What would happen if Roe v. Wade were overturned

If the Supreme Court overturns the 1973 precedent, the legality of abortion will be left to individual states. Many have already made their intentions clear.

State abortion policy

absent Roe v. Wade

Post-Roe laws that would ban or restrict

some or all abortions

“Trigger” law that would ban all or nearly

all abortions

Unenforced pre-Roe ban on abortions

Laws that explicitly protect abortion

No explicit laws

WA

VT

ME

ND

OR

MA

ID

WI

NY

SD

RI

MI

WY

CT

IA

NV

NJ

OH

IL

UT

CO

WV

DE

CA

MO

KY

DC

NC

TN

OK

AZ

MD

SC

AR

MS

AL

GA

LA

TX

HI

Note: Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma have pre-Roe bans and post-Roe trigger laws. Alabama has a pre-Roe ban and post-Roe restrictions.

State abortion policy absent Roe v. Wade

Post-Roe laws that would ban

or restrict some or all abortions

Unenforced pre-Roe

ban on abortions

“Trigger” law that would ban

all or nearly all abortions

Laws that explicitly

protect abortion

No explicit laws

WA

VT

ME

ND

OR

MA

ID

WI

NY

SD

RI

MI

WY

CT

IA

NJ

NV

DE

OH

IL

UT

DC

WV

CO

MD

CA

MO

KY

NC

TN

OK

AZ

SC

AR

GA

AL

MS

LA

TX

HI

Note: Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma have pre-Roe bans and post-Roe trigger laws. Alabama has a pre-Roe ban and post-Roe restrictions.

State abortion policy absent Roe v. Wade

“Trigger” law that would

ban all or nearly all abortions

Post-Roe laws that would ban or

restrict some or all abortions

Unenforced pre-Roe

ban on abortions

Laws that explicitly

protect abortion

No explicit

laws

WASH.

MAINE

N.D.

VT.

ORE.

N.Y.

IDAHO

S.D.

MASS.

WIS.

R.I.

CONN.

MICH.

WYO.

IOWA

N.J.

NEV.

DEL.

OHIO

ILL.

D.C.

UTAH

MD.

W.VA.

COLo.

CALIF.

MO.

KY.

N.C.

TENN.

ARIZ.

OKLA.

ARK.

S.C.

ALA.

GA.

MISS.

LA.

TEXAS

HAWAII

Note: Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma have pre-Roe bans and post-Roe trigger laws. Alabama has a pre-Roe ban and post-Roe restrictions.

State abortion policy absent Roe v. Wade

“Trigger” law that would

ban all or nearly all abortions

Post-Roe laws that would ban or

restrict some or all abortions

Unenforced pre-Roe

ban on abortions

Laws that explicitly

protect abortion

No explicit

laws

WASH.

MAINE

N.D.

VT.

ORE.

IDAHO

WIS.

N.Y.

MASS.

S.D.

R.I.

CONN.

MICH.

Wyo.

IOWA

N.J.

NEV.

DEL.

OHIO

ILL.

D.C.

UTAH

MD.

W.VA.

COLo.

CALIF.

MO.

KY.

N.C.

TENN.

OKLA.

ARIZ.

ARK.

S.C.

GA.

ALA.

MISS.

LA.

TEXAS

HAWAII

Note: Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma have pre-Roe bans and post-Roe trigger laws. Alabama has a pre-Roe ban and post-Roe restrictions.

The Supreme Court may soon be ready to overturn the only federal abortion protections in the country, according to a draft of an opinion obtained by Politico. The court is expected to announce its ruling, on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, sometime before July.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” the draft document says, citing two landmark Supreme Court rulings protecting the right to abortion, the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision. Together, they establish a constitutional right to an abortion until about 24 weeks into a pregnancy, or when the fetus is viable outside the womb.

There is no federal law protecting or prohibiting abortion. So the Supreme Court striking down Roe would leave abortion laws entirely up to the states. And they are sharply divided.

Unless Congress gets rid of the filibuster in the Senate, it’s very unlikely lawmakers can agree on some kind of federal law determining when abortion should be allowed or banned, leaving America with a patchwork of abortion laws.

The latest action on abortion legislation across the states

Here’s what abortion in America could look like in a post-Roe world.

Courts have previously halted abortion bans before 24 weeks

About half of states would ban or severely restrict abortion access, largely by instituting trigger laws that would go into effect immediately if the court struck down Roe. By contrast, 16 states and the District of Columbia have policies that explicitly protect the right to abortion; other blue states could follow.

Restrictions on abortion rights have increased in the past decade as policymakers in mostly Republican-led states have sought to provoke a Supreme Court challenge to the 1973 precedent by banning abortion before about 24 weeks, the generally accepted medical standard for fetus viability outside the womb.

When in a pregnancy states have tried to ban abortions

The Texas law bans most abortions after six weeks. Previously, Mississippi had the earliest ban in effect at 20 weeks.

0

AL

LA

OK

UT

AR

FIRST Trimester

SC

TN

ID

IA

KY

MS

ND

GA

OH

6

OK

TX

MO

8

Ban in effect at 6 weeks.

12

AR

SECOND Trimester

The Supreme Court will rule on this law in 2022

15

MS

KY

LA

18

AR

UT

AZ

NC

MT

MS

20

CURRENT

BANS IN OTHER

STATES

22

ID

Pregnancies are considered viable between 24 and 26 weeks.

Twenty states have bans at 22-24 weeks. All other gestational duration-based bans are after viability.

THIRD Trimester

40 weeks

Note: The beginning of pregnancy is calculated from the start of the last menstrual period. Most proposed state bans include exceptions for the life or health of the pregnant person. Only Louisiana, Arkansas and South Carolina include exceptions for rape and incest or lethal fetal anomalies.

When in a pregnancy states have tried to ban abortions

The Texas law bans most abortions after six weeks. Previously, Mississippi had the earliest ban in effect at 20 weeks.

AL

LA

OK

UT

AR

0

FIRST Trimester

OK

SC

KY

MS

ND

TN

TX

GA

ID

IA

OH

6

MO

8

Ban in effect at 6 weeks.

AR

12

SECOND Trimester

The Supreme Court will rule on this law in 2022

KY

LA

MS

15

AR

UT

18

MT

NC

MS

AZ

20

ID

CURRENT

BANS IN OTHER

STATES

22

Twenty states have bans at 22-24 weeks. All other gestational duration-based bans are after viability.

Pregnancies are considered viable between 24 and 26 weeks.

THIRD Trimester

40 weeks

Note: The beginning of pregnancy is calculated from the start of the last menstrual period. Most proposed state bans include exceptions for the life or health of the pregnant person. Only Louisiana, Utah, South Carolina and Mississippi include exceptions for rape and incest or lethal fetal anomalies.

When in a pregnancy states have tried to ban abortions

The Texas law bans most abortions after six weeks. Previously, Mississippi had the earliest ban in effect at 20 weeks.

FIRST Trimester

SECOND Trimester

THIRD Trimester

0

6

8

12

15

18

20

22

40 weeks

Pregnancies are considered viable between 24 and 26 weeks.

MO

AL

GA

AR

KY

AR

AZ

ID

MT

AR

ID

LA

UT

NC

LA

IA

MS

CURRENT

BANS IN

OTHER

STATES

OK

KY

MS

Twenty states have bans at 22-24 weeks. All other gestational duration-based bans are after viability.

The Supreme Court will rule on this law in 2022

UT

MS

ND

OH

OK

SC

TN

Ban in effect at 6 weeks.

TX

Note: The beginning of pregnancy is calculated from the start of the last menstrual period. Most proposed state bans include exceptions for the life or health of the pregnant person. Only Louisiana, Utah, South Carolina and Mississippi include exceptions for rape and incest or lethal fetal anomalies.

Thus far, pre-viability bans from 16 states have been blocked by court orders and have not gone into effect. Twenty-one states have pre-viability bans in effect for pregnancies between 20 and 24 weeks. In reviewing the Mississippi law, which would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the Supreme Court said it would examine whether “all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”

Seven states — Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont — don’t impose any bans based on gestational periods.

How abortion laws in the U.S. compare to those in other countries

The length of a pregnancy is commonly calculated from the start of a person’s most recent menstrual period. Many people don’t know they’re pregnant until after the sixth week.

An average pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, and viability, the point at which a fetus could survive outside the uterus, generally falls between 24 and 26 weeks. Federal and state courts had consistently blocked enforcement of laws that ban abortion before 18 weeks, until September.

Mississippi currently bans most abortions after 20 weeks, and 16 other states ban them at 22 weeks from the last menstrual period. These bans violate Supreme Court rulings, but the laws were never challenged and went into effect.

State abortion policies have become more extreme compared with 21 years ago

Since 2000, the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion research group that supports abortion rights, has evaluated how hostile or supportive each state is toward abortion. States with more protections are deemed more supportive, and states with more restrictions are considered more hostile. Over time, the country has become more extreme in both directions.

Severity of state abortion policies

2021

UT

TN

MN

KY

NJ

SD

NE

MD

SC

KS

NY

CT

LA

NC

GA

RI

OR

VT

AL

MI

CA

WA

NV

IL

MS

PA

IA

WI

ME

NH

ID

NM

WV

MO

FL

MA

DE

HI

WY

OH

AK

VA

ND

AR

MT

AZ

CO

TX

IN

OK

More protections

More restrictions

2000

MI

DE

TX

ID

RI

WV

WA

NE

NJ

IL

LA

VT

ME

NC

AZ

HI

KY

OH

NM

NH

SC

OK

CA

MN

KS

ND

MS

OR

NY

TN

UT

MT

CO

WY

WI

MD

MA

AL

AK

FL

VA

CT

NV

SD

MO

PA

IN

IA

GA

AR

Note: D.C. is not rated since it doesn't have full agency over its own laws.

Severity of state abortion policies

2021

TN

TX

ND

KY

NE

MO

MN

CT

SC

SD

KS

IA

OR

NJ

AR

NC

UT

GA

RI

WA

IL

MD

MI

AL

LA

FL

CA

NY

ME

NV

DE

NM

WY

OK

IN

PA

VA

MA

NH

ID

VT

WI

HI

MS

AZ

WV

AK

OH

CO

MT

More protections

More restrictions

2000

MO

DE

TX

ID

IN

WA

KS

RI

VT

NJ

NY

GA

NE

WV

HI

CO

LA

NM

CT

MA

OH

SD

NC

CA

FL

MN

ME

SC

KY

UT

OR

AK

IL

MS

OK

PA

ND

NV

MD

NH

TN

IA

AZ

MT

WY

WI

MI

AL

VA

AR

Note: D.C. is not rated since it doesn't have full agency over its own laws.

Severity of state abortion policies

TN

NE

KY

2021

CT

SC

OH

MN

MT

NC

UT

MI

IA

AL

TX

MO

IL

MD

OK

SD

GA

MS

PA

FL

RI

WA

OR

CO

NJ

WY

KS

WI

ND

AR

CA

NY

ME

MA

DE

VT

NV

VA

ID

AZ

LA

IN

WV

AK

NH

HI

NM

More protections

More restrictions

2000

WI

AR

MO

DE

VA

TX

VT

NJ

NY

WV

ID

IN

HI

MT

MA

CO

RI

AL

OH

NM

CT

FL

ME

GA

SC

NE

UT

CA

MI

MN

WA

IL

KS

LA

MS

SD

NC

OR

AK

NV

NH

KY

WY

AZ

MD

OK

PA

ND

IA

TN

Note: D.C. is not rated since it doesn't have full agency over its own laws.

The ratings are based on six key abortion restrictions and six protections for access. A state with all the restrictions and no protections has the highest restriction rating and is considered extremely hostile. Six states have that maximum level. A state with all six protections and no restrictions has the highest protection rating and is considered extremely supportive. Only California meets that threshold.

This growing policy divide between states reflects an increase in abortion-related legislation. More than half of all abortion restrictions in the country have been enacted since 2001, most of them concentrated in the South and Midwest. Far fewer abortion protections have passed.

Protections and restrictions enacted by year

Protections

Restrictions

15

2001

10

2

’02

21

’03

12

’04

2

31

’05

In 2011, 93 abortion restrictions were enacted in 24 states.

10

2

’06

23

4

07

11

’08

Indiana (9)

28

’09

36

’10

93

’11

Kansas (15)

43

’12

3

69

’13

26

4

’14

57

’15

Arkansas (16)

3

50

’16

63

13

17

23

5

’18

39

Oklahoma (15)

5

’19

12

4

’20

106

6

’21

This year 106 restrictions have been

enacted so far, mostly in Arkansas,

Montana and Oklahoma.

Protections and restrictions enacted by year

Protections

Restrictions

15

2001

10

2

’02

21

’03

12

’04

2

31

’05

10

2

’06

23

4

07

In 2011, 93 abortion restrictions were enacted in 24 states.

11

’08

28

’09

36

’10

Indiana (9)

93

’11

Kansas (15)

43

’12

3

69

’13

26

4

’14

57

’15

Arkansas (16)

3

50

’16

63

13

17

23

5

’18

39

5

’19

Oklahoma (15)

12

4

’20

106

6

’21

This year 106 restrictions have been enacted so far, mostly in Arkansas, Montana and Oklahoma.

Protections and restrictions enacted by year

Protections

Delaware (6)

2

2

2

4

3

4

3

13

5

5

4

6

2001

’02

’03

’04

’05

’06

’07

’08

’09

’10

’11

’12

’13

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

’20

’21

15

10

21

12

31

10

23

11

28

36

93

43

69

26

57

50

63

23

39

12

106

Restrictions

Oklahoma (15)

Arkansas (16)

Indiana (9)

In 2011, 93 abortion restrictions were enacted in 24 states.

Kansas (15)

This year 106 restrictions have

been enacted so far, mostly in

Arkansas, Montana and Oklahoma.

Momentum around abortion restrictions has been growing in the past decade, culminating with the nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2020. Her ascension to the court, replacing liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, solidified its conservative majority and emboldened abortion opponents who had been seeking ways to strike down Roe. 2021 saw more restrictions enacted than in the past three years combined. In 2022, red states have passed more extreme laws that often don’t allow for exceptions for abortion in the case of rape.

“Some states have adopted so many restrictions that just about all that was left was to ban abortion,” said Elizabeth Nash, the principal policy associate for state issues at the Guttmacher Institute.

Nash argues that abortion restrictions exacerbate logistical and financial obstacles for marginalized communities, such as racial minorities, low-income people and people in rural communities, and that further rollbacks of abortion rights will only increase the burdens on these populations.

“Those with more resources and privilege would most likely find ways to get the care they need,” she said. “Abortion is health care, plain and simple.”

Danielle Rindler contributed to this report. Sources: Guttmacher Institute.

correction

A previous version of the "When in a pregnancy states have tried to ban abortions" chart abbreviated Arkansas incorrectly. Arkansas, not Alaska, has passed bans at conception and 12 weeks. A previous version of the text also misspelled Ruth Bader Ginsburg's name.

Loading...
Loading...