Several U.S. states immediately ban abortion after Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

Pro-life demonstrators hold signs in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as they await its decision on the legality of a Republican-backed Louisiana law that imposes restrictions on abortion doctors in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2020.

Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

Several U.S. states immediately banned abortion on Friday in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, dividing the nation between jurisdictions where the procedure is legal and where it is outlawed.

The high court’s decision ended a half-century of constitutionally protected abortion rights, which means that states will now be allowed to regulate the procedure.

At least 13 states have laws on the books that either ban abortion immediately or will do so soon.

Abortion bans in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Dakota went into immediate effect. The laws make performing an abortion a felony punishable by yearslong prison sentences. They do not make exceptions for rape or incest. However, women cannot be prosecuted for receiving an abortion under the laws.

On the West Coast, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington vowed to expand access to abortion and protect women who come to their states in need of the procedure.

Read the reactions to Roe v. Wade being overturned

Anyone who performs an abortion in Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma faces 10 years in prison unless the procedure is done to save the life of the pregnant woman. Arkansas and Louisiana also make exceptions for physicians to end ectopic pregnancies or treat miscarriages.

In Missouri, anyone who performs an abortion would face up to 15 year jail sentence, unless the procedure is done in the case of a medical emergency.

Pro-choice supporters and staff of Planned Parenthood hold a rally outside the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center in St. Louis, Missouri, May 31, 2019, the last location in the state performing abortions.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

In Kentucky, anyone who performs an abortion would face up to five years in prison. The law makes exceptions to save the life of the pregnant woman or procedures by physicians that result in the unintentional end of a pregnancy. Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, condemned the law as extremist.

Any person who performs an abortion in South Dakota now faces up to two years in prison, unless the procedure is performed to protect the life of the mother.

Idaho, Tennessee and Texas will implement abortion bans in 30 days, according to the text of the laws. Abortion bans in Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming go into effect after the attorney general, governor or certain legislative bodies certify that the Supreme Court has done away with Roe.

On Friday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Department of Justice will protect women who travel from states with bans to receive abortions in states where the procedure is legal.

“Few rights are more central to individual freedom than the right to control one’s own body, Garland said. “The Justice Department will use every tool at our disposal to protect reproductive freedom. And we will not waver from this Department’s founding responsibility to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”

Abortion pill next flashpoint

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