What states have stopped offering elective abortions and which are the most restrictive?
States have already implemented restrictive abortion bans in light of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Which have gone into effect?
After the US Supreme Court overruled the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, several states have stopped performing abortions. In states that had implemented so called “trigger laws,” it remains unclear whether or not a patient or provider could be charged with a crime.
Determining which law is the most restrictive requires answering various questions including:
So far the states that have moved to implement bans on abortion do not allow for criminal charges to be brought against those who seek abortion, just the providers. It is unclear whether this will remain the case or if the laws will be amended.
Which states have already banned abortion?
After the Supreme Court announced its decision to overturn Roe, Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas Attorney General certified the state’s trigger law, effectively banning all abortions except in cases where the life of the mother is at risk.
The state’s legislature approved a trigger law in 2019 that would effectively ban abortion in the case Roe was overturned.
There is only one abortion clinic in the state and they have stopped offering the service as the legality is unclear. The law does create an exception when the life of the mother is at risk, but that “the physician shall make reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of the [fetus].”
The state’s governor John Edwards updated a trigger law that has been on the books since 2006. The changes made Gov. Edward create exceptions for infant fatalities and ectopic pregnancies. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. Similar to the other states, the person receiving the abortion cannot be prosecuted.
As of Monday 27 June, abortions are expected to resume after a legal challenge to the trigger law was taken up by a judge in the state.
Like Arkansas the state’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt has certified a legal opinion that allowed the state’s 2019 trigger law to go into effect. In a statement describing the opinion, Schmitt said that the Supreme Court’s ruling returned the state to its “pro-life roots” dating back to its first ban on abortion in 1825.
The trigger law in Oklahoma went into effect on 24 June and is one of the most restrictive in the country.
It allows the states residents to file civil court cases against abortion providers and those who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise.” Those who even “intend to engage” can also be sued. The provider could be forced to pay up to $10,000 for each abortion they have conducted as well as damages for “if the plaintiff has suffered harm from the defendant’s conduct, including but not limited to loss of consortium and emotional distress.” This aspect is quite cruel when considering the emotional distress that can be brought on by forcing someone to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth. However, if a patient seeks an abortion, a civil suit can not be filed against them.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has announced that the state’s heartbeat bill will go into effect. The bill is widely criticized by pro-choice activists as it mandate an abortion provider to conduct an intravaginial ultrasound and “during the performance of the ultrasound, display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view the images;” providers must also, provide a written description of the images and the heartbeat if present. These requirements are viewed as a way to discourage abortion. Once a fetal heartbeat is detected, an abortion can not longer be induced.
South Dakota enacted a trigger law in 2005 that went into effect after the Supreme Court’s ruling. The bill prohibits abortion and creates penalties for providers and gives the state the “authority to regulate or prohibit abortion at all stages of pregnancy.”
Current Gov. Kristi Noem has tried to soften the blow to the fundemental human rights of women by saying that the state will offer resources to help those in need “navigate pregnancy.”
The final state has seen their abortion ban go into effect is Utah. When the announcement was made, a state official was quoted saying that she trusted women to regulate their “intake of semen.” This notion is false and is a blatant show of disrespect to people who have been impregnated after being raped.
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