Abortion Bans Are Expected in Half the States After Roe Decision

By: - June 24, 2022 12:00 am

Protesters outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., celebrate Friday’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 50-year-old decision that guaranteed a patient’s right to an abortion. Abortion is expected to become illegal soon in about half the states. Steve Helber/The Associated Press

Abortion is expected to soon become illegal in 26 states as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overruling of Roe v. Wade on Friday.

Twenty-two of those states already have abortion bans on the books, bans that were dormant as long as Roe, decided in 1973, was the prevailing precedent. Those states include Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Texas.

In addition, with Roe overturned, at least four more states—Florida, Indiana, Montana and Nebraska, all with Republican governors and solidly GOP legislative majorities—are poised to follow suit with their own bans in the near future, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for abortion rights.

Conversely, 16 states plus Washington, D.C., provide protection for abortion rights either in law or in their constitutions.

Only three states have abortion bans that would immediately take effect—Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota.

Most of the other states with so-called trigger laws banning abortion in the event Roe was overturned require the governor, the attorney general or the legislature to officially declare that the Supreme Court ruling does in fact remove a constitutional right to abortion. But that process is unlikely to take long, no more than 30 days in some cases.

Some other states, such as Ohio, which have pre-Roe abortion bans, are likely to face court challenges that could delay implementation of an outright ban for weeks or months. In such cases, abortion will remain legal in those states, at least in the short run.

The abortion bans in many states are not the same. While the 13 states with trigger laws all provide exceptions to a full ban in cases where the patient’s life or health is in jeopardy, some make no exceptions in cases of rape and incest.

A broad swath of organizations representing medical professionals condemned the Supreme Court decision, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Nurses United and the American Public Health Association.

“Today’s decision is a direct blow to bodily autonomy, reproductive health, patient safety and health equity in the United States,” the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in a statement.

Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, which has made the overturning of Roe its prime focus for decades, hailed the decision in a videotaped tweet: “This is a great day for unborn children and their mothers.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Michael Ollove

Michael Ollove covers health care for Stateline. Ollove worked for many years at The Baltimore Sun, as an enterprise reporter and an editor.