The Supreme Court of the United States annulled this Friday Roe vs. Wade, the historic ruling that legalized the right to abortion throughout the country in 1973. The decision of the magistrates eliminates the constitutional right to abortion in the US.
The majority ruling comes after the state of Mississippi asked the highest court to overturn Roe v. Wade in an attempt to ban women’s right to terminate pregnancy after the 15th week.
The decision, supported by five of the nine Supreme Court justices, leaves the issue of abortion in the hands of the states, which would be free to criminalize or prohibit abortion through state laws.
It will also lead to abortion bans in nearly half the states and could have huge ramifications for this year’s election.
IS ABORTION LEGAL IN ILLINOIS?
Yes, abortion is legal in Illinois, and can only be restricted after the point of viability, when the fetus is deemed capable of surviving outside the womb. Medical science determines viability between 24 and 26 weeks, but Illinois law does not specify a time period and says that a medical professional can determine viability on a case-by-case basis. Abortions are also permitted to protect the life or health of the patient.
WHAT EFFECT DOES THE COURT’S RULING HAVE ON IL?
Nothing the court does would affect the ability to have an abortion in Illinois. After the decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, the Illinois Abortion Act of 1975 legalized the procedure, but enacted a “trigger law” that would reinstate the ban if Roe were overturned.
That trigger law was repealed in 2017 in legislation that also required Medicaid and state employees’ group health insurance to cover abortions.
The Reproductive Health Act of 2019 it replaced the 1975 law, much of which was never enforced because it was found to be unconstitutional.
In 2021, Governor Pritzker also repealed the Parental Notification Act, which allows pregnant minors to choose whether or not a legal guardian or family member should be involved in their decision to have an abortion.
Supporters of the measure said the repeal “protected the most vulnerable youth, such as victims of rape, incest and domestic abuse, from being forced to notify their abusers.”
Following the latest news about the Supreme Court decision, Pritzker tweeted, saying, “We will fight back.”
The governor also called on the General Assembly to hold a special session in the coming weeks, saying, “Together, we are committed to taking swift action to further enshrine our commitment to reproductive health protection and rights.”
WHAT FOLLOWS AFTER THE FAILURE?
Like other states that provide access to abortions, Illinois has seen a steady influx of patients crossing the state line for abortions in recent months and those numbers are expected to rise. The state could see an additional 20,000 to 30,000 patients seeking abortions in the first year if Roe is reversed, said Brigid Leahy, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Illinois.
STATES THAT WOULD BAN ABORTION
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming , according to the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that researches reproductive rights.
Pennsylvania has a Republican-led legislature that could try to pass new restrictions on abortion. However, the state’s Democratic governor has served as a firewall against such legislation.
Meanwhile, in Florida, Indiana, Montana and Nebraska, the right to abortion would also be eliminated, but with a lower level of possibility.
STATES THAT WOULD PROTECT ABORTION
16 other states, in addition to Washington DC, have laws that protect the right to abortion if Roe v. Wade, as reported by several reproductive rights organizations.
States like California, New York, Oregon and Washington have protected abortion rights through state laws, according to data from the Center for Reproductive Rights. Others, such as Iowa, Minnesota, and Montana, have recognized the right through court rulings.