In 1973, the US Supreme Court ruled on the Roe v. Wade case and concluded that Americans have a constitutional right to an abortion up to viability of the fetus. That has been the law of the land… until now (or at least very soon).
Roe v. Wade Overturned
A few weeks ago, a draft majority decision by the Court was leaked which showed that there was a majority of justices on the Supreme Court who were going to rule in favor of the state of Mississippi in their challenge to the Roe decision from nearly 50 years ago. Effectively, overturning the Roe decision would revert back the power to regulate abortions from the federal to the state level. Many states have been anticipating or preparing for the eventuality of this decision and have created ‘trigger laws’ which go into effect if and when Roe is reversed. Most of those states make abortion more restricted or outright illegal. However, some states have liberalized abortion making it legal right up until birth.
Challenges for the States
Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Senior Editor at Reason magazine, lays out a few of the problems with this ruling coming back to the states. Primarily, although the states can regulate what happens in their borders, it is very difficult for them to restrict what people do in other states. For instance, can states really stop women from crossing the state line and getting an abortion? Can they prevent mail order morning after pills?