The Supreme Court just overturned Roe v. Wade. Before today, the right to an abortion was protected under the U.S. Constitution, which meant that state lawmakers couldn’t just ban the procedure if they wanted to. Now states have free rein to ban abortion, to restrict abortion and to regulate abortion. So what happens next? Here’s where abortion laws stand in each state.
The Supreme Court just overturned Roe v. Wade. Before today, abortion was protected under the U.S. Constitution, which meant that state lawmakers couldn’t just ban the procedure if they wanted to. Now they have free rein to ban abortion, to restrict abortion and to regulate abortion. So – what happens next?
Thirteen states were prepared for this moment. They passed laws called “trigger laws,” which outline what happens if Roe is overturned. So how do those work?
Well, according to the Guttmacher Institute, three states — South Dakota, Kentucky and Louisiana — have laws saying that abortion is banned the instant Roe is reversed. Which means that abortion is illegal in those states right now. As of 1:30 p.m. on Friday, June 24, two other states — Missouri and Oklahoma — have also triggered their bans, so abortion is illegal there too.
In five more states — Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota,, Arkansas and Mississippi — the ban isn’t automatic, but it will come quickly. State politicians just have to take a few steps to put the abortion ban in action. That means abortion could be illegal in these states within a matter of days, or even hours.
And in three more states – Texas, Tennessee, and Idaho – an abortion ban goes into effect 30 days after the Supreme Court’s ruling. Many of these laws do not have exceptions for rape or incest.
A couple more states don’t have trigger bans, but they could take steps to ban abortion pretty quickly. Indiana lawmakers are coming back into session on July 6, so they have an opportunity to pass new abortion restrictions. That seems likely, since the state has enacted 55 different abortion restrictions in the last decade. And Nebraska’s governor said he’ll call a special session to pass a total abortion ban if Roe is overturned.
Then things get a little bit more complicated. Several states have abortion bans or heavy restrictions that are tied up in the courts because, until now, they violated Roe v. Wade. Alabama has a near-total abortion ban passed in 2019 that the state will likely try to enforce. And Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina and Iowa have all passed bans on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Those previously contested restrictions could soon become law. And Florida passed a 15-week abortion ban earlier this year that’s set to go into effect on July 1 — but there are some questions about whether that law violates the state’s constitution.
After that, you have the states with old, old bans on abortion – some from more than 100 years ago. The states didn’t bother to repeal the bans after Roe v. Wade was decided. They just didn’t enforce them. So now in theory, they’re fair game again. Those states are Arizona, West Virginia, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Now, enforcing those bans could be complicated. Arizona’s governor has said that he thinks the state’s considerably more recent ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy should preempt the older ban. Michigan also has a pre-Roe ban, but a court put a temporary hold on it in May so it can’t go into effect immediately. So there could be some fighting and messiness in some states before it’s clear what the actual policy will be.
The bottom line, though, is that abortion could be either banned entirely or heavily restricted in at least 20 states by the end of the summer. And the outcome of the midterm elections could affect whether abortion stays legal in other states, too. We’ll keep you posted on how everything unfolds, but things are about to start changing — fast.