On Monday evening, Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed and sworn into the Supreme Court of the United States. This confirmation will have potentially severe impacts on healthcare, immigration, and abortion rights.
If Roe v. Wade were overturned, abortion rights would be in the hands of individual states. Some states have already enacted bans that “prohibit abortion under all or nearly all circumstances”. Other states have “trigger laws”, which would automatically take effect if and when Roe is overturned. Many states have amended their constitution to declare no protection or public funds for abortion rights, and/or a commitment to banning abortion to whatever extent is allowed by the United States Constitution. Lastly, some states have moved to protect abortion rights and codify Roe v. Wade in state law.
According to Guttmacher Institute, 21 states have laws that could restrict the legal status of abortion. 9 states have “pre-Roe” abortion bans, 10 have “trigger laws”, 9 have unconstitutional post-Roe laws that are currently blocked but would be enacted it Roe was overturned, and 7 states have laws showing intent to restrict abortion rights as much as the U.S. Constitution will allow. Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia all have constitutional amendments explicitly stating that they do not protect abortion rights or allow public funds to be used for abortions.
On the other hand, 13 states and D.C. have laws protecting the right to abortion. Oregon, Vermont, and D.C. have legalized the right to abortion during the pregnancy without interference from the state. The other 11 states allow abortion before viability or in cases where the pregnant person’s life or health is in danger.
The upcoming months in the Supreme Court will determine how these varying laws will impact those seeking abortions, and whether we will have to fight for national protection of abortion yet again.
Sources: Feminist Newswire 10/27/20, Guttmacher 10/15/20, Feminist Newswire 10/6/20