There is a lot of speculation right now about what abortion laws would look like if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
And while abortion activists are fear-mongering with images of coat hangers and talk of back alley abortions, legal scholars say abortions will still be legal in most of the United States if Roe is overturned.
“We think there are 22 states likely to ban abortion without Roe,” Amy Myrick, an attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the Las Vegas Sun. “The threat level is very high now.”
Abortion activists are worried and pro-lifers are hopeful about President Donald Trump’s second nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. If confirmed by the Senate, Kavanaugh would become the fifth conservative justice on the high court and likely a deciding vote on important cases involving protections for unborn babies.
In 1973, Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, opened the doors to abortion on demand for basically any reason up to birth in America. The cases took away states’ abilities to legally protect unborn babies from abortion, and, if overturned, they would return that power back to the states. With five conservative justices on the Supreme Court, there is a chance of that happening.
For years, legal experts have thrown out predictions about which states may ban abortions and which may continue allowing unborn babies to be aborted.
Here’s more from the report:
As of now, four states — Louisiana, Mississippi and North and South Dakota — have what are known as abortion “trigger laws.” Those laws — passed long after Roe was handed down — would make abortion illegal if and when the Supreme Court were to say Roe is no more.
“They are designed to make abortion illegal immediately,” said Myrick.
Another dozen or so states still have pre-Roe abortion bans on the books.
Some have been formally blocked by the courts, but not repealed. Those bans could, at least in theory, be reinstated, although “someone would have to go into court and ask to lift that injunction,” said Myrick.
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States could simply begin enforcing other bans that were never formally blocked, like one in Alabama that makes abortion providers subject to fines and up to a year in jail.
At the same time, Myrick said, “there are 20 states where abortion would probably remain safe and legal.”
Myrick’s estimate of 22 is a liberal one. Just last year, the radical pro-abortion group NARAL predicted 13 states would immediately ban abortions if Roe is overturned.
A previous estimate by the Center for Reproductive Rights predicted that 31 states and the District of Columbia would ban abortions if Roe is overturned. Yet another analysis by attorney Paul Linton in the journal “Issues in Law and Medicine” in 2012 put the estimate at between eight and 11 states, according to research by Dr. Michael New.
Sarah Lipton-Lubet, vice president for reproductive health and rights at the National Partnership for Women and Families, predicted the high court may chip away at Roe rather than overturn it completely, according to the Sun.
She and Myrick pointed to several legal challenges moving through the courts right now that could head to the Supreme Court soon. These include the 15-week abortion bans in Mississippi and Louisiana and the bans on brutal dismemberment abortions that tear unborn babies limb from limb while their hearts are beating. Other cases include abortion clinic regulations and bans on discriminatory abortions based on an unborn baby’s race, gender or disability.
Kavanaugh’s nomination provides hope to pro-lifers and the future of unborn babies’ rights. But no matter what happens at the high court, one thing is certain. Pro-life advocates still have a long road ahead to protect every life, born and unborn, from the brutal violence of abortion.