Abortionists fear trigger laws that make procedure illegal when Roe falls


  • January 3, 2022
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Amid the arguments going on at the U.S. Supreme Court over a Mississippi case that could end up overturning Roe, the 1973 opinion that created the "right" to abortion, abortion advocates are worried that the procedures soon could be totally illegal.

And that's what lawmakers in at least one state say they intend.

The East Idaho News reports that one Idaho law already on the books makes abortion a felony if Roe is overturned.

Other states would be affected, too.

NPR reported recently that there are a number of states with "trigger laws" that will take effect if Roe is struck down, as many expect.

It was, after all, the author of that opinion, Harry Blackmun, who noted that if the personhood of the unborn ever was confirmed, the Constitution would protect that person, not allow abortion.

And science has documented so much more detail about life before birth than was cited in the 1973 opinion.

NPR reported more than 20 states have those "trigger laws" that would either ban outright or significantly limit abortion.

Radio program reporter Sarah McCammon explained out they work.

"They're designed by abortion rights opponents to get out in front of any major Supreme Court decision on abortion that might allow abortion to be banned or heavily restricted. Elizabeth Nash is a state policy analyst with the Guttmacher Institute, which is a research group that supports abortion rights," she said.

Nash said the laws are legislation that is in place, and that would ban abortion on the demise of Roe.

McCammon noted the pro-abortion Guttmacher organization has listed 21 states that now have "some kind of law on the books that would ban most or all abortions."

In the report, Steve Aden, of Americans United for Life, said it perhaps is better to take a direct approach and approve laws that are as "strenuous and durable constitutionally as they possibly can be."

The Insider reports there actually are about 12 states where, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe in its coming Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization opinion, would withdraw all federal endorsement for abortion procedures, leaving the issue entirely to the states.

The states include Mississippi, which adopted its ban in 2007 and has an exception only for cases of medical emergencies in which the mother's life is at risk, and rape; Texas, which banns all abortions; Idaho, which adopted a trigger law banning abortions in 2020, allowing exceptions only for rape and incest; and Arkansas, which has had a trigger ban since 2019.

Other states are Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah.

East Idaho News reported that the circumstances will develop when the Supreme Court's ruling is released, and exactly what it says. Then state courts may have to determine the applications.

At issue on the national level are Mississippi's law, which bans abortion after 15 weeks, and a Texas law that bans abortions at the point a heartbeat can be detected.

Other abortion restrictions are in the works in several states, too.

One concept that is spreading is Texas' idea to allow individuals, through civil cases, to enforce abortion restrictions.

Texas allows anyone — including people outside of the state — to bring a lawsuit over abortion, naming those who did the abortion, or assisted, to be found liable.

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