by Steven Ertelt
June 28, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — If the Supreme Court overturns the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, a pro-life law firm says only seven states would have enforceable laws on the books making abortion illegal. In the rest of the states, the scrapping of the infamous decision would make no immediate difference.
A nationwide survey of state laws by the Life Legal Defense Fund finds that just seven states, including Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wisconsin would ban all or most abortions post-Roe.
New legislation would need to be adopted in most of the other 43 states in order to make abortions illegal.
Paul Linton, an attorney for the firm, said the results of the study may surprise many involved in the abortion debate.
"Overturning Roe and Doe would send the issue of when abortion should be permitted back to the American people," he said. "It will not result in making abortion illegal for most of the country."
The pro-life law firm says twelve of the 43 states have laws on the books that would stop most abortions, but court decisions have prevented those from being enforced. Some of those states, such as Arizona, New York, and Texas could bring new cases to court in order to make those laws valid.
Linton said the firm decided to look into the legal effect of overturning Roe because of conflicting reports from other organizations trying to paint a picture of what would happen if the Supreme Court decision fell.
Some abortion advocates have claimed that most states would ban abortions post-Roe and that claim has been used as a reason to not approve a pro-life nominee to the Supreme Court.
Earlier this year, leading abortion advocacy group NARAL released a report indicating 19 states would ban all or most abortions if Roe is overturned. The group said another 19 states would likely make abortion illegal soon after.
In October, the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, a leading pro-abortion law firm, released a survey showing 21 states where abortion would almost certainly be illegal if Roe is overturned and nine states where abortion would likely be illegal.
Denise Mackura, Life Legal Defense Fund’s director, says her group conducted its review of state laws because of the conflicting reports.
"Critical legal decisions by our United States Senators should be made on the facts we all have access to — not opinion," she said.
According to the Life Legal Defense Fund:
These states would have legal abortion if Roe is overturned and have repealed their pre-Roe illegal abortion laws — Alaska, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming
These states have laws making abortion illegal but the laws would not yet be enforceable due to court decisions — Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia
These states would make abortion illegal if Roe is overturned — Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Wisconsin
Related web sites:
Life Legal Defense Fund – https://www.overruleroe.com