What is happening with abortion laws now?

A US Supreme Court draft was recently leaked, with an opinion on abortion leaning toward overruling the Roe vs Wade trial ruling made 49 years ago. This decision, if made, could have serious consequences for all women in the US.

May 24, 2022

Justice Samual Alito recently drafted an opinion on Roe vs Wade and other abortion cases and laws that, if the opinions were shared amongst other court members, would effectively overturn Roe vs Wade. The decision was leaked to the United States public through Politico in May 2022 and is not final; it could change before the final ruling is released later this year.

“‘We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,’” Alito said in his opinion. “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’”

Alito argued in his draft that, although the Roe vs Wade ruling in 1973 legalized abortion, it should be illegal and is not protected specifically in the United States Constitution.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito said in his draft. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives. “The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations, upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.”

Roe vs Wade made it legal for all women to get a choice on whether or not to have an abortion.

It was their choice. Their own decision to make depending upon their own personal views on abortion. 

Overturning Roe vs Wade would not automatically make abortion illegal. It would, however, give individual state governments the power to make their own laws regarding abortion. 

Currently, 26 states are already expected to ban abortion in a post-Roe vs Wade America. According to Guttmacher, nearly 40 million reproductive age women live in these states.

Trigger laws’ are laws that are unenforceable, but may gain enforceability if a certain circumstance changes.

Thirteen states already have trigger laws regarding abortion that, if Roe vs Wade is overturned, would make abortion illegal except to save the mother’s life according to CNN.

Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Arkansas currently have some of the most restrictive policies on abortions, whether it be for the length of time considered legal, severity of trigger laws currently in place, or availability of abortion clinics.

As of 2021, abortion in Texas is only legal until a heartbeat can be detected on a fetus. According to Planned Parenthood, this can come as early as six weeks through a pregnancy. 

Two weeks after a woman’s missed period.

Oftentimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant.

It is nearly impossible for women to obtain an abortion that fast, especially if they do not even know they are pregnant. State laws that make abortion illegal that early plan to, if Roe vs Wade is overturned, ban abortions. Restricting and banning women from getting an abortion is restricting women from a right to choose what to do with their bodies.

Texas also passed a law in 2021, the Texas House Bill 1280, that bans abortion completely and makes any form of post-conception birth control a felony 30 days after Roe vs Wade is overturned.

In Kansas, abortion is legal until 22 weeks post-conception.

The Value Them Both petition and amendment in Kansas urges people to ‘vote yes’ to ‘value them both’ on August 2, 2022, when there will be a ballot to decide the Kansas policy for abortion as decided by Kansas residents.

According to BallotPedia, “A ‘yes’ vote supports amending the Kansas Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion and that the state legislature has the authority to pass laws regarding abortion.”

If the results show that a majority of voting-age Kansans wish to reform the current abortion policy in Kansas, additional restrictions or bans could be placed on abortions in the state. If a majority show that the state would rather keep the current abortion laws that make Kansas a safe place for abortions not only for residents, but also from surrounding states with more strict current restrictions and trigger laws, current policies in Kansas will stay the same whether Roe vs Wade is overturned or not.

If there are more ‘yes’ votes, abortion could be banned in Kansas for teens and adults seeking them.

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