion,” he said. Metzger said.

Stricter regulations would shut down many abortion clinics, forcing millions of people who get pregnant to travel greater distances to neighboring states to access abortion care.

the Diversion study – who assessed the effects of abortion versus refusing an abortion – found that people who were denied an abortion were almost four times more likely to be below the poverty line federal.

Compared to those who were able to have an abortion, those who were refused care were more likely to stay in contact with an abusive partner and ultimately raise the child alone.

Another one report found that women who were denied an abortion were three times more likely to be unemployed than those who had an abortion.

Being denied an abortion has also been associate with higher levels of anxiety and depression.

Much of this burden rests on the Black and Latino communities who, due to redness and systematic racism in housing practices – live disproportionately in low-income communities and are more likely to face greater barriers to accessing health care, Metzger said.

“Restrictions on abortion create impossible barriers that no one should have to overcome to obtain essential health care. And if more people are denied abortion, more people will be forced to carry a pregnancy to term with great risk to their personal health, ”said Metzger.

During the Supreme Court’s oral argument last week for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, it became clear that Roe v. Wade could be in danger.

If Roe were to be canceled, 26 states will likely ban or severely restrict abortions.

Other states are already considering ways to protect the right to abortion and support out-of-state residents traveling for an abortion.

A decision on the case is expected by the summer.


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