The Supreme Court just overturned Roe v Wade – what happens next? † Roe v Wade

The Supreme Court just overturned the landmark Roe v Wade case, which gave women in the US the right to terminate a pregnancy. A turnaround of this magnitude is almost unprecedented, especially in a case decided nearly 50 years ago.

The extraordinarily rare move will allow more than half of states to outlaw abortion, with an immediate and lasting impact on tens of millions of Americans.

What happened?

The court ruled there is no constitutional right to abortion in a case called Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In reaching that decision, the conservative-majority court overturned the 1973 Roe v Wade.

Historically, the court has quashed cases to grant more rights. The court has done the opposite here, and its decision will curtail a constitutional right that generations of Americans take for granted.

As a result of the reversal, states will once again be allowed to ban or severely restrict abortion, changes that will indelibly alter the national understanding of freedom, self-determination and personal autonomy.

Where will this happen?

26 states are expected to do so immediately or as soon as possible. This will make abortion illegal in most of the South and Midwest.

In these states, women and other people of childbearing potential must either travel hundreds of miles to reach an abortion provider or arrange for abortions at home with drugs or other means.

However, anti-abortion laws are not national. The US will have a patchwork of laws, including restrictions and protections, as some Democrat-led states like California and New York have expanded reproductive rights ahead of the decision.

Still, the new abortion bans will make the US one of only four countries to roll back abortion rights since 1994, and by far the richest and most influential country to do so. The other three countries restricting abortion rights are Poland, El Salvador and Nicaragua, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. More than half (58%) of all American women of childbearing age — or 40 million people — live in states hostile to abortion.

Missouri abortion clinic escort expects ‘suffering and death’ after Roe v Wade destroyed – video

When will this happen?

In most states this will happen soon. Thirteen states have abortion bans “triggered” by a Roe v Wade reversal, though the laws vary in their enforcement dates. Louisiana, for example, has a trigger law that must take effect immediately. Idaho has a trigger ban that goes into effect in 30 days.

Other states have abortion bans that predate the Roe decision, but have been unenforceable for the past five decades. Michigan has a pre-Roe ban that is currently the subject of a lawsuit.

A final group of states plans to ban abortion very early in pregnancy, often before women even know they are pregnant. One such state is Georgia, where abortion is banned after six weeks. Different states, such as Texas, have multiple bans.

In many cases, courts under state constitutions are likely to be challenged, and experts believe there will be days or weeks of chaos if states enact a ban.

Can the federal government stop this?

The most effective protection against state prohibitions on abortion is a federal law, which precedes the states. Public opinion favors such a statute – 85% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances.

Such a bill would require the support of the majority of the House of Representatives, a majority of 60 votes in the Senate and a signature from Joe Biden to be passed. A majority of members of the House of Representatives support an abortion rights statute, as does the White House.

However, Republicans will almost certainly block abortion laws in the Senate, which is split evenly with Democrats. A Democratic senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has repeatedly crossed party lines to vote against abortion rights. That leaves only 49 Democrats, far less than the support needed to pass such a measure.

To overcome the evenly divided Senate, Democrats would need to land landslide victories in the upcoming midterm elections. However, despite popular opinion in favor of abortion rights, it is unclear how the midterms could be affected by the issue.

And regardless of the outcome of the next election, Dobbs will change life in the US forever. Individuals’ lives will be irrevocably changed if people are denied reproductive health care, travel long distances or are forced to give birth.

‘This is not over’: Kamala Harris speaks out against overthrowing Roe v Wade – video

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