Anti-abortion states are at odds over how to enforce the ban, whether to prosecute or monitor doctors

Thousands take to the streets in New York City to protest.

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The Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade not only divides the country into states where abortion is legal and where it is illegal. It also shows sharp differences among anti-abortion states over whether to allow exceptions and how the law should be enforced.

Almost half of the states had “trigger laws” or constitutional amendments to quickly ban abortion after a Roe v. Wade ruling. But lawmakers and governors showed on Sunday how different things can be.

Some states allow exceptions, such as legal abortions, to protect the mother’s life. Others are pursuing aggressive measures, including investigating the use of abortion drugs, traveling to other states for the procedure, promoting surveillance to identify women who want an abortion, prosecuting doctors, and encouraging individuals to sue people who who help women perform abortions.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, said the state will not pursue criminal charges against women who receive the procedure. The state also has no plans to pass laws similar to those in Texas and Oklahoma that would encourage individuals to file civil lawsuits against those accused of assisting with abortions.

“I don’t think women should ever be prosecuted,” she said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “I don’t think mothers in this situation will ever be prosecuted. Well, doctors who knowingly break the law should definitely be prosecuted.”

She said the state hasn’t decided how to handle it if a South Dakota resident travels to another state to get an abortion, saying, “There’s going to be a debate about that.”

It’s up to each state and state legislatures to decide what the laws are in their local area, she added.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said the state allows one exception: saving the mother’s life. He has directed his Department of Health to enforce the law but focus on providing resources to women experiencing unwanted pregnancies.

Arkansas law contains no exception for incest, which would force a 13-year-old raped by a relative to carry a child to term. Hutchinson said he disagreed.

“I would have preferred a different result,” he said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. “That’s not the debate in Arkansas today. It could be in the future.”

Hutchinson said the state will not investigate miscarriages or ban IUDs, a form of birth control that some anti-abortionists consider abortion because it can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

“This is about abortion, that was triggered, and it’s not about contraception. That’s clear and women should be reassured of that,” he told Meet the Press.

In Texas, a state law takes a broader approach. It enforces an abortion ban through private lawsuits against doctors or anyone who helps a woman have an abortion, e.g. B. a person driving the pregnant woman to a medical center.

Oklahoma has a similar ban, enforced through civil actions rather than criminal prosecution.

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, said Sunday that all of these state bans have the same result: stealing women’s liberty and endangering their lives .

Ocasio-Cortez pointed to Arkansas’ public health record, noting that it has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country and a high rate of child poverty.

“Forcing women to get pregnant against their will kills them,” she told Meet the Press. “It’s going to kill them, especially in the state of Arkansas where there is very little to no postpartum support in terms of health care, child care and poverty alleviation.”

— CNBC’s Jessica Bursztynsky contributed to this report. Anti-abortion states are at odds over how to enforce the ban, whether to prosecute or monitor doctors

Drew Weisholtz

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