Washington- A shocking draft opinion indicating that the Supreme Court could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade Act of 1973 has shaken Washington and the nation, leading Democrats and abortion-rights advocates toabout the future of
Such a Supreme Court decision, if final, would upend 50 years of abortion precedent and put state-level officials in the driver’s seat in determining abortion access, resulting in a patchwork of laws that vary depending on where a person lives. The Supreme Courtof the draft opinion in a statement Tuesday morning, but stressed that it does not represent any member’s final position on the issues in the case, which involves a Mississippi law that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Obtained and published by Politico on Monday night,it was written by Judge Samuel Alito and circulated among the judges in February. The document indicates that the majority of the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe, although justices can, and have, changed their votes after drafts have been exchanged. A Supreme Court decision in the the end of the court’s term is expected in late June or early July.
“Roe was terribly wrong from the start,” Alito wrote, adding, “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the abortion issue 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 point at which the fetus is viable outside the womb, usually around 24 weeks of pregnancy. Overturning Roe and a 1992 case that upheld her ruling would allow states to determine their own abortion restrictions or protections.
Several Republican-led administrations have already moved to roll back abortion access, passing laws that ban abortions at various stages of pregnancy. Meanwhile, Democratic-led states have acted to protect abortion rights. And state-level action on the abortion issue 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 on the books that could be used to restrict abortion rights if the Supreme Court overturns or weakens Roe, effective May 1. .
This 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 the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade: 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 attorney general or other official certifies that the Supreme Court’s decision reverses 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 six-week bans
Anti-abortion rights advocates have been pushing states to enact laws that ban 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 Texas law is in effect, like the Supreme Court last yearto be executed. The measure has a novel enforcement mechanism that tasks private citizens, not state officials, with enforcing it by filing lawsuits in state courts against anyone who performs or “aides or abets” them. Its design has inspired bills in other GOP-led states that mirror the Texas measure.
Eight week ban status
In 2019, Missouri Governor Mike Parsons, a Republican, signed into law a bill that made abortions after eight weeks pregnant illegal. A federal district court blocked the measure from going into effect, and a three-judge panel of the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to lift the lower court’s injunction. The full Eighth Circuit heard arguments in Planned Parenthood’s challenge to the law last year.
States with 15 week bans
In Florida, a 15-week ban became law in April and went into effect July 1. The Mississippi law, passed in 2018, is at the heart of the dispute currently before the Supreme Court.
Louisiana’s 15-week measure was signed into law in 2018 by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, though it will only go into effect if Mississippi’s law is upheld.
In Kentucky, the state legislatureof a bill banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy last month. But a US district court granted Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary restraining order, blocking the bill from going into effect.
States with 20 week bans
Four states have laws on the books that ban abortions after 20 weeks: Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska and North Carolina.
In Montana, Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, signed into law a law banning abortions after 20 weeks last year, but a state court judge blocked the measure and two other abortion laws from taking effect in October.
States with abortion bans prior to Roe v. Wade
In addition to having newer laws on the books that place limits on when abortions can be performed in a pregnancy, nine states have laws enacted before the 1973 Roe decision that were never removed.
Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
In Michigan, however, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat,13 county prosecutors with abortion clinics in their jurisdictions in an effort to circumvent the state’s pre-Roe 1931 abortion ban.
States with the right to abortion enshrined in their constitutions
Superior courts in 10 states have recognized the right to abortion in their respective constitutions, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. The state’s constitutional protections ensure that abortion will remain legal even after a Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe.
Some of these states, like Florida, have passed laws restricting access, while others, like Montana, have temporarily blocked restrictions on abortion.
The 10 states are Alaska, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana and New Jersey.
In Iowa, an effort is underway to overturn the state Supreme Court ruling protecting abortion rights. That decision is expected in the coming months. If the decision is overturned, the GOP-controlled Iowa legislature and governor have signaled they will take steps to further restrict access to abortion.
In Kansas, an amendment allowing abortion regulation is presented to voters in August, and pro-choice groups in Michigan have also launched an election campaign to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.
States with laws protecting the right to abortion
While many Republican-led states have passed laws restricting abortion access, Democratic-led states have moved to preserve abortion rights. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have taken such steps: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.