If Roe v. Wade Were Overturned Today, Over 70 Million Women and Girls In More than Half the Country Would be Impacted
New York, NY If the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade today, millions of women in their childbearing years in more than half of the country could lose their right to choose abortion within a year’s time, some just in a matter of weeks. According to a new study published by the Center for Reproductive Rights, What If Roe Fell?, only 20 states would likely protect women against the enforcement of abortion bans. These states currently have legal protections in place, friendly legislatures or a combination of the two.Meanwhile, women in 30 states remain vulnerable. Many have pre-Roe abortion bans on the books that can be revived. In others, their legislatures’ past activity or current composition has proven particularly hostile to abortion. And in some cases, more than one factor is at play.What If Roe Fell? is the first detailed state-by-state legal analysis of what would happen after a Roe reversal. While the 1973 Supreme Court decision currently provides women with the constitutionally protected right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, the high Court is closely divided on the issue, as evidenced by recent rulings. Any changes in the Court’s makeup could shift the current balance. Should those changes occur and Roe is, in fact, overruled, abortion would likely become a state law issue.The Center for Reproductive Rights conducted a state-by-state review of existing state laws, state constitutions and state legislatures. The study’s findings refute the false, but often voiced notion that relatively few states would outlaw abortion if Roe were overturned.”Anyone who thinks abortion will still be legal in most states across this country after a Roe reversal hasn’t been paying attention,” said Nancy Northup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “This is a wake-up call to women and men who support the right to have an abortion – in a relatively short period of time, women in more than half the country are in jeopardy of losing their right to choose.”According to What If Roe Fell?, many states already have pre-Roe abortion bans on the books that could be enforced after a Roe reversal. For example, Michigan’s ban was blocked by the courts shortly after the Roe decision. But the day after Roe falls, Michigan officials could rush to court to lift the injunction, and in just a matter of days, begin enforcing the law. Doctors who performed abortions would be felons.Alabama also has a pre-Roe abortion ban on the books, but unlike Michigan, it has never been enjoined by the courts. As a result, officials could begin enforcing the old law without going through the courts at all, immediately making abortion illegal in the state.Also according to the report, the day after a Roe reversal, women seeking an abortion in states like Ohio may not have much time to obtain one. There’s no pre-Roe ban on the books in the state, but there aren’t any state constitutional or statutory protections of abortion rights either. The state has already passed numerous laws regulating abortion. And both the legislature and the governor are anti-choice. There’s likely to be a rush to bring legislation banning abortion to the governor’s desk and it will likely pass.Here is the breakdown of the states and the level of risk for women to lose their abortion rights:21 States at High Risk: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.9 states at Middle Risk: Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.20 states Likely Protected: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.Order or download the report What If Roe Fell?