Some states ban abortion after Supreme Court Roe v. Wade annulled

Pro-life protesters hold signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court as they await its ruling on the legality of a Republican-backed Louisiana law imposing restrictions on abortion doctors in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2020.

Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

Several U.S. states immediately banned abortion on Friday after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade had picked up.

The High Court decision ended half a century of constitutionally protected abortion rights, meaning states will now be allowed to regulate the process.

At least 13 states have laws on the books that either ban abortion immediately or will soon do so.

Abortion bans in Louisiana, Missouri, Kentucky and South Dakota went into effect immediately. The laws make performing an abortion a criminal offense punishable by years in prison. However, under the law, women cannot be prosecuted for having an abortion.

Read the reactions to the fall of Roe v. calf

In Louisiana, anyone who performs abortions would face one to 10 years in prison, except for doctors to protect the mother’s life, terminate an ectopic pregnancy, or remove a dead fetus. It makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill into law earlier this week.

In Missouri, anyone who performs an abortion faces a prison sentence of five to 15 years unless the procedure is performed in the event of a medical emergency.

Planned Parenthood pro-choice supporters and staff hold a rally outside Planned Parenthood’s Reproductive Health Services Center in St. Louis, Missouri, the last place in the state to perform abortions, on May 31, 2019.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

In Kentucky, anyone who performs an abortion faces one to five years in prison. The law provides for exceptions to save the life of the mother or medical interventions that lead to an unwanted termination of a pregnancy. It makes no exceptions for rape or incest. Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, condemned the law as extremist.

Any person who performs an abortion in South Dakota now faces up to two years in prison unless the procedure is done to protect the life of the mother. Nor does it make exceptions for rape and incest.

According to the law, Idaho, Tennessee and Texas will introduce abortion bans within 30 days. Abortion bans in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming go into effect after the attorney general, the governor or certain legislative bodies confirm the Supreme Court abolished Roe.

On Friday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department will protect women traveling from states with abortion bans to states where the procedure is legal.

“Few rights are more central to individual liberty than the right to control one’s body,” Garland said. “The Department of Justice will use every means at our disposal to protect reproductive freedom. And we will not deviate from this department’s founding responsibility to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”

Abortion pill next hot spot

States that ban abortion also ban the use of the abortion pill to terminate pregnancies. However, women cannot be penalized for abortions under the law, which means many people turn to online pharmacies based abroad to have pills delivered to their homes.

Boxes of the drug mifepristone, used to induce a medical abortion, are prepared for patients at the Planned Parenthood Health Center in Birmingham, Alabama March 14, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein Reuters

The abortion pill mifepristone is approved in the US to terminate pregnancies before the 10th week of pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration first approved the drug in 2000, but required women to receive it in person as part of a program that monitors certain drugs for safety risks. Abortion rights advocates have strongly criticized the FDA requirements, arguing that mifepristone has a long and proven track record as a safe and effective means of terminating early pregnancy.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the FDA temporarily lifted the requirement for women to receive the pill in person. In December, the agency permanently ended the in-person requirement, which will allow certified pharmacies in the United States to fill and mail prescriptions.

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Garland said states could not ban mifepristone because of disagreements with the FDA’s ruling that the drug is safe and effective. US Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said his ministry would use “every lever” to protect access to abortion treatments, including the pill.

Drug abortions on the rise in the US More than half of abortions in the US are performed using the pill, according to a Guttmacher Institute survey of all known US providers

Although government bans do not penalize women who undergo abortions, there are instances where people have been reported to authorities for attempting to terminate their pregnancy.

In April, a south Texas woman was charged with murder after allegedly having a self-induced abortion. The district attorney eventually dismissed the charges, saying it was clear she “cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegations made against her.” Some states ban abortion after Supreme Court Roe v. Wade annulled

Drew Weisholtz

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