With the Supreme Court expected to scrap a federal guarantee for abortion access in the coming months, legislators in some states are proposing more restrictive laws governing reproductive health.
Proposals vary from outright criminalizing abortion to measures that make abortion nominally legal but practically impossible. Some states are exploring measures that would make it illegal for residents to travel to a state in which it is legal to have an abortion procedure.
In addition to enacting more restrictive laws, some state lawmakers are also discussing ways to expand the social safety net to provide more financial and social support to pregnant women, even if they do so involuntarily. .
“States are not waiting for the Supreme Court to ban abortion; they are not waiting for a final decision on Roe,” Inthe Metzger, director of state advocacy communications for the Planned Parenthood Association of America, told VOA. “They’re doing it now. And the Supreme Court has proved that they’re not going to take steps to stop it. … It’s all already happening.”
Anti-abortion lawmakers were adamant about stifling their gains, speaking to the Texas Tribune, Texas State Representative Brisco Cain said, “I think I can speak up for myself and other colleagues who are at odds with my policy beliefs. are aligned – we will continue to do our best to make abortion not only illegal, but unthinkable.”
Last week, a leaked draft of the Supreme Court opinion demonstrated that a majority of the court’s people are in favor of overturning the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade. That case made it illegal for states to ban abortions before they were able to live outside the womb. It is usually considered between the 22nd and 24th week of pregnancy.
If the draft opinion takes effect, it would mean that the federal government is silent on the question of the legality of abortion, leaving the ability to regulate it entirely to the states. This is a project on which MPs in several state capitals were already well underway.
In recent years, especially President Donald Trump’s appointment of three conservative justices has changed the ideological balance of the court, with states passing legislation to push the boundaries of the Roe decision.
Last year, Texas banned abortion after six weeks of pregnancy—before many women even realized they were pregnant. In December, the High Court allowed the Texas law to remain in effect pending legal challenges.
That same month, the court heard arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case challenging Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks, or about two months before the cutoff established by Roe.
The draft verdict in the Dobbs case was leaked last week.
new law proposed
Thirteen states have “trigger bans” that will automatically ban abortion if the row is reversed. Other states have laws that can be enacted briefly to prohibit abortion. All told, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research organization, if the row is reversed, 26 states would reduce or eliminate access to abortion.
A day after the leak, for example, the governor of Oklahoma signed legislation similar to a six-week ban in Texas.
Both Texas and Oklahoma laws provide no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. The same is true for laws passed in Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota and Tennessee.
Officials defending the lack of exceptions for rape and incest victims say these types of pregnancies represent a very small percentage of total abortions.
Appearing on Nation World News on Sunday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said, “When you look at the number of people who are actually involved in incest, it’s less than 1 percent. And if we have to in future trigger legislation.” If we need to talk about possible exceptions, we can certainly do that.”
Many trigger restrictions that would make providing abortion services a felony, including those imposed by Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota, Tennessee and Utah.
Planned Parenthood’s Metzger said it’s important to remember that many of these state laws will be challenged in court.
“States are going to the extreme and proposing things we’ve never seen before,” she said. “But because it’s so new, it hasn’t been tested, so we don’t know if it will even last in court.”
abortion as murder
Several other states have indicated their intention to use freedom from the cry to implement new types of sanctions.
One of the most radical is the provision being considered in Louisiana, which would grant constitutional rights from the moment of fertilization. The resolution would classify abortion as murder, making anyone involved in the process, including a pregnant woman, liable to face charges.
Experts warn that the bill would make some types of contraception illegal. It will also raise serious questions about the practice of in vitro fertilization, in which few fertilized eggs are usually discarded.
In an email exchange with the VOA, Elizabeth Nash, a state policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute, wrote, “Louisiana has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country and already has a trigger ban and a six-week ban, and the Constitution does not protect abortion rights.”
Nash continued, “This new law goes even further by framing abortion as murder and potentially prohibiting self-managed abortion. Several states already have this through their abortion laws and their feticide laws.” define pregnancy. Restrictions may affect the provision of infertility services, and in this political climate that is so hostile to reproductive health, Louisiana may, along with other states, limit access to contraceptive services.”
drug ban considered
Many states are considering banning drugs that can be used to prevent or terminate a pregnancy. For example, lawmakers in Idaho said they are considering banning so-called “Plan B” drugs as well as drug abortion.
Plan B, or the “morning after pill,” are drugs that a woman can take immediately after intercourse that prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, preventing pregnancy. Drug abortion is the use of a combination of two drugs that combine to terminate an early-stage pregnancy.
Both Plan B and drug abortion have been in common use for many years and are considered safe enough that they can be used at home.
stopping travel for abortion
While some states may be successful in banning legal abortion outright within their borders, it will be possible for people seeking abortions to travel to states where the procedure is legal.
Lawmakers in at least two states, Missouri and Texas, have proposed plans that would make it possible for their residents to sue out-of-state doctors who perform abortions on state residents, even though the procedure is legal in that state. Yes where it happens. ,
In Texas, lawmakers have threatened legal action against charitable organizations that provide funding for women who need to leave their home states to receive abortion services.
“It doesn’t seem like a ban on out-of-state abortion would be constitutional,” said Nash of the Guttmacher Institute.
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