13 states have 'trigger' laws that would automatically outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

  • Thirteen states have "trigger" laws that would ban nearly all abortions if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

  • A Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy took effect last year.

  • The Supreme Court is due to consider a major abortion case that could upend Roe v. Wade.

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There are currently 13 US states with so-called trigger laws that would ban all or nearly all abortions if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide.

Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming all have post-Roe laws that would immediately take effect if Roe falls, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion rights organization that compiles data on reproductive health.

Roe v. Wade has been thrust into the national spotlight after a leak Monday of a Supreme Court draft opinion on a case considering the constitutionality of abortion suggested that it may be upended.

The opinion is not final and judges can still change their minds. The final decision is to be expected sometime in June.

The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, concerns a Mississippi law that would ban nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The Center for Reproductive Rights estimates that 34 states and five territories could cease to protect abortion rights if Roe is thrown out.

A Texas anti-abortion law, one of the most restrictive in the nation, took effect at the end of August. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the law on May 19, which bans abortions after six weeks — with no exception for rape or incest — despite many people being unaware they are pregnant at that time.

After 24 hours of the law being in place, the Supreme Court declined a request from abortion providers to block it. In a 5-4 vote, Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas overruled the dissenting votes cast by Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

The court's majority argued in an unsigned opinion that the ruling was a technical one and not based on the substance of the law, which could still be legally challenged.

"In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas's law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts," the justices wrote.

Legal experts have said the law already makes Roe moot in Texas. In June 2021, Abbott signed a trigger bill into law.

President Joe Biden on Thursday called the Supreme Court's decision "an unprecedented assault on a woman's constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade."

The Supreme Court's order has sparked a wave of Republican-led states looking toward similar restrictions that threaten access to abortion.

Oklahoma implemented a copy-cat Texas-style ban on abortion while Florida barred the procedure after 15 weeks from the prior law of 24 weeks.

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