What Would Happen if States Could Outlaw Abortion?

Posted on April 19, 2012

Blog for Choice, April 19, 2012 by Thomas

Are you okay with allowing nearly half of the states in the Union to ban abortion care?

The reason we’re asking is that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee brought it up this week.

Anti-choice former Gov. Mitt Romney expressed his desire to see Roe v. Wade overturned:

I would love the Supreme Court to say, “Let’s send this back to the states.” Rather than having a federal mandate through Roe v. Wade, let the states again consider this issue state by state.

Sen. John McCain made a similar, “let the states decide” argument in 2008. It’s an old line from anti-choice politicians.

It’s no big deal if the Supreme Court overrules nearly 40 years of jurisprudence that says a woman has a fundamental, constitutional right to choose safe, legal abortion care, these politicians say. The issue would just go to the states.

But what would it mean if states got to consider the issue of a woman’s right to choose, “state by state?”

It would mean very bad news for women throughout the nation.

If Roe v. Wade were overturned today, women could lose the right to legal abortion immediately in 17 states.

Near Total Bans.png

Based on analysis of current state laws and the hostile legislative landscape, here is how it could happen:

Fifteen states have near-total bans on abortion already on the books that aren’t in effect because they are unconstitutional. Bans in the following states may become enforceable if Roe falls: AL, AZ, AR, CO, DE, LA, MA, MI, MS, NM, OK, UT, VT, WV, and WI.

Four states have laws that would impose near-total criminal bans on abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade (sometimes known as “trigger” bans): LA, MS, ND, and SD.

That brings the numbers of states where abortion becomes illegal to 17. (Louisiana and Mississippi are included in both groups.)

But we shouldn’t stop there. Fifteen states currently have anti-choice legislatures and governors that would likely outlaw abortion if Roe falls: AL, AZ, GA, ID, LA, MI, MS, NE, ND, OH, OK, SD, TX, UT, and WI.

Five of these states, GA, ID, NE, OH, and TX, are not in the two previous categories.

So, in total, there are 22 states where choice is at risk if Roe is overturned.

That’s 44 percent of the states.

Put simply, overturning Roe v. Wade would mean that a woman’s personal, private medical decisions would be up to guys like the gyno-governors, rather than a woman and her doctor.

Just something to consider the next time you hear Gov. Romney or other anti-choice politicians throw around the “let the states decide” line.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Posted in: United States