On Wednesday, May 25, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law the most restrictive abortion ban in the country. The state law bans abortion from the point of fertilization, with exceptions for pregnancies resulting from sexual assault by a family member or other perpetrator, or if the life of the pregnant person is at stake.
Oklahoma is only the second state to pass such a law since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, which prohibited state governments from outlawing abortions during the first trimester. Texas enacted a similar law on Sept. 1, 2021. The law, which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks, went into effect just as the U.S. Supreme Court denied an emergency motion to halt it – a clear indicator of where things are headed.
The recent draft opinion leak indicates the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision altogether, which would leave each state free to determine its own abortion legislation.
To determine states where abortion will likely be outlawed, 24/7 Wall St. looked at data from the Guttmacher Institute. Twenty-two states already have laws on the books or constitutional amendments in place that mean they are certain to attempt to ban abortion, while four more are very likely to ban it as soon as possible. Many of these states are also the worst states for women.
As some liberal states rush to pass legislation protecting the right to abortion and protecting providers who perform abortions on residents of states where it may be illegal, other states move to set up restrictive laws that could take effect as soon as Roe is overturned. Thirteen states already have such laws – known as trigger laws – that are poised to ban or limit abortion immediately or shortly after a Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Eleven states have passed six-week bans – similar to the Texas Heartbeat Act – that are currently not in effect due to court orders but could take precedence if the Supreme Court releases a decision. Several states also have pre-Roe bans, laws still on the books from the before the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade.
While four states, including Tennessee and Louisiana, have constitutional amendments that explicitly bar the right to abortion, high courts in Florida and Montana have previously determined that their state constitutions protect the right to abortion. Despite this, both states have managed to approve bans on abortion before the point of fetal viability.
Five states, including Arizona and West Virginia, still have laws on the books that predate Roe v. Wade – and those laws could easily be enforced again. Here are the most ridiculous laws still on the books around the country.
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