As much as 26 states, or about half of the USA, are expected to quickly ban or more severely limit abortions if the Supreme Court reverses its 49-year-old ruling in Roe v. Wade, in line with a leading reproductive rights advocacy group.
That prediction from the Guttmacher Institute, issued last fall, gained renewed attention Tuesday with the leak of an initial draft of a Supreme Court decision that will reverse Roe and a related ruling, and thus eliminate the constitutional right to abortion.
Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft as reported by Politico, which, as of now at the very least, will not be the official ruling of the court.
But abortion rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers fear the court will soon issue an identical opinion. It might again allow individual states freedom to manage abortion without the oversight of federal courts.
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“That is going to be devastating for abortion access across the country,” said Elizabeth Nash, interim associate director of state issues on the Guttmacher Institute.
Nash said that 36 million women of reproductive age live within the 26 states that Guttmacher expects to routinely ban abortion, or considers more likely to accomplish that.
Those states are concentrated within the South, the Midwest, and the far West.
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They include Texas and Florida, which together accounted for nearly 15% of the greater than 862,000 abortions performed nationally in 2017.
Nash said nine of the states still have bans on abortion that predate the 1973 ruling by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, which might again theoretically take effect with the repeal of the ruling.
Roe v. Wade barred outright prohibitions on abortion. It said a state could bar abortions only within the third trimester of pregnancy, and only then in the event that they allowed exceptions for cases to save lots of the lifetime of the mother or to guard her health.
The nine states with pre-Roe bans are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
And 13 states on the list have passed so-called trigger laws that will ban abortion or further restrict it if Roe is overturned, Nash said.
Those states are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
Nash said that a number of the states on Guttmacher’s list of states on the right track to ban or severely limit abortion, including Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin, won’t accomplish that because they’ve governors who support abortion rights, together with other aspects.
Nash noted that one in 4 American women can have an abortion of their lifetime.
“Which means abortion is incredibly common, and if you see a state begin to ban it, meaning they’re denying people access to health care,” Nash said.
Guttmacher has an interactive map on its website that shows how far a lady in a given state must drive on average to acquire an abortion under current law, and the way far they would want to drive if a ban went into place of their home state.
In Idaho, the present average driving distance can be 21 miles, a technique. It might increase to 250 miles with a complete ban on abortion in that state.
In Texas, which last 12 months adopted a law barring abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, the common distance women would want to drive to get an abortion is 17 miles, a technique. That may increase to 542 miles, a technique, if a complete ban is adopted there, as is taken into account certain if Roe is reversed.
Nash said that consequently of Texas’ latest law, “we’re already seeing wait times in some [abortion] clinics increase to 3 and 4 weeks.”
“Imagine what happens to clinic access if more states ban abortion,” Nash said.
Guttmacher’s data shows that there have been greater than 55,400 abortions performed in Texas alone in 2017, the last 12 months that statistics can be found.