If Roe vs Wade is overturned, what happens?

A draft opinion leaked to Politico this week suggests the Supreme Court of the United States may soon overturn Roe vs Wade, the historical 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide. Here’s how things stand:

What is the Supreme Court ruling on?

The Case Now Before the Court – Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – is a Mississippi call to ban abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. The state does not ask the court to quash Roe vs. Wade or subsequent cases that have reaffirmed it.

But many abortion rights advocates are concerned that the conservative majority of the court will do just that. The leaked draft was written by Conservative Judge Samuel A. Alito. Nothing is final until the court votes and issues its sentence.

If it complies with Mississippi law, it would be the first ratification of an abortion ban before the point where a fetus can survive outside the womb, the standard set in Roe vs. Wade. The immediate effect would be limited because most miscarriages occur in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But such a ruling could leave the decision to state lawmakers, setting the stage for further state restrictions on abortion.

Haven’t states already limited abortion?

No state has completely banned abortion, although some have recently gotten close.

Texas enacted a law last fall that makes abortion after detection of fetal heart activity illegal, the strictest abortion legislation in over 50 years. It was also the first abortion restriction not to rely on state sanctions for execution but rather civil law actions, authorizing any member of the public to sue anyone who performs or facilitates an illegal abortion for at least $ 10,000 per abortion. , plus court costs. Laws are no exception for rape or incest.

On Tuesday, the gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, signed a similar law that the Oklahoma legislature passed last month. The law takes effect immediately, although defenders of abortion rights have already challenged it in court.

“I want Oklahoma to be the most life-friendly state in the country,” Stitt tweeted after signing the bill.

The governor recently signed a separate and stricter law banning abortion other than to save the life of a pregnant woman and making the procedure a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $ 100,000 fine. That law will go into effect at the end of August. Experts say he’s unlikely to survive a court match unless Roe vs Wade is shot down.

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, how many other states could ban abortion?

The Guttmacher Institutean abortion rights advocacy group expects bans to be imposed in at least 26 states, including 13 that have “trigger laws” that will go into effect immediately if the constitutional right to abortion is abolished.

These bans would eliminate access to abortion for large areas of the Deep South, Midwest and West, including Arizona, Idaho and Utah, creating areas that abortion rights advocates call “abortion deserts.”

Would the Supreme Court ruling affect the availability of abortive drugs?

Could. States have increasingly limited the availability of abortion drugs, which it now represents more than half of all US abortions.

At least 32 require it be administered by a doctor and 19 required that the doctor who supplies abortion drugs be physically present, effectively banning telemedicine. Two states – Indiana and Texas – prohibit its use after a specific time in pregnancy. Texas law, passed last year, also does not allow drugs to be shipped by mail, although it is unclear how this can be applied.

If states ban abortion, can’t people just go to clinics in California or other states?

Not all women can travel out of state. Many have to work or have children (60% of women seeking abortions already have children, according to the CDC). Migrant women residing illegally in the country must clear customs at internal checkpoints operated by US Customs and Border Protection.

For those who can go out of state, experts predict that the fall of Roe vs. Wade would increase the distance they have to travel, the overall cost of their abortions, and the workload for the clinics.

Clinics in states bordering Texas have been overwhelmed in recent months by out-of-state patients seeking abortions, and the crush is likely to get worse as the latest Oklahoma law goes into effect. Given the delays in scheduling and the addition of trips, providers expect to see patients arrive later in their pregnancy, which could further limit the clinics that can treat them.

Many so-called “refuge states”, including California, limit miscarriages in the later stages of pregnancy. These are extremely rare, but if lack of access to home abortions results in major delays, more women should turn to the six states, along with Washington, DC, which do not impose gestational limits. Clinics in at least two of those states – Colorado and New Mexico – have already seen an increase in patients due to abortion restrictions in Texas.