Pro-life protesters hold placards in front of the US Supreme Court as they await the Court’s decision on the legality of a Republican-backed Louisiana law imposing restrictions on doctors. abortion doctor in Washington, USA, June 22, 2020.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters
Several US states immediately banned abortion on Friday following a Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.
The high court’s decision ended half a century of constitutionally protected abortion rights, meaning states will now be allowed to regulate the procedure. At least 13 states have laws banning abortions immediately or soon to do so.
The abortion bans in Louisiana, Missouri, Kentucky and South Dakota are effective immediately. The law makes abortion a felony punishable by years in prison. However, women cannot be prosecuted for having an abortion, according to the text of the law.
In Louisiana, anyone who performs an abortion will face one to 10 years in prison with exceptions for doctors to save the mother’s life, terminate an ectopic pregnancy or remove a fetus that no longer exists. living. It makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards signed the legislation earlier this week.
In Missouri, anyone who has an abortion faces five to 15 years in prison, unless the procedure is done in a medical emergency.
In Kentucky, anyone who performs an abortion will face one to five years in prison. The law makes exceptions for saving the mother’s life or for procedures performed by a doctor that result in the unintended termination of a pregnancy. It makes no exceptions for rape or incest. Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, condemned the law as extreme.
Any person who performs an abortion in South Dakota now faces two years in prison, unless procedures are taken to protect the mother’s life. It also makes no exceptions for rape and incest.
Idaho, Tennessee and Texas will implement a 30-day ban on abortion, according to the text of the law. The abortion ban in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming went into effect after the attorney general, the governor, or some legislature confirmed that the Supreme Court had sanctioned Roe.
On Friday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department would protect women traveling from states with a ban to having abortions in states where the procedure is legal.
“Few rights are more focused on personal freedom than control of one’s own body,” says Garland. The Department of Justice will use every tool at our disposal to protect reproductive freedom. And we will not waver from this Department’s established responsibility to protect the civil rights of all Americans. “
Countries that ban abortion also ban the use of abortion pills to end a pregnancy. However, women can’t be punished for having abortions under the law, which means many can look to overseas online pharmacies to get their medicine delivered to their door.
The abortion pill mifepristone is approved in the United States to terminate a pregnancy before the 10th week of pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration first approved the drug in 2000, but requires women to come in to pick it up under a program that monitors some drugs for safety risks. Abortion rights advocates fiercely criticize the FDA’s requirements, arguing that mifepristone has a long and proven track record as a safe and effective way to end an early pregnancy.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the FDA temporarily lifted the requirement that women be given the pill directly. In December, the agency permanently ended the in-person requirement, which would allow certified pharmacies in the US to fill and mail prescriptions.
Garland said states cannot ban mifepristone based on disagreements with the FDA’s assessment that the drug is safe and effective. US Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said his department would use “every lever” to protect access to abortion care including the pill.
Medical abortions are becoming increasingly common in the U.S. More than half of all abortions in the U.S. are by medication, according to a Guttmacher Institute survey of all prominent U.S. providers.
Although state bans do not punish women for abortion, there are cases where people are reported to the authorities for trying to have an abortion.
In April, a woman in South Texas charged with murder after allegedly having an abortion voluntarily. Ultimate District Attorney dismiss the indictmentexplicitly stated that she “cannot and should not be prosecuted for the charges against her.”