Surely you have heard that the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that a woman’s right to reproductive privacy does not exist under the federal constitution.
This means that every state is able to criminalize abortion regardless of federal law.
What is the status of state legislation regarding the criminalization of abortion?
In Illinois, a fetus can be aborted until it is viable; thereafter, only if the woman’s health is in danger. Physicians and other health care providers are immune from civil or criminal liability for failure to perform a health care service contrary to their conscience (i.e. the practice of abortions). Medicaid and Illinois-based private health insurers must cover abortions if pregnancy-related care is offered as part of their coverage.
Like Illinois, a number of states allow abortion until the fetus is viable and then allow it only if the woman’s health is at risk: California, Connecticut, Delaware , Hawaii, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota. Rhode Island, Washington, and Virginia permit abortions during the second trimester and thereafter only to protect the woman’s health or if the fetus is from reported rape or incest or a disabling abnormality.
Until end of term: Alaska, Colorado, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and District of Columbia.
A number of states use a certain number of gestational weeks before restrictions set in (again, with an exception after that if the woman’s life is in danger or the fetus becomes non-viable or is abnormal): Massachusetts, New York, Nevada, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are all 24 weeks; Kansas and Nebraska 22 weeks; Indiana, Montana and North Carolina 20 weeks; Utah is 18 (excluding harm to wife or reported rape or incest); Arizona and Florida 15; and Georgia 6.
Iowa had a court-imposed law that would ban after six weeks. But that injunction is likely out the window after Roe’s SCOTUS knockdown.
Total bans, except to protect the health of the woman, or if the pregnancy is caused by reported rape or incest: Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming,
Banned from Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas after heartbeat detected.
Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri have, and the Louisiana legislature is working on it, a total ban with no exceptions other than to save the woman’s life. Thus, rape or incest are not exceptions.
Wisconsin: Chaos. There is a 19th century law banning abortion altogether, but new laws passed during the Roe period allow viability abortions. A lawsuit has been filed to determine whether the new laws apply.
In many states with severe restrictions, there is also legal chaos in these Republican-led legislatures’ frantic attempt to ban abortion. Statutory trigger events may be unconstitutionally vague or violate the separation of powers under their own state constitutions.
SCOTUS’ reversal of a 50-year-old federal constitutional right to reproductive privacy has big implications.
The judge who wrote the Roe-aborting decision, Samuel Alito, assures the reader that this decision will not affect other individual rights under the Constitution.
But the conservative-dominated SCOTUS tribunal was a toppling tidal wave of other long-tracked laws.
Their insurance doesn’t cover anything.
Brett Kepley is an attorney with Land of Lincoln Legal Aid Inc. Send your questions to The Law Q&A, 302 N. First St., Champaign, IL 61820.