The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. The ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states, although the timing of those laws taking effect varies.
Some Republican-led states will ban or severely limit abortion immediately, while other restrictions will take effect later. At least one state, Texas, is waiting until after the Supreme Court issues its formal judgment in the case, which is separate from the opinion issued Friday and could take about a month.
In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.
Here is an overview of abortion legislation and the expected impact of the court’s decision in every state.
Political control: Alabama has a Republican-controlled legislature and a Republican governor who want to ban or restrict access to abortions.
Background: In 2019, Alabama lawmakers approved what was then the most stringent abortion ban in the country, making it a felony to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy with no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. The only exception would be when the woman’s health was at serious risk. A federal judge issued an injunction, under the precedent of Roe v. Wade, blocking the state from enforcing the law. In 2018, voters agreed to amend the Alabama Constitution to say the state recognizes the “rights of unborn children” and “does not protect the right to an abortion or require the funding of abortion.” A 1951 law made it a crime, punishable by up to 12 months in prison, to induce an abortion, unless it is done to preserve the life or health of the mother.
Effect of Supreme Court ruling: Alabama’s three abortion clinics on Friday stopped providing abortions because of concerns of prosecution under the 1951 law, clinic owners and representatives said. Alabama Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, a vocal critic of Roe, said abortion providers operating in violation of state law, ”should immediately cease and desist operations.” He did not mention the 1951 law but said all laws not enjoined by the courts would be enforced. Alabama on Friday asked a court, citing the new Supreme Court decision, to dissolve the injunction blocking enforcement of the 2019 abortion ban. Marshall said the state would also move to lift other injunctions that blocked previous attempts to implement abortion restrictions, including a ban on abortion clinics near schools and a ban on the most common method for second trimester abortions.
What’s next: Some Republican lawmakers have said they would like to see the state replace the 2019 ban with a slightly less stringent bill that would allow exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Proponents said the 2019 ban was deliberately strict in the hopes of sparking a court challenge to Roe.
Political control: Republicans currently hold a majority of seats in the state Legislature, but the House is controlled by a bipartisan coalition composed largely of Democrats. Fifty-nine of the Legislature’s 60 seats are up for election this year. Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican who believes life begins at conception, is seeking reelection.
Background: The Alaska Supreme Court has interpreted the right to privacy in the state constitution as encompassing abortion rights.
Effect of Supreme Court ruling: The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision is not expected to immediately affect abortion rights in Alaska, given the existing precedent in the state.
Political control: Both legislative chambers are controlled by Republicans, who regularly pass abortion restrictions that for the past eight sessions have been quickly signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, an abortion opponent.
Background: Arizona law allows abortion through about 22 weeks, but the Legislature passed a 15-week abortion ban in March mirroring the Mississippi law that was contested before the U.S. Supreme Court. It will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns, which is expected Friday. Current restrictions include bans on abortions because of gender and a 2021 law that makes it a felony for a doctor to terminate a pregnancy because the child has a survivable genetic abnormality. Arizona also has a pre-statehood law still on the books that would ban all abortions, although it has not been enforced since Roe was decided.