If Roe Fell
In 1973, the Supreme Court legalized abortion. In 2018, women’s reproductive rights hang by a thread.
Handpicked by the anti-abortion Federalist society, Brett Kavanaugh is the Justice anti-abortion activists have been waiting for. Just this year, he tried to block a 17-year-old detainee’s abortion, saying the government has “interests in favoring fetal life.” With Kavanaugh on the bench, the Court will finally have the conservative majority it needs to overturn Roe v. Wade.
If Roe is reversed, the right to privacy—the right for women to make their own decisions on abortion and birth control—will be gone. In other words, male-dominated state legislatures and Congress will be able to criminalize abortion and sentence doctors, nurses and women to jail, or worse.
Two other landmark Supreme Court cases (Griswold v. Connecticut and Eisenstadt v. Baird), both of which made birth control legal and accessible nationwide through the right to privacy, would also be at stake.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, pre-Roe laws banning abortion in specific states or laws that would trigger state-wide abortion bans could go into effect. The Center for Reproductive Rights warns that 22 states, mostly in the South and Midwest, could immediately ban the right to abortion and that women in some 10 other states and the District of Columbia are also at risk of losing the right to abortion. That means abortion access would remain in only 18 states, primarily on the east and west coasts of the United States, because of current laws.
Even if Roe is not reversed outright, a Trump Court, with Kavanaugh on the bench, could allow so many abortion restrictions that Roe would be essentially gutted. His record of rubber-stamping abortion restrictions and barriers is a dark sign as states wage lawsuits to institute everything from 8 week bans to outlawing a common abortion procedure performed after 11 weeks. By redefining what constitutes as an “undue burden” for women seeking abortion care, states may once again be able to criminalize abortion, ban the procedure earlier and earlier in pregnancy, or make abortion impossible to obtain lawfully.
In each state, the right to abortion would be:
At Highest Risk of Loss
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
At Risk of Loss
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
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