Wednesday, June 15, 2022
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe and Casey in the forthcoming Dobbs decision, as an anticipated, the question is what the law of abortion will then be in each of the states. Several groups have been compiling the information:
Center for Reproductive Rights, What if Roe Fell? (2019), https://reproductiverights.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/USP-2019-WIRF-Report-Web_updated.pdf (current as of 2019)
In the last decade, states have enacted over 450 restrictive abortion laws and, in 2019, numerous states enacted blatantly unconstitutional abortion bans as part of this coordinated strategy. If the Court were to limit or overturn Roe, it is likely that 24 states and three U.S. territories would attempt to prohibit abortion entirely. Abortions rights are protected by state law in only 21 states and no U.S. territories. In the remaining five states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, abortion may remain accessible but vulnerable without affirmative legal protection. With several abortion cases already seeking review at the Supreme Court and others making their way toward it, we now are facing an existential threat to reproductive rights.
Public discussion of abortion rights has focused on determining which states would prohibit or heavily restrict abortion access if allowed to do so by the Supreme Court. What if Roe Fell? provides our legal analysis of abortion law, state-by-state and territory-by- territory. We analyzed state constitutions, statutes, regulations, and court opinions in each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the five most populous U.S. territories to answer this critical question: what would happen where you live if the Supreme Court limited or overturned Roe v. Wade?
Restrictions on abortion are most often accomplished by prohibiting abortions at specific gestational limits, usually defined in state law by either a certain number of weeks post-fertilization, or from a pregnant person’s last menstrual period (LMP). Further limitations on abortions in state-level regulation include restrictions based on a pregnant person’s reason for seeking an abortion, and bans on certain types of procedures used in late-term abortions. Additionally, some abortion bans are either contingent on a court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, or have been in place prior to Roe protections.This dataset explores abortion regulations in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in effect from December 1, 2018 through October 1, 2021, as well as case law and attorney general opinions that affect the enforceability of these laws.
This dataset is a part of a suite of 16 datasets created by the Policy Surveillance Program of the Center for Public Health Law Research in collaboration with subject matter experts from Resources for Abortion Delivery (RAD), Guttmacher Institute, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), National Abortion Federation (NAF), and Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), who conceptualized and developed the Abortion Law Database.
Guttmacher Institute, An Overview of Abortion Laws, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-abortion-laws & Guttmacher Institute, State Legislation Tracker, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy
NACL Appendices on the Criminalization of Abortion, https://nacdl.org/Document/AbortioninAmericaReportAppendices