The decision, described as a “tragic error” by President Joe Biden, fell this Friday at 10 a.m. in Washington, and it is expected to change the lives of millions of women over the next few years. The U.S. Supreme Court buried its own Roe v. Wade, dating from 1973 and authorizing access to abortion in the country. “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion and none of its articles implicitly protects this right,” wrote Judge Samuel Alito on behalf of the majority. Roe v. Wade “was totally unfounded from the start” and “must be overruled”. In fact, each American state is now free to choose its own policy. More than half, the vast majority acquired by the Republicans, could soon switch to a total ban.
On the other hand, twenty-four States – especially on the west coast and in the Northeast – will certainly retain the right to abortion. Some have even taken measures to expand access to abortions, in particular by authorizing more health professionals to perform them or by increasing funding for clinics. The point on the map.
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Thirteen states, especially in the more religious and conservative South and centre, have in recent years adopted so-called “zombie” or “trigger laws” drafted to come into force automatically in the event of a change in the Court’s case law. supreme.
Missouri was one of them. His attorney general immediately announced on Friday that he was becoming the “first” to ban voluntary terminations of pregnancy in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision. Louisiana and South Dakota soon followed suit.
Arkansas and Mississippi could act in the same way in the hours and days to come. Texas or Tennessee have a 30-day period between the publication of the judgment and the entry into force of the new ban, which could delay the announcement of the decision, which is nevertheless inevitable. Idaho for its part already prohibits abortion but with exceptions in the event of rape or incest, Kentucky only in the event of danger to the life of the pregnant woman.
Four additional states (Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and South Carolina) have laws prohibiting abortions as soon as the heartbeat of the embryo is perceptible, around six weeks of pregnancy when most women are still unaware of being pregnant. Blocked by justice because they violated the legal framework in force until then, they can now come into force.
Several states finally have laws drafted before Roe v. Wade in 1973, which established the right of American women to have an abortion. Shelved for nearly 50 years, they could theoretically be immediately reactivated, but nothing is certain. Taking note of the legal risk, the powerful organization Planned Parenthood does not plan any abortion from the end of June in Wisconsin where the Democratic governor defends the right to abortion but not the majority Republican parliamentarians.
In Michigan, Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel added to the confusion by promising not to prosecute people who violate the 1931 law if it becomes active again. Local prosecutors will still be able to do so and the state risks becoming a complex patchwork.
In Arizona, Republican Governor Doug Ducey believes that a law passed in 2022 to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy will preempt previous texts, but senators in his party do not hear it that way and he will no doubt return to the courts to clarify the situation.
Four States have, according to the Guttmacher Institute, sent signs unfavorable to abortion, but do not currently have the texts to prohibit them. The elected officials of Nebraska or Indiana have failed to pass such laws. Those of Montana and Florida have reduced the legal deadlines for terminating a pregnancy, but the supreme courts of these States currently protect the right to abortion on their soil.