States may severely restrict abortions

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Anti-abortionists rejoiced after the Supreme Court Ruling (Getty Images)

Robin Levinson-King & Chloe Kim & Paul Sargeant
BBC News, London, June 27, 2022

The US Supreme Court has opened the door for individual States to ban or severely restrict the ability of pregnant women to get abortions.

In 1973, the Court ruled in Roe v Wade that pregnant women were entitled to an abortion during the first three months of their pregnancy while allowing for legal restrictions and bans in the second and third trimesters.

Now the Court has overturned that earlier ruling, effectively making it possible for States to ban abortions earlier than 12 weeks.

Abortion will not automatically become illegal in the US – but individual States will now be allowed to decide if and how to allow abortions.

Trigger laws

Which States will ban abortion?

Many States have passed “trigger laws” that come into effect upon Roe v Wade being overturned. Others have left old laws on the books that banned abortion prior to 1973 – they could now go back into force.

Over the past decade, several States have also tried to pass laws making abortion illegal, except in a few circumstances such as if the pregnant woman’s life is at risk. Some of those laws were struck down by lower Courts, as they appeared to violate Roe v Wade. But now they will likely come back into force.

In total, more than 20 States are making moves to limit access to abortion, according to Guttmacher. Some States intend to ban abortion from the moment of conception, while others are introducing bans at six or more weeks.

All States allow abortion to save the life of the mother, while some will also allow exceptions to their ban for cases of rape or incest.

Most have said they will not prosecute women for trying to end their pregnancy, reserving criminal penalties for abortion providers and others who try and help women get abortions.

Here is a look at what could happen in those States now that Roe v Wade has been overturned.

We are grateful to BBC News for the above story.

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