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abortion, war on women

If Roe v. Wade were overturned many states would immediately ban abortion. Is your state one of them?

January 22nd is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Despite surviving many challenges, Roe is precarious given the GOP push to get conservatives justices appointed. While the majority of americans support legal abortion, abortion is such a political weapon that Roe could theoretically be overturned, and then what? Abortion legality would revert to the states and in 15 states that would mean abortion would immediately become illegal (although some do have life/health of mother exceptions), because:

  • 13 states still have pre-Roe abortion bans on the books. The 13 state with surviving pre-Roe bans are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. 
  • 4 states have laws that will ban abortion immediately should Roe be overturned (I call these bans-at-the-ready laws). These states are Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Mississippi, a state so zealous that they need to spend tax dollars to get second abortion ban on the books in case the pre-Roe ban doesn’t stick. Maybe their new state motto should be, “Banning abortion twice, because even pro-lifers need a Plan B.”

It would also mean that in another 5 states laws banning abortion would be pushed through the legislatures because 7 states claim that if Roe gets overturned, they will enact bans (how Kansas didn’t make this list is a mystery to me):

  • Arkansas (maybe they don’t realize they have a pre-Roe ban?)
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana (their abortion ban is permanently enjoined by a court order, so at least I can understand their “logic” in getting a back up)
  • Missouri
  • North Dakota (again, state lawmakers aiming for two laws to do the job of one, if that doesn’t say tax dollars at work, I don’t know what does)
  • Ohio

Arkansas and North Dakota certainly get points for zealotry, but the idea of threatening to ban abortion to the maximum extent of the law when you already have a ban on the books expressly written for the scenario if Roe is overturned, is, well, either an egregious display of abortion-ban-screaming to raise campaign dollars or just abject stupidity. 

Roe is safe for at least another 4 years, but 20 states are poised to take action should federal protection of abortion rights go away.

And finally, just because abortion is legal, doesn’t mean it’s accessible or affordable. During the past 40 years state politicians have crafted ways to chip away at Roe by getting away with medically ludicrous laws, such as mandatory ultrasounds, the size of supply closets, or how a medical abortion is prescribed (Wisconsin, I’m looking at you). So, in some states whether Roe stands of falls may eventually not matter at all. Is your state one of them?

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “If Roe v. Wade were overturned many states would immediately ban abortion. Is your state one of them?

  1. Couple of thoughts.

    I read the actual poll that they were citing. It doesn’t mention at all who was surveyed – were these registered voters? Registered Democrats? Registered Republicans? I’m a little surprised that this information wasn’t made more clearly – during election season, network polls often play fast and loose with this and shape their polls to the result that they want. Something that stuck out to me.

    The text of the poll as well as its conclusions seem a little misleading. When asked by the poll, a plurality of respondents (41%) admitted that they did not know enough to have an opinion. According to the results in the poll after being asked the follow up question, nearly all of the undecided respondents answered that they believe that the decision should be overturned. That type of behavior en masse makes me wonder whether the question is poorly designed and introducing some bias into the results.

    In my opinion, whether or not the majority of Americans support something has nothing to do with whether or not it is constitutional. At one point in time or another, the majority of Americans supported slavery.

    Also, while there are SCOTUS justices that believe Roe v. Wade was wrongfully decided, that by no means indicates that they would be willing to overturn it due to how long it has been established law. I’m thinking here specifically of Chief Justice Roberts who has given precisely this argument on why he would not overturn the case. I listened to a debate a couple of years ago between a couple of constitutional law professors, both of which considered themselves pro-choice that believed Roe v. Wade was a wrongfully decided case. They actually differed in whether they believed it should be overturned, not because of their personal feelings about the legality or morality of abortion, but because of the fact it had been accepted law for so long.

    What I really find sinister about what MSNBC is trumpeting right now is that it very much misuses the results. It does this in a couple of ways. First, the poll has four different categories that it asks respondents to place themselves in. MSNBC misquotes the results – a majority of Americans do not believe abortion should be legal. Only 31% of respondents believe that. Another 23% believe that it should be legal most of the time. A more accurate tagline for the piece would be that 54% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal all or most of the time. The figure that 39% of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother, which I found rather surprising, went completely unmentioned by the article. Another abuse of the results is the subtle connection made between whether a person believes that the decision should be overturned and whether they think abortion should be legal or not. Those are not the same thing. There are plenty of people that believe abortion should be legal but that Roe v. Wade should be overturned and the decision returned to the states.

    Something else I noticed was the fact that no justification whatsoever was given for the claim that blacks, latinos, or women without college degrees increasingly opposed overturning that case. Indeed, given the fact that 41% of their respondents had no opinion whatsoever until prompted, I’m inclined to think that most people don’t think too often about whether certain Supreme Court decisions should be reversed.

    All sensationalizing aside – and that’s really what I take the MSNBC piece to be – I think the real result that should be drawn from the poll is that the United States is still highly divided on the issue of abortion. In my opinion, Roe v. Wade is responsible for much of that division.

    Posted by Med School Odyssey | January 22, 2013, 2:18 pm
  2. Roe is unique among Supreme Court decisions in that for Americans, once the Supreme Court speaks the issue is settled and soon forgotten. Conversation, much less protests are unheard of a year after a decision much less 40 years.

    But not Roe.

    40 years later, Roe is hotter than the day it was decided, chipped away at incessantly and has a dozens of full-time multimillion dollar funded agents seeking its deconstruction with a vigorous youthful bench. Dozens of groups working in concert yet leaderless – like dozens of mosquitoes in a humid bedroom. They are never fully defeated.

    You are correct in assessing that Roe will eventually be overturned, in one way or another.The key to understanding how Roe will be flipped is linked to the present 2nd amendment debate – tax the crap out of guns or bullets, or require a high standard of licensing, long waiting periods, high insurances, frequent inspections, all your (Dr.J) smart points made earlier comparing cars v. guns – if it flies against the 2nd amendment, it will surely fly against Roe.

    While there is a right to an abortion, there is no right to demand any service from a hospital, clinic or physician. Surely there are many physicians who choose to limit their practices to certain subsets of patients or procedures to the natural exclusion of other patients or procedures. Undoubtedly, one can not demand any physician provide any desired service simply because the patient wants it done – both the patient and physician must consent.

    I am convinced that Roe will be negated in one way or another. The final key to the deconstruction of Roe will be handed to those who oppose abortion by those who favor strict gun controls. What is successfully implemented for gun control will be successfully applied to Roe.

    Posted by danielfkane | January 22, 2013, 4:47 pm
  3. Even without overturning Roe, legal abortion will soon be unavailable in Mississippi, because they passed a law requiring any doctor who performs abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital, and every doctor at the only remaining abortion provider in Mississippi failed to obtain admitting privileges; none of the hospitals they tried would consider it. So they’ll be closing their doors real soon now. Bad news for a lot of poor women in Mississippi. And I think a lot of other GOP-controlled states will be happy to replicate the result, if it works.

    Posted by Tualha | January 25, 2013, 11:16 am
  4. Texas would definitely be a state that banned abortion.

    Voices for Choice

    http://www.prch.org/physicians-voices-voices-choice

    The 25-minute documentary, produced in 2003, provides firsthand accounts of the suffering before abortion was legalized, from doctors and advocates who helped as many women as they could obtain safe care before Roe v. Wade.

    Posted by Oubli | January 27, 2013, 2:34 pm

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