Abortion bans go into effect across the US

Ten states have already made procedure illegal, while others are set to enact similar measures

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Abortion has been effectively banned in at least 10 US states since the Supreme Court last week overturned Roe v Wade, ending the constitutional right to the procedure.

The Supreme Court's historic ruling in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health gives individual states the authority to pass laws banning abortion.

Thirteen states had so-called trigger laws that, once Roe was overturned, would go into effect immediately, by certification or after a waiting period.

Missouri became the first state in the US to ban abortion after the high court's decision. Arkansas, Kentucky, South Dakota and Utah soon followed. Ohio announced a ban on abortions after six weeks.

Louisiana's trigger ban on abortions was temporarily blocked by a state judge on Monday in response to a lawsuit filed by the Centre for Reproductive Rights on behalf of an abortion clinic.

Meanwhile, Alabama's attorney general said the state would begin enforcing a law passed in 2019 that criminalises abortions at any stage of pregnancy. Abortion providers would face penalties from 10 to 99 years, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Texas, which already has a six-week ban in effect, also has a trigger law that will make the procedure illegal 30 days after Roe was overturned. Under the “Heartbeat Act”, the state awards a $10,000 “bounty” to people who successfully file a lawsuit against those who perform or abet an abortion.

States that did not have trigger laws had pre-Roe bans that could now be in effect. In Wisconsin, a state law dating back to 1849 is now in effect that bans abortions unless the procedure is performed to save the life of the mother.

A West Virginia law dating back to 1882 makes it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion. Citing the law, the Women's Health Centre of West Virginia announced on Facebook it “has been forced to stop providing abortion care immediately”.

It was unknown to what extent Wisconsin and West Virginia's bans were enforced.

More states are expected to enact bans, with Idaho, North Dakota, Wyoming, Mississippi and Tennessee all having trigger laws set to go in effect within 30 days that would ban most or all abortions.

Bans in South Carolina and Georgia — which were previously blocked or struck down by courts — are expected to go into effect in the weeks or months following the Supreme Court's ruling.

And states that have yet to pass similar measures have signalled their intent to do so. Politicians in Indiana are expected to adopt anti-abortion laws during a special session in July.

And in Virginia, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin is pushing the state legislature to ban abortions after 15 weeks.

Updated: June 27, 2022, 7:40 PM
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