Several States Have “Trigger” Laws to Ban Abortions if Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade

A majority of U.S. states could immediately or in short order ban abortion procedures in the event the Supreme Court issues a ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Thirteen states have bans set to go into force immediately and another 13 are poised to enact bans soon thereafter.

The leak earlier this week of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito indicates that Roe could be soon reversed.

The court confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion after the leak, and many legal analysts believe it was done in a last-ditch effort to influence one or more justices on the court to change their votes on the case.

A press release issued by Chief Justice John Roberts indicates that he has instructed the Supreme Court Marshal to begin a full investigation into the unprecedented leak of the draft opinion. The release stressed that the draft opinion is not final and does not necessarily reflect what the decision of the full court will be.

Roberts said that the leak will not “undermine the integrity” of the court and said that court personnel have an “exemplary and important tradition” of upholding the confidentiality needed for the judicial process to operate fairly and impartially. He described the leak as a “singular and egregious breach of that trust.”

If the court issues a final ruliing that is consistent with the draft and overturns Roe, the issue of abortion regulation will be returned to each state to handle through its legislature.

The 13 states with “trigger laws” are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Each of those states has already enacted legislation that will become effective if and when the Supreme Court issues an order overturning Roe.

Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, West Virginia, and Wisconsin all have laws still in place that were enacted before the 1973 decision in Roe. Researchers indicate that those five states could reinstate their existing laws if Roe is overturned.

Four states have laws in place banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Those laws are likely unconstitutional according to Roe but could be quickly revised if the case is reversed. Those states are Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and South Carolina.

Finally, currently pending legislation in Florida, Indiana, Montana and Nebraska that would severly restrict or ban abortions is likely to be enacted in the event Roe is overturned.

New York is an example of the approach many Democrat-controlled states will take. It passed a bill in 2018 that codifies the holding of Roe in the state.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser issued a press release after the leak saying the pro-life group will “wholeheartedly applaud” the final decision if it is consistent with the draft opinion. She added that Americans have the right to act through their locally elected officials to enact laws that “protect unborn children and honor women.”