- Thirteen states have “trigger” laws that would ban nearly all abortions if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
- A Texas law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect last year.
- The Supreme Court must consider a major abortion case that could overturn Roe v. Wade.
There are currently 13 US states with so-called trigger laws that would ban all or nearly all abortions if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion across the country.
Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma and Wyoming have post-Roe laws that would take effect immediately if Roe falls, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a Abortion rights organization that collects data on reproductive health.
Roe v. Wade has come into the national spotlight after a leak on Monday of a draft Supreme Court opinion on a case considering the constitutionality of abortion suggested it could be changed.
The opinion is not final and the judges can still change their minds. The final decision is expected sometime in June.
The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is referring to a Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The Center for Reproductive Rights estimates that 34 states and five territories could stop protecting abortion rights if Roe is ruled out.
A Texas anti-abortion law, one of the most restrictive in the country, went into effect in late August. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the law on May 19, banning abortions after six weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest, even though many people don’t know they’re pregnant at the time.
Within 24 hours of the law taking effect, the Supreme Court rejected a request by abortion providers to block it. In a 5-4 vote, Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas overrode dissenting votes cast by Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.
The majority of the court argued in an unsigned opinion that the ruling was technical and not based on the merits of the law, which could still be legally challenged.
“In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas law, and in no way limits other proper procedural challenges to Texas law, including in Texas state courts,” the justices wrote.
Legal experts have said the law already makes Roe moot in Texas. In June 2021, Abbott signed a triggering bill into law.
President Joe Biden on Thursday called the Supreme Court’s decision “an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade.”
The Supreme Court order has sparked a wave of Republican-led states seeking similar restrictions that threaten abortion access.
Oklahoma implemented a Texas-style abortion ban, while Florida banned the procedure after 15 weeks of the previous 24-week law.