Last week the Supreme Court overturned the controversial 1973 abortion case Roe v. Wade, allowing state legislatures – and voters across the United States – to determine abortion legality at the state level.
This article was originally published on May 3, immediately after a draft opinion from the Supreme Court was leaked to the media. It may not contain the latest information, though it offers a look at what conservative – and liberal – states may do in the wake of the monumental 5-4 decision led by a conservative majority that included three judges appointed by 45th President Donald Trump.
On Monday night, Politico published a leak of a draft opinion from Justice Samuel Alito in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that is currently being looked at by the Supreme Court. The opinion would repeal Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion across the country.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, have all passed “trigger laws” banning abortions that would take immediate effect in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin had also banned abortion prior to the controversial 1973 Supreme Court decision, and could reinstate those laws as soon as the Roe ruling is tossed.
In addition to those 18 states, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and South Carolina could revisit their anti-abortion laws that had been successfully overturned by courts in the past.
Florida, Indiana, Montana and Nebraska could also take action to protect the unborn based on trends in their recent legislative efforts, according to Guttmacher researchers.
Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, abortion legality would become a state issue, with each government able to make its own decision.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Alito wrote in an opinion that Politico described as a “full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right.”
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Alito continued. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
SCOTUS has since confirmed the authenticity of the leaked draft opinion, with Chief Justice John Roberts announcing an investigation to find the person behind the “egregious” leak.
“We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce – permanent employees and law clerks alike – intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law,” Justice Roberts said. “Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court.”
According to reports, some analysts have claimed that the leak is an attempt to pressure a Supreme Court justice to change their vote on the controversial case. However, Justice Roberts affirmed that the leak would not succeed in undermining “the integrity” of SCOTUS operations.
Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, protection of the unborn would be left up to individual states — and at least 18 states across America would almost immediately ban abortion due to previously-passed “trigger laws.”