How do US states deal with the abortion verdict?

There is a good chance that abortion laws will change again somewhere in the USA while you are reading this text. This has to do with the fact that after the Supreme Court repealed the liberal case law that had been in force for almost half a century at the end of June, the individual states are now responsible again

In Arizona, Oklahoma, Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin, this has led to abortion bans from the 19th and early 20th centuries suddenly being re-enacted into law. In some cases, injunction lawsuits have temporarily blocked entry into force, while in others states are suing to have previous blockages lifted.

In addition, there are so-called “trigger bans”, which automatically put into effect a ban on abortion that had already been passed by the parliaments of the states concerned.

In the landmark “Roe versus Wade” decision of January 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court ruled that state laws prohibiting abortion violate the United States Constitution. Since then, abortions have been legal in most US states.

As the first state after the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, the Indiana legislature last week passed legislation that would only allow terminations of pregnancy in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the mother. In Kansas, a constitutional referendum that would have allowed for similar restrictions surprisingly failed with a large majority.

Abortion clinics shut down

As things currently stand, abortions are largely banned in eleven countries. These include Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

As a result, 43 abortion clinics in the affected states have ceased operations. All states are Republican-governed and geographically located in the South, Midwest, or Southwest of the United States.

Experts expect that about half of the states will pass abortion bans within the next few months.

This also includes those in which a time limit still applies.

Topping the list are Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee, where women have access to abortions with impunity for up to six weeks. At this point in time, those affected often do not yet know that they are pregnant.

More comparable to the deadlines in Europe are the restrictions in Florida with 15 weeks, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina allow termination after 22 weeks.

All other states either set the limit of viability of the fetus outside the womb or have no limit in law at all. Access to abortion is legal and protected by law in Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, California, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Washington State.

Mississippi has the toughest abortion ban

Restrictions on access to abortion with impunity in Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia are pending in court or in their respective legislatures. More than half of American women live in a state that has no or significant restrictions on terminating an unwanted pregnancy.

In addition to bans and deadlines, this includes obligatory consultations, long waiting times, ultrasound examinations, notification of the parents of minors, a ban on the financing of abortions by health insurers, strict regulations for existing clinics and the consent of the children’s fathers.

The toughest abortion ban is in Mississippi, which has no exceptions for incest or rape. Carrying the fetus after a sex crime is also required by law in Idaho, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming.

Victims who live in a state with restrictions on access to legal abortion have three options.

You can travel to a state that doesn’t have restrictions and allows abortions on patients from other states, or you can perform the abortion yourself using FDA-approved drugs—or you can choose to carry the child to term.

The US Supreme Court allowed states to ban abortion in June 2022. Washington judges overturned the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling that declared abortion a private matter. So far, the court had therefore declared abortions up to the 24th week of pregnancy to be lawful.

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