The Supreme Court Ruled — Now States Are Acting
By Kate @ Planned Parenthood | July 25, 2022, 7:35 a.m.
Category: Abortion, Abortion Access, Reproductive Rights, State Of Abortion
Hi, everyone! Kate Smith here, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of news content.
On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the federal constitutional right to abortion. That decision has sparked chaos and confusion among patients and providers as they’ve been forced to navigate a rapidly changing landscape.
That’s exactly why we’re launching this blog, “The State of Abortion.” Each week, we’re going to show you the effects of overturning Roe v. Wade by sharing on-the-ground reports of the latest laws and legal fights in states across the country. But in this series, we’re not going to tell you how to feel about any of that. Instead, we’re here to keep you informed so you can decide for yourself.
To kick off this series, let’s all back up and catch up on where we are.
Up until last month, two Supreme Court cases laid the framework for abortion access in the United States: Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In 1973, Roe blocked states from banning abortion, and in 1992 with Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court said states couldn’t place an undue burden on patients who were seeking an abortion. That means politicians couldn’t create laws that made it particularly difficult for people to access abortion care.
But last month, the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned both of those cases, meaning that states are now allowed to ban abortion at any stage of pregnancy. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing.
In the days and weeks following that decision, states have rushed to ban abortion. Laws are rapidly changing, but as of Friday night, these 14 states had abortion bans in effect: Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. And each one is different. Some ban abortion outright with no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest, and others allow abortion only in the earliest stages of pregnancy — often before people know they are pregnant.
Two factors are allowing lawmakers to move so quickly. Trigger bans are one factor. These are laws that were passed over the years that acknowledged Roe v. Wade was the law of the land but said that if it was overturned, the state’s abortion ban almost automatically goes into effect.
Other states have moved to resurrect pre-Roe abortion bans. Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court reinstated a 1925 law that banned abortion. And in West Virginia, politicians are trying to implement an abortion ban from 1849 (yes, you read that right), though they haven’t been successful yet.
For as many bans that are going into effect, there are nearly as many lawsuits. Despite the absence of Roe, attorneys argue state constitutions protect abortion access. And in other cases, lawyers say the abortion bans are just too vague to enforce.
Even more bans are expected in the coming weeks, as state legislatures begin special sessions specifically called to debate abortion laws.
But many states are going in the opposite direction, ensuring that access to abortion is protected. Earlier this month, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order that refuses to send patients who seek abortion services back to their home states to be prosecuted. And in Massachusetts, the state legislature is pushing forward on a $15 million budget allocation that would go toward reproductive care.
Here at Planned Parenthood, we’re expecting approximately half the states to eventually ban abortion, though each state is likely to get there in a different way.
Over the next seven weeks, we’ll be digging into each of those bans and the legal fights that arise from them. We’ll also share links to legislation and litigation so you can make up your own mind.
Each week we’re also going to be bringing you exclusive conversations about how the fall of Roe is changing our lives.
I recently had the chance to catch up with Alexis McGill Johnson. She’s the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America as well as president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. We talked about the importance of holding on to your hope, especially in the face of a long and difficult road ahead. You can find more of that conversation below:
Tags: Abortion, Roe v. Wade, state of abortion