Hours after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade – the 1973 case which protected the constitutional abortion rights of women – on Friday, 24 June, several states in the country immediately banned abortions.
Abortion is now illegal or heavily restricted in at least nine states. More US states are expected to follow suit, as the country's Supreme Court has paved way for states to take a call on imposing restrictions on abortions.
Twelve other states have laws in place that allow them to quickly ban or severely restrict access to abortions, according to Guttmacher Institute, a research-based organisation dedicated to advancement of sexual and reproductive rights.
As many as 13 states already have "trigger laws" designed to take effect automatically or by quick state action if Roe no longer applies.
States That Have Banned Abortion
Trigger laws in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Alabama went into immediate effect after the Supreme Court's ruling.
Daniel McCay, Utah's Republican State Senator, who sponsored the state's "trigger law" said, the state did not have any immediate plans to stop women from seeking abortions in the neighboring states that allow it. However, it would be wrong if they do so, he said.
Utah's law would ban all abortions unless it is required to prevent death or serious injury, or in case of rape or incest.
Ohio's "hearbeat bill", which bans all abortions once the foetal heartbeat is detected too came into effect following Friday's ruling. This, after a federal judge removed the injunction in the 2019 law in the wake of US Supreme Court reversing Roe v Wade.
Alabama, too, invoked its 2019 abortion ban, according to which a woman would not be allowed to undergo abortion at any stage of pregnancy including cases of rape and incest. The state, however, allows abortion if the mother's health is at stake.
Arkansas also effected its "trigger law" soon after the US Supreme Court's Friday ruling. The state has since told its two abortion providers that it is all set to ban almost all abortions, with an exception for saving the “life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.”
Similar is the case at Louisiana and Oklahoma, where abortions will be punishable with a 10-year jail term unless the pregnancy poses a risk to the the woman's life.
In Missouri, people will now face a jail term of 15 years for performing abortion. An exception is however provided for medical emergencies.
Kentucky prohibits abortion as well unless it is essential to save the life of pregnant women or in cases where physicians cause unintentional abortions. The state is set to punish people offering abortions with up to five years in prison, reported CNBC.
South Dakota will be pushing those offering abortions with up to a two year prison term. It, however, provides exceptions for cases where the procedure is required to save the mother's life. They were also told that abortions carried out against the law would be an offence punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
The only abortion clinic in West Virginia stopped providing services on Friday. Although it has a law which make abortions a punishable offence with a 3 to 10 year imprisonment, it remained unclear whether the state will enforce it immediately, reported The Guardian.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he was working to immediately enforce a law that would ban all abortions except cases of medical emergency. This is in accordance with the state's 2019 law that had a trigger provision that would bring it into effect after Roe v Wade was overturned.
States Where Abortion Ban Will Soon Come Into Effect
As per the trigger laws in Texas, Tennessee and Idaho, abortions in these states will be banned soon, likely within a couple of months.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxtom indicated that Texas’ trigger abortion ban is set to go into effect 30 days after the Supreme Court issues its final judgment, which typically happens a month after the initial opinion, which was delivered on Friday.
In Tennessee and Idaho as well, the law will take effect on the thirtieth day after the Supreme Court issues a judgment overturning Roe v Wade.
And at Wyoming, North Dakota and Mississippi, abortion bans will come into place once the state's governor, attorney general or certain legislative bodies certify that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade.
States That Are Likely To Ban Abortion
An additional four states are also likely to ban abortion as soon as possible without federal protections in place, as per the Guttmacher Institute.
Florida: The state legislature tried to ban abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy in 2021. An effort to adopt the Texas-style six-week ban was also publicised. However, in April 2022, a 15-week abortion ban was enacted, which will go into effect in July.
Indiana: The legislature has enacted 55 abortion restrictions and bans in the past decade. This could lead to a comprehensive ban.
Montana: New abortion restrictions were enacted in Montana in 2021. These included restrictions on medication abortion and abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, due to a court order, these restrictions can't currently be enforced.
Nebraska: The state was the first to adopt a 22-week ban in 2010. In 2020, Nebraska enacted a ban on the standard method for abortion after 15 weeks.
It is still legal for women in the states to travel out to get abortions, as per a website affiliated to Planned Parenthood, the US Sexual Healthcare Organisation.
(With inputs from NPR, CNBC, and The Guardian.)